Relieve Sleep Disturbances with Mindfulness Meditation

Relieve Sleep Disturbances with Mindfulness Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

meditation helps lower the heart rate by igniting the parasympathetic nervous system and encouraging slower breathing, thereby increasing the prospect of a quality night’s sleep.” – Headspace

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. It has been estimated that 30 to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% have chronic insomnia

 

Insomnia is more than just an irritant. Sleep deprivation is associated with decreased alertness and a consequent reduction in performance of even simple tasks, decreased quality of life, increased difficulties with memory and problem solving, increased likelihood of accidental injury including automobile accidents, and increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also can lead to anxiety about sleep itself. This is stressful and can produce even more anxiety about being able to sleep. About 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects. So, there is a need to find better methods to treat insomnia. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6557693/), Rusch and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published controlled research studies of the effects of meditation on sleep. They identified 18 published randomized controlled trials that included a total of 1654 participants with clinically significant sleep disturbances.

 

They report that the published research found that when mindfulness meditation was compared to other evidenced-based sleep treatment there were no significant differences in improvements in sleep quality. But when the mindfulness meditation groups were compared to other active controls that did not include evidenced-based sleep treatments, the mindfulness meditation produced significant improvements in sleep quality with moderate effect sizes.

 

The results of the meta-analysis of the published research suggests that mindfulness meditation is as effective as other evidenced-based sleep treatments for improving sleep in patients with clinically significant sleep disturbances. Importantly, mindfulness meditation was significantly more effective than non-sleep treatment active control conditions. Hence, mindfulness meditation appears to be a safe and effective treatment for the improvement of sleep quality that has equivalent efficacy to other treatments.

 

So, relieve sleep disturbances with mindfulness meditation.

 

“If insomnia is at the root of your sleepless nights, it may be worth trying meditation. The deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, improve sleep quality, and make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep.” – Sleep Foundation

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Rusch, H. L., Rosario, M., Levison, L. M., Olivera, A., Livingston, W. S., Wu, T., & Gill, J. M. (2019). The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1445(1), 5–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13996

 

Abstract

There is a growing interest in the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation for sleep disturbed populations. Our study sought to evaluate the effect of mindfulness meditation interventions on sleep quality. To assessTo assess for relative efficacy, comparator groups were restricted to specific active controls (such as evidenced-based sleep treatments) and nonspecific active controls (such as time/attention-matched interventions to control for placebo effects), which were analyzed separately. From 3303 total records, 18 trials with 1654 participants were included. We determined the strength of evidence using four domains (risk of bias, directness of outcome measures, consistency of results, and precision of results). At post-treatment and follow-up, there was low strength of evidence that mindfulness meditation interventions had no effect on sleep quality compared with specific active controls (ES 0.03 [95% CI −0.43–0.49]) and (ES −0.14 [95% CI −0.62–0.34]) respectively. Additionally, there was moderate strength of evidence that mindfulness meditation interventions significantly improved sleep quality compared with nonspecific active controls at post-intervention (ES 0.33 [95% CI 0.17–0.48]) and at follow-up (ES 0.54 [95% CI 0.24–0.84]). These preliminary findings suggest that mindfulness meditation may be effective in treating some aspects of sleep disturbance. Further research is warranted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6557693/

 

Improve Sleep Quality in Women with Sleep Disturbance with Yoga

Improve Sleep Quality in Women with Sleep Disturbance with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

When people who have insomnia perform yoga on a daily basis, they sleep for longer, fall asleep faster, and return to sleep more quickly if they wake up in the middle of the night.” – Sleep Foundation

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. It has been estimated that 30 to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% have chronic insomnia

 

Sleep difficulties are associated with decreased alertness and a consequent reduction in performance of even simple tasks, decreased quality of life, increased difficulties with memory and problem solving, increased likelihood of accidental injury including automobile accidents, and increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also can lead to anxiety about sleep itself. This is stressful and can produce even more anxiety about being able to sleep. About 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects. So, there is a need to find better methods to treat insomnia. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia. It makes sense to explore the effectiveness of different mindfulness techniques to improve sleep quality.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of yoga on sleep quality and insomnia in women with sleep problems: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7193366/), Wang and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research literature on the effectiveness of yoga practice for the improvement of sleep in women with sleep problems. They found 19 randomized controlled trials with a total of 1832 participants.

 

They report that the published studies found that yoga practice produced a significant reduction in sleep problems but not insomnia and a significant increase in sleep quality. Healthy patients had greater improvements in sleep quality than breast cancer patients and peri/postmenopausal women had significantly less improvement in sleep quality.

 

The review found that in general yoga practice improves sleep in women with sleep problems except insomnia. The included studies did not have a control condition involving exercise. So, it is not clear if the exercise provided by yoga or a yoga specific factor was responsible for the sleep improvements. Future research should compare yoga practice to another form of exercise, e.g. brisk walking, in improving sleep. In addition, yoga practice does not appear to improve sleep when the disturbance is caused by a physical issue such as breast cancer or menopause. This suggests that yoga works best with sleep disturbances caused by psychological issues.

 

So, improve sleep quality in women with sleep disturbance with yoga.

 

As a result of the activity’s physical, emotional, and mental relaxation, practitioners of yoga nidra report sleeping better at night, and tend to suffer less with issues such as racing thoughts.” – Sleep.org

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wang, W. L., Chen, K. H., Pan, Y. C., Yang, S. N., & Chan, Y. Y. (2020). The effect of yoga on sleep quality and insomnia in women with sleep problems: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC psychiatry, 20(1), 195. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02566-4

 

Abstract

Background

To examine the effectiveness and safety of yoga of women with sleep problems by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods

Medline/PubMed, ClinicalKey, ScienceDirect, Embase, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library were searched throughout the month of June, 2019. Randomized controlled trials comparing yoga groups with control groups in women with sleep problems were included. Two reviewers independently evaluated risk of bias by using the risk of bias tool suggested by the Cochrane Collaboration for programming and conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The main outcome measure was sleep quality or the severity of insomnia, which was measured using subjective instruments, such as the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), or objective instruments such as polysomnography, actigraphy, and safety of the intervention. For each outcome, a standardized mean difference (SMD) and confidence intervals (CIs) of 95% were determined.

Results

Nineteen studies in this systematic review included 1832 participants. The meta-analysis of the combined data conducted according to Comprehensive Meta-Analysis showed a significant improvement in sleep (SMD = − 0.327, 95% CI = − 0.506 to − 0.148, P < 0.001). Meta-analyses revealed positive effects of yoga using PSQI scores in 16 randomized control trials (RCTs), compared with the control group in improving sleep quality among women using PSQI (SMD = − 0.54; 95% CI = − 0.89 to − 0.19; P = 0.003). However, three RCTs revealed no effects of yoga compared to the control group in reducing insomnia among women using ISI (SMD = − 0.13; 95% CI = − 0.74 to 0.48; P = 0.69). Seven RCTs revealed no evidence for effects of yoga compared with the control group in improving sleep quality for women with breast cancer using PSQI (SMD = − 0.15; 95% CI = − 0.31 to 0.01; P = 0.5). Four RCTs revealed no evidence for the effects of yoga compared with the control group in improving the sleep quality for peri/postmenopausal women using PSQI (SMD = − 0.31; 95% CI = − 0.95 to 0.33; P = 0.34). Yoga was not associated with any serious adverse events.

Discussion

This systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated that yoga intervention in women can be beneficial when compared to non-active control conditions in term of managing sleep problems. The moderator analyses suggest that participants in the non-breast cancer subgroup and participants in the non-peri/postmenopausal subgroup were associated with greater benefits, with a direct correlation of total class time with quality of sleep among other related benefits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7193366/

 

Improve the Psychological Health in Breast Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Health in Breast Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is a state of mind which we can all acquire and use to support our wellbeing physically, emotionally and mentally.  . . Having cancer, or specifically breast cancer, is no exception. Our cancer experiences take up a lot of energies, mental focus and can drain us emotionally. It is important to have a few tools to help us create ‘down’ and ‘out’ times, and to replenish and reconnect with who we are. “ – Breast Cancer Now

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to relieve chronic pain. It can also help treat the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbancefear, and anxiety and depression. There has been considerable research conducted on the effectiveness of mindfulness practices in treating the psychological issues associated with cancer. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based stress reduction for women diagnosed with breast cancer.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6436161/), Schell and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies investigating the effectiveness of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program for the treatment of the psychological problems that occur in women who survive breast cancer. MBSR includes meditation, body scan, yoga practices, and discussion along with daily home practice. They identified 14 randomized controlled trials.

 

They report that the published research studies provide evidence that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program improves the quality of life and sleep and reduces anxiety, depression, and fatigue in breast cancer patients. The effect sizes are small and the effects were no longer present at long-term follow-up a year after the end of treatment. MBSR is a complex of practices and the research to date cannot differentiate which components or which combination of components are responsible for the benefits.

 

There is substantial evidence that mindfulness training improves quality of life and sleep and reduces anxiety, depression, and fatigue in a wide variety of healthy and ill individuals. The present results suggest that it also has these benefits for women suffering with breast cancer. Hence, MBSR may be recommended to improve the psychological health of breast cancer patients.

 

So, improve the psychological health in breast cancer patients with mindfulness.

 

Studies have shown mindfulness-based stress reduction can be effective in alleviating anxiety and depression, decreasing long-term emotional and physical side effects of treatments and improving the quality of sleep in breast cancer patients.” – Breast Cancer Research Foundation

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Schell, L. K., Monsef, I., Wöckel, A., & Skoetz, N. (2019). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 3(3), CD011518. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011518.pub2

 

Abstract

Background

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Diagnosis and treatment may drastically affect quality of life, causing symptoms such as sleep disorders, depression and anxiety. Mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) is a programme that aims to reduce stress by developing mindfulness, meaning a non‐judgmental, accepting moment‐by‐moment awareness. MBSR seems to benefit patients with mood disorders and chronic pain, and it may also benefit women with breast cancer.

Objectives

To assess the effects of mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Search methods

In April 2018, we conducted a comprehensive electronic search for studies of MBSR in women with breast cancer, in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, and two trial registries (World Health Organization’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP) and ClinicalTrials.gov). We also handsearched relevant conference proceedings.

Selection criteria

Randomised clinical trials (RCTs) comparing MBSR versus no intervention in women with breast cancer.

Data collection and analysis

We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Using a standardised data form, the review authors extracted data in duplicate on methodological quality, participants, interventions and outcomes of interest (quality of life, fatigue, depression, anxiety, quality of sleep, overall survival and adverse events). For outcomes assessed with the same instrument, we used the mean difference (MD) as a summary statistic for meta‐analysis; for those assessed with different instruments, we used the standardised mean difference (SMD). The effect of MBSR was assessed in the short term (end of intervention), medium term (up to 6 months after intervention) and long term (up to 24 months after intervention).

Main results

Fourteen RCTs fulfilled our inclusion criteria, with most studies reporting that they included women with early breast cancer. Ten RCTs involving 1571 participants were eligible for meta‐analysis, while four studies involving 185 participants did not report usable results. Queries to the authors of these four studies were unsuccessful. All studies were at high risk of performance and detection bias since participants could not be blinded, and only 3 of 14 studies were at low risk of selection bias. Eight of 10 studies included in the meta‐analysis recruited participants with early breast cancer (the remaining 2 trials did not restrict inclusion to a certain cancer type). Most trials considered only women who had completed cancer treatment.

MBSR may improve quality of life slightly at the end of the intervention (based on low‐certainty evidence from three studies with a total of 339 participants) but may result in little to no difference up to 6 months (based on low‐certainty evidence from three studies involving 428 participants). Long‐term data on quality of life (up to two years after completing MBSR) were available for one study in 97 participants (MD 0.00 on questionnaire FACT‐B, 95% CI −5.82 to 5.82; low‐certainty evidence).

In the short term, MBSR probably reduces fatigue (SMD −0.50, 95% CI −0.86 to −0.14; moderate‐certainty evidence; 5 studies; 693 participants). It also probably slightly reduces anxiety (SMD −0.29, 95% CI −0.50 to −0.08; moderate‐certainty evidence; 6 studies; 749 participants), and it reduces depression (SMD −0.54, 95% CI −0.86 to −0.22; high‐certainty evidence; 6 studies; 745 participants). It probably slightly improves quality of sleep (SMD −0.38, 95% CI −0.79 to 0.04; moderate‐certainty evidence; 4 studies; 475 participants). However, these confidence intervals (except for short‐term depression) are compatible with both an improvement and little to no difference.

In the medium term, MBSR probably results in little to no difference in medium‐term fatigue (SMD −0.31, 95% CI −0.84 to 0.23; moderate‐certainty evidence; 4 studies; 607 participants). The intervention probably slightly reduces anxiety (SMD −0.28, 95% CI −0.49 to −0.07; moderate‐certainty evidence; 7 studies; 1094 participants), depression (SMD −0.32, 95% CI −0.58 to −0.06; moderate‐certainty evidence; 7 studies; 1097 participants) and slightly improves quality of sleep (SMD −0.27, 95% CI −0.63 to 0.08; moderate‐certainty evidence; 4 studies; 654 participants). However, these confidence intervals are compatible with both an improvement and little to no difference.

In the long term, moderate‐certainty evidence shows that MBSR probably results in little to no difference in anxiety (SMD −0.09, 95% CI −0.35 to 0.16; 2 studies; 360 participants) or depression (SMD −0.17, 95% CI −0.40 to 0.05; 2 studies; 352 participants). No long‐term data were available for fatigue or quality of sleep.

No study reported data on survival or adverse events.

Authors’ conclusions

MBSR may improve quality of life slightly at the end of the intervention but may result in little to no difference later on. MBSR probably slightly reduces anxiety, depression and slightly improves quality of sleep at both the end of the intervention and up to six months later. A beneficial effect on fatigue was apparent at the end of the intervention but not up to six months later. Up to two years after the intervention, MBSR probably results in little to no difference in anxiety and depression; there were no data available for fatigue or quality of sleep.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6436161/

 

Long-Term Meditators have More Frequent Lucid Dreams

How Tame Impala, Pink Floyd And The Doors Will Give You Lucid ...Long-Term Meditators have More Frequent Lucid Dreams

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

All that we see or seem/Is but a dream within a dream.” Edgar Allan Poe

 

We spend about a third of our lives in sleep, but we know very little about it. It is known that sleep is not a unitary phenomenon. Rather, it involves several different states that can be characterized by differences in physiological activation, neural activity, and subjective experiences. Dreaming occurs several times each night during a particularly deep stage of sleep called rapid eye movement or REM sleep. Dreams have been the subject of much speculation and theorization but little empirical research.

 

An intriguing form of dreaming is the lucid dream where the individual is aware that they are dreaming. They may even be able to affect the content of the dream. These are quite common with about three quarters of people having a lucid dream at least once. It has been reported that meditation and mindfulness may increase the likelihood of lucid dreams. But there is very little empirical research on the subject.

 

In today’s Research News article “Increased lucid dream frequency in long-term meditators but not following MBSR training.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6490164/), Baird and colleagues recruited adults who were meditation naïve and long-term meditators who meditated at least 200 minutes per week for over 5 years. The meditation naïve participants were randomly assigned to a wait-list condition or to receive 9-week programs of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Health education. Training occurred over 9 weeks for 2.5 hours each week and included daily home practice. Participants were measured before and after training and 6 months later for how often they recalled dreams, lucid dreams, and mindfulness.

 

They found that long-term meditators had almost 2 and a half times more lucid dreams than meditation naïve participants while the groups did not differ on dream recall frequencies. There were no differences in lucid dream frequency with different meditation practices or amount of meditation experience. Among the long-term meditators those that had frequent lucid dreams were significantly higher in mindfulness especially the observing, acting with awareness, and decentering facets. Further, they found that neither the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Health education programs produced any significant changes in lucid dreaming in the meditation naïve participants.

 

These findings have to be interpreted with caution as the types of people who engage in long-term meditation might be significantly different than those individuals who do not choose to meditate. It could be that people who have frequent lucid dreams are exactly the same kinds of people who are attracted to meditation practice. The fact that mindfulness training with the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) did not influence lucid dream frequency supports this interpretation. Additionally, the fact that there the amount of meditation experience was unrelated to lucid dreaming also supports this interpretation.

 

Nevertheless, the results suggest that long-term meditators have relatively frequent lucid dreams. It is not known why this might be true. But it can be speculated that this is due to the fact that meditation practice improves meta-cognition, the ability to be aware of one’s own thoughts. This ability may make the individual more aware of their conscious process during dreams, lucid dreaming. It is also possible that increased mindfulness produced by meditation practice promotes lucid dreaming. It remains for future research to investigate these potential mechanisms.

 

But it is clear that long-term meditators have more frequent lucid dreams.

 

You know that magical moment when you wake up within a dream and know you’re dreaming? That’s lucid dreaming. It’s a skill you can develop and a beneficial meditation practice you can do.” – Andrew Holecek

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Baird, B., Riedner, B. A., Boly, M., Davidson, R. J., & Tononi, G. (2019). Increased lucid dream frequency in long-term meditators but not following MBSR training. Psychology of consciousness (Washington, D.C.), 6(1), 40–54. https://doi.org/10.1037/cns0000176

 

Abstract

Strong conceptual and theoretical connections have been made between meditation practice, mindfulness and lucid dreaming. However, only a handful of empirical studies have evaluated the relationship between lucid dreaming and meditation, and conclusions remain tempered by methodological limitations. Here we evaluate the relationship between meditation, mindfulness and lucid dream frequency using several complementary methods. First, using a cross-sectional design, we evaluate differences in lucid dream frequency between long-term meditators and meditation naïve individuals. Second, we evaluate the relationship between lucid dream frequency and specific facets of trait mindfulness in both meditators and non-meditators. Third, using a blinded randomized-controlled design, we evaluate the impact of an 8-week mindfulness course on lucid dreaming frequency. Our results show that lucid dreaming is more frequent in long-term meditators compared to meditation naïve individuals. Additionally, lucid dream frequency in meditation-naïve individuals was associated with a capacity to verbalize experience, while lucid dream frequency in long-term meditators was associated with observational and decentering facets of trait mindfulness. However, an 8-week mindfulness course did not increase the frequency of lucid dreams. Together these results support a continuity between increased awareness of waking and sleeping states, provide a novel form of evidence linking meditation training to meta-awareness, and support an association between meditation practice and lucid dreaming, but leave open the specific nature of this connection.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6490164/

Improve Sleep in Insomniacs with Meditation

Improve Sleep in Insomniacs with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Given the absence of side effects and the positive potential benefits of mindfulness that extend beyond sleep, we encourage people with chronic insomnia, particularly those unable or unwilling to use sleep medications, to consider mindfulness training.” – Cynthia Gross

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. It has been estimated that 30 to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% have chronic insomnia

 

Insomnia is more than just an irritant. Sleep deprivation is associated with decreased alertness and a consequent reduction in performance of even simple tasks, decreased quality of life, increased difficulties with memory and problem solving, increased likelihood of accidental injury including automobile accidents, and increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also can lead to anxiety about sleep itself. This is stressful and can produce even more anxiety about being able to sleep. About 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects. So, there is a need to find better methods to treat insomnia. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia. It makes sense to explore the effectiveness of different meditation techniques for insomnia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Heartfulness meditation improves sleep in chronic insomnia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7034439/), Thimmapuram and colleagues recruited adults who were diagnosed with chronic insomnia. They were instructed on sleep hygiene and received instruction in heartfulness meditation once per week for 8 weeks. Heartfulness meditation included relaxation and directing attention to the light in the heart and be open to any experience. They were instructed to practice the meditation in the morning for 20 minutes and in the evening for 5 minutes. They were measured before and after training for insomnia severity.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after heartfulness meditation there was a large significant decrease in insomnia severity. Whereas all participants were taking some form of medication for insomnia before the training, afterwards 75% of the patients had ceased taking the drugs while a further 12.5% reduced dosage.

 

The study did not contain a control group and as such the results must be interpreted with caution. However, prior well-controlled studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training improves sleep and reduces insomnia. So, it is likely that the heartfulness meditation practice was responsible for the improvements in the present study. This study extends the types of mindfulness practices that are effective for insomnia with heartfulness meditation.

 

So, improve sleep in insomniacs with meditation.

 

If insomnia is at the root of your sleepless nights, it may be worth trying meditation. The deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, improve sleep quality, and make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep.” – SleepFoundation

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Thimmapuram, J., Yommer, D., Tudor, L., Bell, T., Dumitrescu, C., & Davis, R. (2020). Heartfulness meditation improves sleep in chronic insomnia. Journal of community hospital internal medicine perspectives, 10(1), 10–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/20009666.2019.1710948

 

ABSTRACT

Background: Chronic insomnia is characterized by disturbed sleep that occurs despite adequate opportunity and circumstances to sleep. Many patients with chronic insomnia have comorbid mental illnesses or medical illnesses that contribute and precipitate insomnia. Hallmark of chronic insomnia treatment includes non-pharmacological measures such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). Pharmacologic treatment (sedative or hypnotic agents) has been disappointing because of poor efficacy and numerous undesirable side effects. Other new therapies including meditation have been proven to be effective.

Objective: This study investigates the effectiveness of Heartfulness meditation coupled with sleep hygiene to treat chronic insomnia. Methods: In this prospective pre-post design cohort study, 32 adult patients with chronic primary insomnia engaged in Heartfulness meditation along with appropriate sleep hygiene for eight weeks. Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores, usage of sedative or hypnotic agents were measured at baseline and at the end of the eight-week period.

Results: There was a significant decrease in the mean ISI scores from 20.9 to 10.4 (p < 0.001) after eight weeks of Heartfulness meditation. Twenty four of 32 patients were initially on sedative or hypnotic medications. At week eight, 21 of 24 patients (87.5%) were off these medications or the dosage was reduced (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: This study demonstrated statistical improvements in the measures of ISI in patients undergoing a Heartfulness meditation program. Heartfulness meditation may facilitate the taper and eventual cessation of sedative hypnotics in patients suffering from chronic insomnia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7034439/

 

Alter the Brain and Memory Consolidation During Sleep with Meditation

Alter the Brain and Memory Consolidation During Sleep with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

meditation. The deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, improve sleep quality, and make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep.” – Sleep Foundation

 

We spend about a third of our lives in sleep, but we know very little about it. It is known that sleep is not a unitary phenomenon. Rather, it involves several different states that can be characterized by differences in physiological activation, neural activity, and subjective experiences. These changes can be recorded from the scalp with an electroencephalogram (EEG).

 

In the waking state the nervous system shows EEG activity that is termed low voltage fast activity. The electrical activity recorded from the scalp is rapidly changing but only with very small size waves. When sleep first occurs, the individual enters into a stage called slow-wave sleep, sometimes called non-REM sleep. The heart rate and blood pressure decline even further and the muscles become very soft and relaxed. In this state the EEG shows a characteristic waveform known as the theta rhythm, which is a large change in voltage recorded that oscillates at a rate of 4 to 8 cycles per second. As the individual goes even deeper into sleep something remarkable happens as the individual enters into rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). Here the muscles become extremely inhibited and flaccid, but the eyes move rapidly under the closed eyelids as if the individual was looking around. At the same time the heart rate and blood pressure increase and become very variable and sometimes very high.

 

Sleep has also been shown to be involved in memory consolidation. “Sleep is thought to strengthen information learned during the day, to select which experiences are best remembered and which are best forgotten, and to assimilate new knowledge into existing autobiographical networks.” It has been shown that mindfulness training, including meditation practice, affects sleep and tends to improve sleep and reduce insomnia. It has also been shown to affect memory. But there is need to further investigate the effects of meditation practice, particularly long-term meditation practice, on brain activity during sleep and wakefulness and memory consolidation to begin to understand the mechanisms by which meditation practice affects memory, sleep, and wakefulness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Different Patterns of Sleep-Dependent Procedural Memory Consolidation in Vipassana Meditation Practitioners and Non-meditating Controls.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.03014/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A), Solomonova and colleagues recruited healthy young adult (aged 18-35 years) practitioners of Vipassana meditation and matched non-meditators for an afternoon nap study. The participants were measured for body awareness. On one day they engaged in a 90-minute nap preceded by either a 10-minute meditation or a 10-minute relaxation period. During the nap their EEG was recorded. The participants reported on their dreams when awoken halfway into and at the end of the nap. Before and after the nap the participants engaged in a 5-minute session measuring balance with a Nintendo game “Balance Bubble.”

 

They found that the meditators had significantly greater body awareness than the non-meditators. In addition, for meditators only, the higher the body awareness the better the performance on the balance task. Hence meditation practice is associated with better awareness of the body which was in turn related to their balance.

 

There were no significant differences between the groups in improvement on the balance task after the nap or in sleep structure as assessed with the EEG during the nap. Interestingly, the greater the lifetime meditation practice, the less time spent in slow-wave (non-REM) sleep. For the meditation group but not the controls, the greater the density of slow-wave (non-REM) sleep spindles during the nap, the greater the improvement in the balance task. On the other hand, for the non-meditators the greater the time spent in REM sleep, the greater the improvement in the balance task.

 

These findings suggest that memory consolidation for a balance task over a nap occurred in concert with different sleep architecture for the meditators and non-meditators. This suggests the meditation practice produce neuroplastic changes in the brain that resulted in different memory consolidation mechanisms during sleep. These are complex changes that suggest different neural processing of information during sleep in meditators.

 

So, alter the brain and memory consolidation during sleep with meditation.

 

Given the many health concerns pertaining to sleep aid medication use in older adults,” he added, “mindfulness meditation appears to be a safe and sensible health promoting practice to improve sleep quality.” – David Black

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Solomonova E, Dubé S, Blanchette-Carrière C, Sandra DA, Samson-Richer A, Carr M, Paquette T and Nielsen T (2020) Different Patterns of Sleep-Dependent Procedural Memory Consolidation in Vipassana Meditation Practitioners and Non-meditating Controls. Front. Psychol. 10:3014. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.03014

 

Aim: Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and sleep spindles are all implicated in the consolidation of procedural memories. Relative contributions of sleep stages and sleep spindles were previously shown to depend on individual differences in task processing. However, no studies to our knowledge have focused on individual differences in experience with Vipassana meditation as related to sleep. Vipassana meditation is a form of mental training that enhances proprioceptive and somatic awareness and alters attentional style. The goal of this study was to examine a potential role for Vipassana meditation experience in sleep-dependent procedural memory consolidation.

Methods: Groups of Vipassana meditation practitioners (N = 22) and matched meditation-naïve controls (N = 20) slept for a daytime nap in the laboratory. Before and after the nap they completed a procedural task on the Wii Fit balance platform.

Results: Meditators performed slightly better on the task before the nap, but the two groups improved similarly after sleep. The groups showed different patterns of sleep-dependent procedural memory consolidation: in meditators, task learning was positively correlated with density of slow occipital spindles, while in controls task improvement was positively associated with time in REM sleep. Sleep efficiency and sleep architecture did not differ between groups. Meditation practitioners, however, had a lower density of occipital slow sleep spindles than controls.

Conclusion: Results suggest that neuroplastic changes associated with meditation practice may alter overall sleep microarchitecture and reorganize sleep-dependent patterns of memory consolidation. The lower density of occipital spindles in meditators may mean that meditation practice compensates for some of the memory functions of sleep.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.03014/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A

 

Improve Gulf War Illness in Veterans with Tai Chi

Improve Gulf War Illness in Veterans with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

A prominent condition affecting Gulf War Veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.” – US Department of Veterans Affairs

 

Engaging in warfare has many consequences to society and individuals, including the warriors themselves. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common problem among military veterans with between 11% to 20% of veterans who were involved in combat developing PTSD. There is a specific syndrome that has been identified in about 36% of veterans of the Persian Gulf war of 1991. The cluster of symptoms include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.

 

It has been demonstrated that mindfulness training is effective for PTSD symptoms . In addition, Yoga practice is a mindfulness practice that has been shown to be helpful for PTSD. Mindful movement practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong have been found to be beneficial for individuals with a myriad of physical and psychological problems. This raises the possibility that Tai Chi practice may be beneficial for veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Tai Chi Mind-Body Approach on the Mechanisms of Gulf War Illness: an Umbrella Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6600798/), Reid and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice in relieving the symptoms of participants whose symptoms were similar to Gulf War Illness. They identified multiple randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses of Tai Chi practice for these symptoms.

 

They report that the published research indicates that Tai Chi practice significantly improves mood, sleep, global cognitive function, and respiratory function and significantly decreases insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress, and chronic pain. Hence Tai Chi practice has been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms that commonly occur in Gulf War Illness. This suggests that Tai Chi practice should be tried directly to treat veterans with Gulf War Syndrome. It remains for future research to test this hypothesis.

 

So, improve Gulf War Illness in veterans with Tai Chi.

 

Mindfulness-based stress reduction may provide significant benefits to symptoms associated with Gulf War Illness in veterans.” – Laura Stiles

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Reid, K. F., Bannuru, R. R., Wang, C., Mori, D. L., & Niles, B. L. (2019). The Effects of Tai Chi Mind-Body Approach on the Mechanisms of Gulf War Illness: an Umbrella Review. Integrative medicine research, 8(3), 167–172. doi:10.1016/j.imr.2019.05.003

 

Abstract

Gulf War illness (GWI) is a chronic and multisymptom disorder affecting military veterans deployed to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It is characterized by a range of acute and chronic symptoms, including but not limited to, fatigue, sleep disturbances, psychological problems, cognitive deficits, widespread pain, and respiratory and gastrointestinal difficulties. The prevalence of many of these chronic symptoms affecting Gulf War veterans occur at markedly elevated rates compared to nondeployed contemporary veterans. To date, no effective treatments for GWI have been identified. The overarching goal of this umbrella review was to critically evaluate the evidence for the potential of Tai Chi mind-body exercise to benefit and alleviate GWI symptomology. Based on the most prevalent GWI chronic symptoms and case definitions established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Gulf War Veterans Health Initiative Program, we reviewed and summarized the evidence from 7 published systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Our findings suggest that Tai Chi may have the potential for distinct therapeutic benefits on the major prevalent symptoms of GWI. Future clinical trials are warranted to examine the feasibility, efficacy, durability and potential mechanisms of Tai Chi for improving health outcomes and relieving symptomology in GWI.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6600798/

 

Improve the Symptoms of Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Patients with Online Yoga

Improve the Symptoms of Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Patients with Online Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga classes specifically created for cancer patients offer more than a traditional support group. Yoga creates a sense of belonging, reduces feelings of stress and improves quality of life.” – Sara Szeglowski

 

“Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs) are blood cancers that occur when the body makes too many white or red blood cells, or platelets” (Cancer Support Community). It typically occurs in older adults and is fairly rare (1-2 cases/100,000 per year) and has a very high survival rate. It produces a variety of psychological and physical symptoms including fatigue, anxiety, pain, depression, and sleep disturbance, reduced physical, social, and cognitive functioning resulting. This produces a marked reduced in the patient’s quality of life.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health including fatigueanxietydepressionpain, and sleep disturbance, and improves physical, social, and cognitive functioning as well as quality of life in cancer patients. Yoga practice also improves the physical and mental health of cancer patients. The vast majority of the yoga practice, however, requires a trained instructor. It also requires that the participants be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may be difficult for myeloproliferative neoplasm patients to attend and may or may not be compatible with their schedules and at locations that may not be convenient.

 

As an alternative, online yoga trainings have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these online programs in relieving the psychological and physical symptoms of myeloproliferative neoplasm patients and improving their quality of life.

 

In today’s Research News article “Online yoga in myeloproliferative neoplasm patients: results of a randomized pilot trial to inform future research.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6556039/), Huberty and colleagues recruited adult myeloproliferative neoplasm patients and randomly assigned them to either receive online yoga training or to a wait-list control condition. Yoga training occurred via streamed videos for a total of 60 minutes training per week for 12 weeks. The individual training videos increased in duration from 5 minutes to 30 minutes over the 12 weeks. The participants were measured for adverse events and yoga participation by self-report and by clicking on the video links and over the training period. Before and after training they were measured for total symptoms, fatigue, pain intensity, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, sexual function, and quality of life. In, addition, blood was drawn and assayed for inflammatory cytokines.

 

They found that 79% of the patients in the yoga group completed participation averaging 42 minutes per week and there were no adverse events reported. Self-reports of yoga participation were over-reported by on average 10 minutes as assessed by actual clicks on the yoga video links. They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list group, the yoga group reported a moderate decrease in depression and small decreases in anxiety, pain intensity, sleep disturbance, and in TNF-α blood levels.

 

This was a pilot feasibility study and did not have a sufficient number of participants to detect small effects. It also lacked an active control, such as aerobic exercise. Nevertheless, the trial suggests that teaching yoga online is feasible and can successfully improve the psychological health of myeloproliferative neoplasm patients and reduce inflammation. This is potentially important as yoga treatment can be successfully employed remotely, inexpensively, and conveniently and can reduce the suffering of myeloproliferative neoplasm patients. A large randomized clinical trial with an active control condition is justified by these encouraging results.

 

So, improve the symptoms of myeloproliferative neoplasm patients with online yoga.

 

Some people with cancer say it helps calm their mind so that they can cope better with their cancer and its treatment. Others say it helps to reduce symptoms and side effects such as pain, tiredness, sleep problems and depression.” – Cancer Research UK

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Huberty, J., Eckert, R., Dueck, A., Kosiorek, H., Larkey, L., Gowin, K., & Mesa, R. (2019). Online yoga in myeloproliferative neoplasm patients: results of a randomized pilot trial to inform future research. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 19(1), 121. doi:10.1186/s12906-019-2530-8

 

Abstract

Background

Myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients suffer from significant symptoms, inflammation and reduced quality of life. Yoga improves these outcomes in other cancers, but this hasn’t been demonstrated in MPNs. The purpose of this study was to: (1) explore the limited efficacy (does the program show promise of success) of a 12-week online yoga intervention among MPN patients on symptom burden and quality of life and (2) determine feasibility (practicality: to what extent a measure can be carried out) of remotely collecting inflammatory biomarkers.

Methods

Patients were recruited nationally and randomized to online yoga (60 min/week of yoga) or wait-list control (asked to maintain normal activity). Weekly yoga minutes were collected with Clicky (online web analytics tool) and self-report. Those in online yoga completed a blood draw at baseline and week 12 to assess inflammation (interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-α]). All participants completed questionnaires assessing depression, anxiety, fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, sexual function, total symptom burden, global health, and quality of life at baseline, week seven, 12, and 16. Change from baseline at each time point was computed by group and effect sizes were calculated. Pre-post intervention change in inflammation for the yoga group was compared by t-test.

Results

Sixty-two MPN patients enrolled and 48 completed the intervention (online yoga = 27; control group = 21). Yoga participation averaged 40.8 min/week via Clicky and 56.1 min/week via self-report. Small/moderate effect sizes were generated from the yoga intervention for sleep disturbance (d = − 0.26 to − 0.61), pain intensity (d = − 0.34 to − 0.51), anxiety (d = − 0.27 to − 0.37), and depression (d = − 0.53 to − 0.78). A total of 92.6 and 70.4% of online yoga participants completed the blood draw at baseline and week 12, respectively, and there was a decrease in TNF-α from baseline to week 12 (− 1.3 ± 1.5 pg/ml).

Conclusions

Online yoga demonstrated small effects on sleep, pain, and anxiety as well as a moderate effect on depression. Remote blood draw procedures are feasible and the effect size of the intervention on TNF-α was large. Future fully powered randomized controlled trials are needed to test for efficacy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6556039/

 

Change the Brain’s Electrical Activity to during Sleep and Wakefulness with Meditation

Change the Brain’s Electrical Activity to during Sleep and Wakefulness with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Soon after beginning a meditation practice, many people report needing less sleep.” – Eoc Institute

 

We spend about a third of our lives in sleep, but we know very little about it. It is known that sleep is not a unitary phenomenon. Rather, it involves several different states that can be characterized by differences in physiological activation, neural activity, and subjective experiences. In the waking state the nervous system shows EEG activity that is termed low voltage fast activity. The electrical activity recorded from the scalp is rapidly changing but only with very small size waves. When sleep first occurs, the individual enters into a stage called slow-wave sleep, sometimes called non-REM sleep. The heart rate and blood pressure decline even further and the muscles become very soft and relaxed. In this state the EEG shows a characteristic waveform known as the theta rhythm, which is a large change in voltage recorded that oscillates at a rate of 4 to 8 cycles per second. As the individual goes even deeper into sleep something remarkable happens as the individual enters into rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). Here the muscles become extremely inhibited and flaccid, but the eyes move rapidly under the closed eyelids as if the individual was looking around. At the same time the heart rate and blood pressure increase and become very variable and sometimes very high.

 

It has been shown that mindfulness training, including meditation practice, affects sleep and tends to improve sleep and reduce insomnia. But there is need to further investigate the effects of meditation practice, particularly long-term meditation practice, on brain activity during sleep and wakefulness to begin to understand the mechanisms by which meditation practice affects sleep and wakefulness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Acute effects of meditation training on the waking and sleeping brain: Is it all about homeostasis?” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6534352/), Dentico and colleagues recruited long-term meditators (at least 3-years of experience) and a group of age and gender matched non-meditators. They had their overnight electroencephalograms (EEG) recorded during sleep and after waking in the lab under three conditions, baseline, after a day of intensive focused meditation, and after a day of intensive loving kindness meditation. The meditation simulated a meditation retreat format for 2 days. The non-meditators rested during similar periods. They were also measured for depression, mental health issues, sleep disorders, insomnia, fatigue, sleepiness, and common phenomenological features of meditation.

 

They found that the sleep and waking EEGs were not different between the two types of meditation, focused or loving kindness. After intensive meditation practice there were significant increases after sleep in waking slow (8 hz.) and fast (15 hz.) waves in the EEG recorded from the prefrontal and parietal cortical regions. They also reported that the greater the amount of previous meditation experience the greater the waking high frequency waveforms after a day of intensive meditation. They also found that the EEG activities in in the theta frequency range (4-8 hz.) in different brain regions were highly related during non-REM sleep in long-term meditators.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that long-term meditation changes the brains activity during both sleep and wakefulness. The regions most affected, the prefrontal and parietal cortical regions, are associated with attentional processes. So, the results suggest that long-term meditation changes the brain to improve its ability to focus attention. They also suggest that long-term meditation increases the synchronization in different brain regions of activity during non-REM sleep. This may signal deeper levels of sleep. Regardless, the results suggest that meditation experience changes the brain’s activity in sleep and wakefulness.

 

So, change the brain’s electrical activity to during sleep and wakefulness with meditation.

 

meditation has lasting effects on the plastic brain, and that gamma activity during non-REM sleep may be a reliable marker for the extent of these changes.” – Plastic Brain

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Dentico D, Bachhuber D, Riedner BA, Ferrarelli F, Tononi G, Davidson RJ, Lutz A. Acute effects of meditation training on the waking and sleeping brain: Is it all about homeostasis? Eur J Neurosci. 2018 Sep;48(6):2310-2321. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14131. PMID: 30144201; PMCID: PMC6534352.

 

Abstract

Our recent finding of a meditation-related increase in low-frequency NREM sleep EEG oscillatory activities peaking in the theta-alpha range (4–12 Hz) was not predicted. From a consolidated body of research on sleep homeostasis, we would expect a change peaking in slow wave activity (1–4 Hz) following an intense meditation session. Here we compared these changes in sleep with the post-meditation changes in waking rest scalp power to further characterize their functional significance. High-density EEG recordings were acquired from 27 long-term meditators (LTM) on three separate days at baseline and following two 8-hr sessions of either mindfulness or compassion-and-loving-kindness meditation. Thirty-one meditation-naïve participants (MNP) were recorded at the same time points. As a common effect of meditation practice, we found increases in low and fast waking EEG oscillations for LTM only, peaking at eight and 15 Hz respectively, over prefrontal, and left centro-parietal electrodes. Paralleling our previous findings in sleep, there was no significant difference between meditation styles in LTM as well as no difference between matched sessions in MNP. Meditation-related changes in wakefulness and NREM sleep were correlated across space and frequency. A significant correlation was found in the EEG low frequencies (<12 Hz). Since the peak of coupling was observed in the theta-alpha oscillatory range, sleep homeostatic response to meditation practice is not sufficient to explain our findings. Another likely phenomenon into play is a reverberation of meditation-related processes during subsequent sleep. Future studies should ascertain the interplay between these processes in promoting the beneficial effects of meditation practice.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6534352/

 

Improve Sleep and Relieve Fatigue in Cancer Survivors with Yoga

Improve Sleep and Relieve Fatigue in Cancer Survivors with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

We recommend that doctors prescribe this low-risk, low-cost treatment to all cancer patients with cancer-related fatigue. We would like them to prescribe gentle hatha yoga but they need to refer to appropriate yoga instructors who have experience of working with cancer patients.” – Po-Ju Lin

 

Because of great advances in treatment, many patients today are surviving cancer. But cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. Also, cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence. This is particularly true with metastatic cancer. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery . Yoga is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice that has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms in cancer survivors, the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment and improves sleep. So, it’s reasonable to further explore the potential benefits of yoga practice to improve sleep and relieve fatigue in patients who have survived cancer.

 

In today’s Research News article “Influence of Yoga on Cancer-Related Fatigue and on Mediational Relationships Between Changes in Sleep and Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Nationwide, Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial of Yoga in Cancer Survivors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6552348/), Lin and colleagues recruited patients who had survived a variety of different cancers, and who had completed primary care and who had sleep disturbance, from centers all over the U.S. They were randomly assigned them to receive standard care plus yoga training or standard care alone. Yoga training occurred for 75 minutes, twice a week, for 4 weeks and consisted of breathing exercises, physical alignment postures, and mindfulness exercises. They were measured before and after treatment for cancer related fatigue, including general, physical, emotional, mental, and vigor domains, and sleep, including subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep disturbance, sleep medication use, and daytime dysfunction.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the treatment-as-usual group, the participants who received yoga training had significant improvements in all domains of fatigue with moderate effect sizes. The yoga group also had significant improvements in sleep, including increases in overall sleep quality and subjective sleep quality and decreases in daytime dysfunction. Finally, they found, employing path analysis, that yoga training improved fatigue directly and indirectly by improving sleep that in turn improved sleep.

 

These are potentially important findings. Fatigue and sleep disturbance are difficult residual problems. There is a need to have long-term follow-up of these patients to determine whether yoga practice produces sustained relief of sleep disturbance and fatigue. Nevertheless, the findings show that at least on the short-term, yoga practice can address these symptoms and as a result improve the well-being and quality of life of cancer survivors. In addition, practicing yoga has been shown to produce widespread benefits for the physical and psychological health of practitioners. So, yoga practice would seem to be an excellent additional treatment for patients who have survived cancer.

 

So, improve sleep and relieve fatigue in cancer survivors with yoga.

 

“Two randomized controlled trials in breast cancer patients (one in patients undergoing radiation and one in breast cancer survivors) showed yoga practice significantly improved fatigue.” – Carrie Newsom

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lin, P. J., Kleckner, I. R., Loh, K. P., Inglis, J. E., Peppone, L. J., Janelsins, M. C., … Mustian, K. M. (2019). Influence of Yoga on Cancer-Related Fatigue and on Mediational Relationships Between Changes in Sleep and Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Nationwide, Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial of Yoga in Cancer Survivors. Integrative cancer therapies, 18, 1534735419855134. doi:10.1177/1534735419855134

 

Abstract

Background: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) often co-occurs with sleep disturbance and is one of the most pervasive toxicities resulting from cancer and its treatment. We and other investigators have previously reported that yoga therapy can improve sleep quality in cancer patients and survivors. No nationwide multicenter phase III randomized controlled trial (RCT) has investigated whether yoga therapy improves CRF or whether improvements in sleep mediate the effect of yoga on CRF. We examined the effect of a standardized, 4-week, yoga therapy program (Yoga for Cancer Survivors [YOCAS]) on CRF and whether YOCAS-induced changes in sleep mediated changes in CRF among survivors. Study Design and Methods: Four hundred ten cancer survivors were recruited to a nationwide multicenter phase III RCT comparing the effect of YOCAS to standard survivorship care on CRF and examining the mediating effects of changes in sleep, stemming from yoga, on changes in CRF. CRF was assessed by the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory. Sleep was assessed via the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Between- and within-group intervention effects on CRF were assessed by analysis of covariance and 2-tailed t test, respectively. Path analysis was used to evaluate mediation. Results: YOCAS participants demonstrated significantly greater improvements in CRF compared with participants in standard survivorship care at post-intervention (P < .01). Improvements in overall sleep quality and reductions in daytime dysfunction (eg, excessive napping) resulting from yoga significantly mediated the effect of yoga on CRF (22% and 37%, respectively, both P < .01). Conclusions: YOCAS is effective for treating CRF among cancer survivors; 22% to 37% of the improvements in CRF from yoga therapy result from improvements in sleep quality and daytime dysfunction. Oncologists should consider prescribing yoga to cancer survivors for treating CRF and sleep disturbance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6552348/