Getting enough sleep lately? This new study suggests that mindfulness meditation may be a simple, inexpensive intervention for people who don’t have serious sleep problems.
For six weeks, one group of study participants learned various mindfulness techniques and practiced for two hours a week—mindful sitting, eating, movement, and meditation. At the end of the study, researchers measured the sleep quality of all participants—those who tried mindfulness meditation and the control group that learned a standard sleep hygeine education program—and found that the group practicing mindfulness scored higher.
The researchers speculate that mindfulness might play a role in improving the nervous system and cognitive processes related to stress and arousal. “Before going to bed, people who can’t sleep worry a lot, and they start ruminating about not being able to sleep,” study author David S. Black told TIME. “Through mindfulness practice, people learn how to observe thoughts without having to elaborate. It allows people be present without further interpretation of their symptoms.”
One interesting aspect of the study is that participants never discussed sleep or tried mindfulness practices for sleep. If you want to try one yourself, here’s a mindfulness practice for falling asleep.