I was scared that the aging dude, Jeff Bridges would be the senior author of a paper in JAMA Internal Medicine “Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances”. Fortunately, the closest thing between Michael Irwin’s research group at USC and old Jeff’s ranch is the urban sprawl of most of Los Angeles.
Wikipedia ( the source of all knowledge including who the oldest surviving Oscar winner is) defines Mindfulness as “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment“,which can be trained by meditational practices. The authors designed a randomised controlled trial with a sleep hygiene program (SHE). The SHE program is a weekly 2-hour, 6-session group-based course in sleep hygiene and education developed by the lead author (D.S.B.) that matched the MAPs condition for time, attention, group interaction, and expectancy of benefit effects. About 25 in each group and mindfulness showed greater improvement with only one patient lost to follow up, compared to 5 (this never happens in the real world where everyone is lost including the clinician). The effect size was fairly impressive and a bit more than some other insomnia behavioural strategies and Jeff Bridge’s sleeping tapes were nowhere to be found.
The numbers are small, follow up short and generalisability from aging Southern Californian hippies to the real world may need to be shown. How long will the effect last ? Time for bigger numbers and longer trials. But this is a good start.