In recent years, a growing body of studies has shown that mind-body therapies (MBTs) can improve sleep quality and ameliorate insomnia severity.
49 studies covering 4506 participants published between 2004 and 2018 were identified. Interventions included meditation, tai chi, qigong, and yoga which lasted 4 to 24 weeks. The MBTs resulted in statistically significant improvement in sleep quality and reduction on insomnia severity but no significant effects on sleep quantity indices, which were measured by sleep diary or objective measures.
MBTs can be effective in treating insomnia and improving sleep quality for healthy individuals and clinical patients. More high-quality and well-controlled RCTs are needed to make a better conclusion in further study.
Regular practice of Relaxation techniques like breathing exercise meditation or yoga can help to improve the sleeping pattern and reduce underlying anxiety and stress as well.
Another randomized study comparing therapeutic massage and relaxation tapes in the management of stress noted that while patients expressed a preference for massage, both modalities showed improvements in sleep, with no significant benefit of one over the other.
Meditation for Insomnia
While there are several forms of meditation, one of the most commonly studied for insomnia is mindfulness meditation. Stress reduction may be one of the mechanisms by which meditation can exert a beneficial effect on sleep and most of the studies that have demonstrated improved sleep during meditation therapy have been conducted as stress reduction studies.
In this regard, it can be used as part of a cognitive therapy approach. In addition to stress reduction, there may also be differences in slow-wave sleep as a result of meditation. Meditation therapy has also been used in cancer patients and found to help improve sleep in two studies.
Yoga for Insomnia Treatment
Yoga is a multi-component practice that consists of physical activity associated with specific postures, breathing exercises, and a specific philosophical attitude towards life. It has been shown to reduce anxiety levels and physiologic arousal. A randomized, parallel group study conducted over a six month treatment period compared yoga (60 minute session six days a week, with a 15 minute evening session).
Sttudy about the impact of long term Yoga practice on sleep quality and quality of life in the elderly concluded that addition of regular Yoga exercises in the daily routine of elderly people can help to achieve good sleep quality as well as improve the quality of life.
Tai Chi for Insomnia Treatment
Tai Chi is a low- to moderate-intensity Chinese exercise that includes a meditational component. A study of the effects of Tai Chi (consisting of three 60 minutes sessions for 24 weeks) in 118 older adults in comparison to low-impact exercise noted that Tai Chi improved self-reported sleep duration by 48 min 125. General health-related quality of life and daytime sleepiness levels also improved. No injuries were reported in either group.
Chronic Insomnia @ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526136/.
Diagnosis and treatment of chronic insomnia @ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924526/.
The Effect of Mind-Body Therapies on Insomnia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis @ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6393899/.
Impact of long term Yoga practice on sleep quality and quality of life in the elderly @ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667430/.