Can Meditation Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease?

meditation and heart diseaseThe practice of meditation has long been used for the purposes of stress reduction.  Transcendental meditation, for example, handed down by Vedic masters  in India from generation to generation for thousands of years involves reducing stress by experiencing a state of restful consciousness.

Recently, medical science has been looking at meditation practices and how they impact physical health. Cardiovascular disease, as a leading cause of death in the United States and Worldwide, is of particular interest in the medical community.  The psychosocial and environmental stressors that are potential contributing factors to cardiovascular disease, may be impacted by meditation practice.    Continue reading “Can Meditation Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease?” »

Mindfulness Training Improves Sleep Quality; Lessens Need for Sleep Medicines

Stressed-out people sleep better and take sleep medication less often when they learn to let go of intrusive thoughts, according to researchers at Duke Integrative Medicine.

Their data shows participants who took an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course reported less trouble sleeping through the night, and also less sleepiness during the day. This is the first study to document several positive effects of mindfulness training on sleep quality in a group of generally healthy, but stressed, individuals.

“When we don’t know what to do with intrusive and persistent thoughts, the mind and body feel threatened, says Jeff Greeson, PhD, MS, a clinical health psychologist at Duke who presented his preliminary results at the North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine.

Greeson’s study followed 151 adults, three-quarters of whom were women, who underwent eight weeks of MBSR training. He validated improvements in sleep quality using a nationally recognized sleep quality scale — The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).

Statistically significant improvements were noted in overall sleep quality (26 percent), sleep disturbances, i.e., waking up at night and feeling uncomfortable (16 percent), frequency of using prescription or over-the-counter sleep medications (25 percent), and improvements in experiencing sleepiness during the day (28 percent).

Greeson’s research is part of a larger study on mindfulness funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. His work will continue to research the effects of the MBSR program first developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts 30 years ago. That program is now taught by trained professionals throughout the country.

By Duke Medicine News and Communications:  http://www.dukehealth.org/HealthLibrary/News/mindfulness_training_improves_sleep_quality_lessens_need_for_sleep_medicines?utm_source=dukehealth.org&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS_news