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The value of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of insomnia

Martires, Joanne; Zeidler, Michelle

Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine: November 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue 6 - p 547–552
doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000207
SLEEP AND RESPIRATORY NEUROBIOLOGY: Edited by Lee K. Brown and Adrian Williams

Purpose of review Insomnia is the most common reported sleep disorder with limited treatment options including pharmacotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. Pharmacotherapy can be complicated by tolerance and significant side-effects and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia providers are limited in number. This article reviews mindfulness meditation as an additional therapy for insomnia.

Recent findings Both mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia (MBTI) have been studied in the treatment of insomnia. Randomized controlled studies of MBSR and MBTI have shown overall reduction in sleep latency and total wake time and increase in total sleep time after mindfulness therapy using both patient reported outcome and quantitative measures of sleep. Mindfulness techniques have been shown to be well accepted by patients with long-lasting effects. A three-arm randomized study with MBSR, MBTI, and self-monitoring showed similar improvement in insomnia between the MBSR and MBTI groups, with possibly longer duration of efficacy in the MBTI group. Recent data show that MBTI is also an effective and accepted treatment for insomnia in older patients.

Summary Increasing evidence shows that mindfulness meditation, delivered either via MBSR or MBTI, can be successfully used for the treatment of insomnia with good patient acceptance and durable results.

Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California, USA

Correspondence to Michelle Zeidler, MD, MS, David Geffen School of Medicine – UCLA, Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, Director, VA Sleep Center, Program Director, UCLA Sleep Fellowship, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., 111Q Los Angeles, CA 90073, USA. Tel: +1 310 268 3021; e-mail:

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