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Body-mind exercises and quality of sleep in older people

Do they work to improve quality of sleep and quality of life?

Sleep problems are often a key issue in older people. They include waking up at night, waking up early, difficulty with falling asleep, and lead to more daylight sleep, less sleep efficiency, daytime drowsiness, altered quality of life, higher cognitive and memory dysfunction and even increased risk of falls and injuries. Some studies have highlighted long-term effects and correlations with heart disease, obesity or diabetes.

It is recommended to treat sleep issues at first with non-pharmacological approaches. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) are therefore regularly studied in literature as they providing an alternative way to influence bodily functions. Body-mind techniques have specially showed good results on psychological wellbeing, sleep quality, depressive symptoms and quality of life while being cost-effective and safe.

The present study assessed the effectiveness of a combination of CAM – i.e. deep breathing exercices and body scan meditation combined with music (DBM) – on the quality of sleep and quality of life of older people suffering from poor sleep quality. This approach showed positive effects on both outcome measures when practiced on a daily basis.

The results showed that deep breathing exercises and body scan meditation along with music significantly improved the PSQI as a whole, and especially the sleep quality items (particularly sleep efficiency, perceived sleep quality and daily disturbances). Quality of life also significantly improved in terms of physical, cognitive, social and affective functioning, and self-esteem.

The authors concluded that the intervention improved sleep quality and quality of life in older adults with poor sleep quality. Therefore they suggest that healthcare professionals could use and recommend body scan meditation associated with deep breathing exercises to improve sleep quality in older adults.

> From: Nanthakwang et al., Open Public Health J 13 (2020) 232-239 . All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the online summary.

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