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6 Things To Know About Mind and Body Practices for Sleep Disorders

Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? Many people do. An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans have some type of sleep disorder. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help, including psychological and behavioral therapies (mind and body practices). 

Here are 6 things to know about mind and body practices for sleep problems.

  1. Experts strongly recommend multicomponent cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (abbreviated CBT-I) for adults who have chronic insomnia. Both the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (the professional organization of sleep medicine specialists) and the American College of Physicians (the professional organization of physicians who specialize in internal medicine) strongly recommend CBT-I.

  2. There’s evidence that relaxation techniques may be helpful for insomnia, but it isn’t as strong as the evidence favoring CBT-I. Relaxation techniques, such as guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation, are safe and easy to use.

  3. Some studies suggest that yoga can be helpful for sleep. Studies in people with cancer, women with sleep problems, and older adults showed beneficial effects of yoga on sleep. And in a national survey, more than half of adults who practice yoga reported improved sleep.

  4. Tai chi may be helpful for people with sleep problems. Studies from several countries show that practicing tai chi may improve sleep quality.

  5. There’s limited evidence that mindfulness meditation may help reduce insomnia and improve sleep quality. Mindfulness practices may be better than education-based treatments for sleep problems, but they don’t seem to be more effective than cognitive behavioral therapy or exercise.

  6. If you think you may have a sleep problem, let your health care provider know. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has information that can help you prepare for your office visit.