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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. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (the professional organization of sleep medicine specialists) strongly recommends CBT-I.

  2. There’s a small amount of low-quality evidence that relaxation techniques by themselves may be helpful for insomnia, but it isn’t as strong as the evidence favoring CBT-I. Relaxation techniques may be recommended in certain situations, depending on individual preferences, health provider qualifications, and treatment availability. 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 quality but not necessarily for insomnia. Studies in people with rheumatic diseases, women with sleep problems, and older adults showed beneficial effects of yoga on sleep quality.

  4. Tai chi may be helpful for improving sleep quality but not necessarily insomnia. Studies suggest that tai chi, which appears to be safe, helps improve sleep quality in older adults.

  5. There’s limited evidence on mindfulness meditation for insomnia and sleep quality. Some research suggests that mindfulness-based stress reduction might be ineffective for improving sleep quality in people with insomnia.

  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.