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Invited Commentary
April 2015

Being Mindful of Later-Life Sleep Quality and Its Potential Role in Prevention

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):502-503. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8093

Older adults commonly report disturbed sleep, and an expanding literature suggests that poor sleep increases the risk of adverse health outcomes.1 In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Black et al2 present a randomized clinical trial (RCT) among adults 55 years and older with moderately disturbed sleep, comparing a sleep hygiene intervention with a community-based mindfulness meditation intervention. They assess the outcomes of global sleep quality, insomnia symptoms, fatigue, and depressive symptoms. As the authors explain, effective nonpharmacological interventions that are both “scalable” and “community accessible” are needed to improve disturbed sleep and prevent clinical levels of insomnia. This is imperative given links between insomnia and poor health outcomes, risks of sleep medication use, and the limited availability of health care professionals trained in effective nondrug treatments such as behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. This context makes the positive results of this RCT compelling.

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