Thursday, March 12, 2020

On ‘World Sleep Day’, Study Brings Cheer To Chronic Insomniacs

Amidst threat of Cornoavirus there is one less thing to fear – Lack Of Sleep : Study concludes that Heartfulness Meditation practice improves sleep quality even in conditions of chronic insomnia and may facilitate the decrease and eventual cessation of sedative hypnotics in patients suffering from chronic insomnia.

Sleep plays a significant role in maintaining our vitality and wellbeing. But unfortunately, a considerable proportion of the population struggle to obtain a good night’s sleep. Poor sleep for at least three nights a week for over a month, despite adequate circumstances to sleep may be called chronic insomnia. Poor sleep has been associated with mood disturbances, irritability and inability to focus, increased road traffic accidents, elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes mellitus and strokes. There is also a significant association with depression and anxiety. While situational stresses can cause transient sleep problems or insomnia, sometimes there may be a progression to chronic insomnia. It may not be an exaggeration to say that there is no aspect of human wellbeing that is not positively influenced by a good sleep.

Heartfulness Meditation, a spiritual and wellness practice, improves sleep  quality of sleep in patients suffering from chronic insomnia - as per findings of a study launched to coincide with the World Sleep Day. 

13th March is marked as World Sleep Day. Interestingly, the study was conducted in an office setting.
Kamlesh Patel affectionately called as Daaji, the guide of Heartfulness said, “How well we sleep and how deeply we sleep determines our state of mind throughout the day. Disciplining our sleep cycle changes our life. Increasing number on sleep studies are all pointing to far reaching benefits of sleep on physical, mental, emotional and recently on spiritual wellbeing of a person. Adequate and appropriate sleep ensures rounded development of an individual and meditation is proving to be an enabler of sleep even for chronic conditions. ”  

A recent study published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives evaluated the effects of Heartfulness Meditation on chronic insomnia.  The study was authored by Jayaram Thimmapuram, Deborah Yommer, Luminita Tudor, Theodore Bell, Cristian Dumitrescu and Robert Davis of Wellspan York Hospital, York, Pennyslyvania, USA.

The study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of Heartfulness Meditation coupled with sleep hygiene to treat chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia reflects a significant difficulty to either fall asleep or maintain sleep. Most often these problems continue for at least a month and often last for many years.  The results showed statistical improvements in the measures of Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) in Heartfulness meditators. It showed that Heartfulness meditation may facilitate the decrease and eventual cessation of sedative hypnotics in patients suffering from chronic insomnia.

Heartfulness Meditation offered by the Heartfulness Institute is a simple, easy to implement, heart-based meditation practice aimed at achieving a state of inner balance.

The study was conducted over two year period  with 45 patients  enrolled. Of them, 32 patients (71%) completed the entire eight weeks of the Heartfulness Meditation programme.

The results of the study demonstrated improvements in measures of ISI in those participating in a structured Heartfulness Meditation programme along with sleep hygiene. The mean insomnia severity scores decreased by more than half from 20.7 to 10.4.

Figure: Eight weeks of Heartfulness Practice

This is the first study on insomnia using Heartfulness Meditation in an office setting. The meditation programme used in the study demonstrates the potential to improve sleep and wean off hypnotic pharmacotherapy agents in chronic insomnia. Twenty-four participants were on pharmacotherapy for sleep. At the end of the study eighteen of them (75%) were able to come off of them and another 3 (12.5%) were able to reduce the dose. As there are significant side effects that come along with the use of pharmacotherapy for sleep, it is important to explore ways to obtain a good night’s sleep.

The Heartfulness practice in this study involved 30 minutes of weekly guided meditation sessions along with a daily home practice of up to 40 minutes. The evening practice of rejuvenation  that helps in clearing up of the daily impressions of stresses and strains is unique to the practice of Heartfulness.The study also found that Heartfulness Meditation can be easily incorporated into the patient’s lifestyle, is cost-effective, and requires no special equipment. 

About Heartfulness: Heartfulness (, is a Raja Yoga system of meditation, which is also known as ‘Sahaj Marg’, or the ‘Natural Path’. It originated at the turn of the twentieth century and was formalized with the founding of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission in 1945 in India. With several million practitioners worldwide, Heartfulness meditation is a set of practices for self-development that help us find inner calm and stillness in our fast-paced world. The easily adopted practices are appropriate for people from all walks of life, cultures, religious beliefs and economic status, over the age of fifteen. Ongoing Heartfulness meditation training can be found at thousands of schools and colleges, and over 100,000 professionals are meditating in corporations, non-governmental and government bodies worldwide. More than 5000 Heartfulness Centres, known as HeartSpots, are supported by many thousands of certified volunteer trainers in 130 countries.

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