Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Study Shows Meditation Can Improve Sleep in Cancer Patients

How to Use Meditation to Improve Sleep in Oncology Patients

Kathleen Lisson

I read with interest in this month's issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing that a small study had found that patients with a cancer diagnosis improved their quality of sleep using a 15 minute meditation before bedtime. The title of the article is 'A Self-Administered Sleep Intervention for Patients With Cancer Experiencing Insomnia' and authors include Nancy (Surya) A. Absolon, Lynda G. Balneaves, Tracy L.O. Truant, Rosemary L. Cashman, Margurite E. Wong, Jeremy D. Hamm and Manisha B. Witmans. The article can be found here: https://cjon.ons.org/cjon/20/3/self-administered-sleep-intervention-patients-cancer-experiencing-insomnia

A similar study was published in 2014 in the Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal and can be found here: http://www.canadianoncologynursingjournal.com/index.php/conj/article/viewFile/63/72

This study has a sidebar listing the specific meditation technique. For the first part of the meditation, even, fluid belly breathing is established. Then the meditator focuses on his/her pineal gland. Finally, the meditator uses the sound OM to relax the mind and encourage sleep. Both studies found an improvement in sleep in study participants who faithfully used the technique.

I personally use mantra meditation to help me calm myself and fall asleep after a stressful or exciting day when my mind is still 'on' at bedtime. I am encouraged that natural methods for increasing sleep are being studied in oncology patients.

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