Meditation, Mindfulness Training Help Kids Sleep Better and Longer
STANFORD, Calif .– Children who learn meditation and mindfulness techniques can not only have better mental health, but also sleep better. Researchers at Stanford Medicine say that children who train in mindfulness sleep more than an hour longer than their peers.
Scientists add that it could help them in their learning and also become more emotionally stable. According to the study, telling children to go to bed earlier doesn’t work, but teaching them to relax does.
Researchers recruited low-income families to test how relaxation and stress management lessons can help sleep. The team adds that children from Hispanic families living in high crime neighborhoods in San Francisco were not taught how to get more sleep, but were instead taught mindfulness techniques at school.
The study authors then used polysomnography, which measures brain activity, to assess how school-based mindfulness training affects children’s sleep. Yoga instructors and children’s class teachers taught the program twice a week for two years.
Sleep begins to decline as children approach adolescence
During this period, children in the control group saw their total sleep decrease by 63 minutes each night while their REM sleep minutes remained stable. The team finds that this matches the reductions in sleep typically seen in late childhood and early adolescence.
In contrast, children participating in mindfulness classes gained 74 minutes of total sleep and 24 minutes of REM sleep.
“It is intuitive to think that the children who did not participate in the program reduced their sleep, from what we know about what it is to be a child of this age,” says the author. principal, Dr. Christina Chick, postdoctoral researcher in psychiatry, in an academic outing.
âOlder kids may be staying awake to do homework or talk or text with friends. I interpret our findings to mean that the program was protective, in that it taught skills that helped protect against these sleep loss.
Dr Chick adds that hormonal changes and brain development also contribute to changes in sleep during adolescence.
Since rapid eye movement sleep, which includes dreaming and helps consolidate memories, also lengthens in children who have learned the techniques, it is suggested that these children may also be more successful in education.
âChildren who took the program got an average of 74 minutes more sleep per night than before the procedure,â reports Dr. Ruth O’Hara. âIt’s a huge change. They gained almost half an hour of REM sleep.
âIt’s really quite striking. There is theoretical, animal and human evidence suggesting that this is a very important phase of sleep for neural development and for the development of cognitive and emotional functions, âconcludes O’Hara.
The search appears in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
SWNS writer Joe Morgan contributed to this report.