The benefits of meditation for human health have been the focus of a handful of scientific studies thus far.1 Yet most middle-aged women never consider including it in their fight against menopause symptoms.
In this clinical trial, Brazilian researchers decided to take a closer look at whether a meditation practice can improve women's quality of sleep and, thus, help them maintain high work performance. They published their findings in the 2020 edition of the Advances in Integrative Medicine journal.
The study recruited 47 middle-aged women with clinical insomnia and moderate menopause symptoms to take part in this trial for eight weeks. They were actively working on managerial, administrative positions.
Researchers created two groups: the Sleep Hygiene Group (called the control group) and the Meditation and Sleep Hygiene group (called the intervention group). Participants were randomly assigned to one of them.
Both groups received guidelines on proper sleep hygiene, including maintaining regular sleep schedule, eliminating room noise, and setting a sleep-conducive room temperature, among others.
In addition to that, the intervention group was taught meditation rooted in Raja Yoga, which focuses on breathwork. Women in this group were to practice meditation for 45 minutes daily for the duration of the study.
Various assessments regarding general menopause symptoms as well as, specifically, insomnia severity and frequency were done before and after eight weeks of the study.
Once the study was completed, an analysis of the results showed varying changes in insomnia categories in both groups. Overall, 61% of women in the intervention group reported improvements, with 39% not reporting any changes.
On the other hand, a total of 34% of women reported improvements in the control group, with 60% not observing any changes and 6% reporting a worsening of symptoms.
As to other menopausal symptoms, only women in the meditation group reported significant reductions in their severity.
What Does It Mean?
Scientific studies on natural interventions for menopause symptoms are rather scarce. This is why the findings of this trial on benefits of meditation for menopausal women are especially exciting.
They provide evidence that meditation improves sleep disorders and other menopausal symptoms, offering middle-aged women a safe and natural treatment option. By improving their sleep and reducing other discomforts, they can increase overall quality of their life, their cognitive abilities, and work performance.
Having a scientifically-backed, natural treatment method at their disposal, women can become less reliant on pharmaceutical options, such as sleeping pills or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which are linked to various side effects.
- Advances in Integrative Medicine. (2020). Meditation as an approach to lessen menopausal symptoms and insomnia in working women undergoing the menopausal transition period: A randomized controlled trial. Retrieved October 6, 2020 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2212958820301567
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2016). Meditation: In Depth. Retrieved October 6, 2020 from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation-in-depth