Sleep is vital for the human body to function but due to the stressful and busy life of adolescence sleep is often overlooked. Those aged between 14 and 17 years require approximately 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. The statistics for sleep in teenagers is extremely shocking, all finding that most don’t meet the required sleep per night, in fact “one study found that only 15% reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours on school nights” (Sleepfoundation.org, n.d.). Along with lack of sleep, many adolescents may also suffer from irregular sleep across the week, “which can affect their biological clocks and hurt the quality of their sleep” (Sleepfoundation.org, n.d.).
Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that can have detrimental effects on an individuals health. For example, “sleep deprivation can cause impairments in short and long term memory, decision making, attention, and reaction time” (Headspace, n.d.). There are many ways to improve sleep quality, these include, but are not limited to meditation, reducing blue light, limiting caffeine, sleeping and waking at constant times, exercising regularly and setting a bedroom temperature (Mawer, 2018). In this study, the intervention of meditation for improved sleeping will be tested and analysed. The subject for this study is a 16-year-old student that currently struggles with restless sleep and sleeplessness. “The deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, improve sleep quality, and make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep” (Sleepfuondation.org, n.d.). Not only can meditation improve your sleep quality, but “can help ease many stress-related ailments, including depression, pain, and high blood pressure” (Corliss, 2019). Meditation works by lowering “the heart rate by igniting the parasympathetic nervous system and encouraging slower breathing, thereby increasing the prospect of a quality night’s sleep” (Headspace, n.d.). Method:
This study was conducted by using the IOS application Smiling Mind. The subject executed the same meditation episode, Oceans, from the Sleep for Teens program, specifically designed “to support calm and restful sleep” (Smiling Mind, 2019). Oceans “uses ocean sounds to simulate the relaxing nature of the ocean with the wave like motions of the breath rising and falling” (Smiling Mind, 2019). The subject completed the meditation episode immediately before going to sleep. To ensure the legitimacy of the results, the subject ensured the conditions were the same each night. The subject has recorded the approximate time they fell asleep and woke up, as well as the length of their sleep and the quality they feel suits how rested and rejuvenated they felt. Results: The data displayed in Figure 1 shows the sleep statistics from the subject’s sleep without the meditation intervention. It is displayed that the subject’s average sleep time was 01:12 and average waking time was 06:25. This table also shows the subject’s sleep length on average was 5.23 hours, and their average sleep quality on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best possible was 5.8.Figure 2 shows the subject’s sleep data with the meditation intervention. These results show that on average, the subject’s sleep time was 03:10 and wake time was 05:55. This figure also shows that the subject recorded an average sleep length of 5.15 hrs. The subject used the same quality scale as previous and recorded an average sleep quality of 5.1 out of 10.In Figure 3 the graph is displaying the sleep length and quality for all 10 nights prior to the meditation intervention. Overall, the trend remains relatively constant throughout the recording however, a large dip in length and quality on night 5.
The graph depicted in Figure 4 shows the sleep length and quality data from the meditation intervention. This graph has a more stable trend in comparison to Figure 3 however, does have a slight drop in quality on night 9.Figure 5 compares the subject’s sleep length and quality from both with and without the meditation intervention. It is shown that overall, the subject’s sleep length and quality remained at a more stable rate in comparison to before the study however, neither was improved drastically.Conclusion:
To conclude, in this study, it was found that meditation on average did not improve sleep length or quality, however, did assist in the relaxation and time taken to fall asleep. Acknowledgments:
Thank you to the following references for the displayed information and statistics.
- Amarnath, R. (2017). Improving Sleep Quality through Heartfulness Meditation. [online] International Journal of Health Sciences and Research. Available at: http://www.ijhsr.org/IJHSR_Vol.7_Issue.5_May2017/54.pdf [Accessed 30 Jul. 2019]. Corliss, J. (2019). Mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia, improves sleep. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726 [Accessed 30 Jul. 2019]. Mawer, R. (2018). 17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better#section2 [Accessed 27 Jul. 2019].
- Headspace. (n.d.). Meditation for Sleep. [online] Available at: https://www.headspace.com/meditation/sleep [Accessed 27 Jul. 2019]. Sleepfoundation.org. (n.d.). A Cheap and Easy Way to Treat Insomnia (and Beat Stress): Meditation. [online] Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-meditation-can-treat-insomnia [Accessed 30 Jul. 2019]. Sleepfoundation.org. (n.d.). Sleep for Teenagers. [online] Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/teens-and-sleep [Accessed 29 Jul. 2019]. Smiling Mind. 2019. Smiling Mind (version 3.6.0). [IOS Application] [Accessed 17 Aug. 2019].