A mindfulness intervention has significant benefits among older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and insomnia, according to study results published in Geriatric Nursing.
A total of 75 patients (74.7% women; mean age, 80 [SD, 9.3] years) with MCI and insomnia were recruited from 4 nursing homes in Fuzhou, China, between June and December 2020. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either mindfulness training (n=38) or health education (n=37) for 8 weeks.
The mindfulness training intervention was a weekly 90-minute session. Participants were provided with audio from the sessions and were asked to practice mindfulness daily both independently and in a group organized by nursing home staff. The primary outcome was change in cognitive status and sleep quality.
The study population had a median Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score of 20.00 (interquartile range [IQR], 19.00-23.00), and global Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score was 26.00 (IQR, 25.00-27.00).
At 8 weeks, significant group effects were observed for the change in MoCA (z, 2.040; P =.041) and PSQI (t, -3.519; P =.001) scores. Significant group effects were also observed in secondary outcomes of the change in Mini-Mental State Examination (z, -2.124; P =.034), Insomnia Severity Index (z, -2.196; P =.028), Athens Insomnia Scale (z, -2.539; P =.011), Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (z, -2.990; P =.003), and Perceived Stress Scale (z, -2.483; P =.013) scores.
A subset of 28 individuals underwent electrocardiography. When participants were in resting or mindfulness conditions, β-band absolute power of the whole brain differed significantly (P <.05). Similarly, whole brain (P =.023) and frontal (P =.024), temporal (P =.015), and occipital (P =.045) lobe ϒ frequency absolute power; whole brain (P =.006) and frontal (P =.004), temporal (P =.037), and parietal (P =.029) lobe δ absolute power; and temporal (P =.043) and parietal (P =.024) lobe θ band differed significantly between resting and mindfulness states.
No serious adverse events or deaths were reported.
Study authors concluded, “Our study found that an 8-week mindfulness intervention improved sleep quality, overall cognitive function, and psychological status of patients with MCI with insomnia. Electrocardiogram analyses revealed that mindfulness caused deep relaxation of the brain and changed the EEG frequency bands related to attention and cognitive tasks. Taken together, these results showed that mindfulness is a low-cost, easy-to-use, easy-to-scale intervention that may improve sleep and cognition.”
Cai Z-Z, Lin R, Wang X-X, Yan Y-J, Li H. Effects of mindfulness in patients with mild cognitive impairment with insomnia: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Geriatr Nurs. 2022;47:239-246. doi:10.1016/j.gerinurse.2022.08.001