It's my understanding that brain activity in the prefrontal cortex is suppressed during sleep and that mindfulness stimulates activity in that region. Based on this, it seems counterintuitive to think that the average person who is lying in bed and using mindfulness meditation reduces his/her sleep latency. Is there any empirical indication or theoretical argument either way?

  • $\begingroup$ For all people or some people? I generally hear meditation as a sleep recommendation for people who need to clear their thoughts (already hyperactive PFC) and not for those who suffer from other sleep disorders. $\endgroup$ Jun 27, 2016 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ For all people (i.e., not just targeting a specific set of people who have a psychosis or disorder). $\endgroup$ Jun 27, 2016 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ Very much so, yes! It also has many other health benefits. I see it as a circle. Meditating before bed allows me to sleep better. In turn, it allows me to be more energetic and mentally fit for the next day. Being able to really use my full capacity of body and mind allows me to work and exercise better. Add another round of meditation in the evening and the cycle repeats. $\endgroup$
    – user26980
    Dec 14, 2017 at 7:04

1 Answer 1


**Is there any empirical evidence meditation is good for sleep? **

Yes. There is. But it definitely depends on the type of meditation. Some types of meditation increase alertness. A few articles I found mentioned a study based on this, but failed to link properly.

The below link is the empirical evidence. Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances

This second study demonstrates that people who meditate may need less sleep. I don't know if that qualifies for you. Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. "A few articles I found mentioned a study based on this, but failed to link properly." Can you list the title of the study? $\endgroup$ Jun 29, 2016 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ About twenty years ago an acquaintance who was working on his master's in neuroscience mentioned reading a study about meditation reducing the need for sleep. One study participant found it so useful that he continued using the daily meditation and reduced sleep hours. I've been curious about that, in particular because I have sleep apnea. $\endgroup$ Oct 15, 2022 at 3:46

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