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Psychophysiology. 2015 Mar;52(3):388-96. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12333. Epub 2014 Sep 19.

Efficacy of paced breathing for insomnia: enhances vagal activity and improves sleep quality.

Author information

1
Sleep Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan; Institute of Brain Science, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.

Abstract

Fourteen self-reported insomniacs (SRI) and 14 good sleepers (GS) had their cardiac neuronal activity assessed by heart rate variability (HRV) under controlled respiration at a slow frequency rate of 0.1 Hz, and a forced rate of 0.2 Hz during daytime rest. Nighttime sleep was measured by polysomnography. The SRI showed depressed high frequency power of HRV compared to the GS. An increased total power of HRV was observed among the SRI during slow, paced breathing compared with spontaneous breathing and 0.2 Hz. Sleep onset latency, number of awakenings, and awakening time during sleep were decreased and sleep efficiency was increased if SRI practiced slow, paced breathing exercises for 20 min before going to sleep. Our results indicate that there is autonomic dysfunction among insomniacs, especially in relation to vagal activity; however, this decreased vagal activity can be facilitated by practicing slow, paced breathing, thereby improving sleep quality.

KEYWORDS:

Autonomic nervous system; Heart rate variability; Insomnia; Respiratory sinus arrhythmia

PMID:
25234581
DOI:
10.1111/psyp.12333
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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