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Well-being of college students: effects of mindfulness practice on biologycal rhythmicity markers.

Abstract

The irregularity in sleep patterns of students and the increased light exposure at night have a negative impact on well-being and health, as evidenced by the phase delay in melatonin synthesis. Melatonin is an endogenous phase marker and, like other rhythms, as activity/rest and body temperature, for example, is a marker of biological rhythmicity: synchronized by light/dark variation, timed by the suprachiasmatic nucleus and determined by the "clock genes" . Mindfulness promotes the development of abilities that can lead to an adjustment in the rhythmic phase of the organism, considering the positive effects of practices on the sleep/wake cycle and the importance of rhythmicity on its regulation. Mindfulness also promotes well-being and minimizes negative effects of stress, such as the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and cortisol. In this way, the present project aims to evaluate the subjective well-being of university students and to verify the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on biological markers of rhythmicity, stress and attention. To this end, students from the Federal University of São Paulo, Campi São Paulo and Baixada Santista, will undergo a self-report concerning health, sleep quality, mental health and stress perception. They will then be selected to participate in the Mindfulness-Based Health Promotion program for eight weeks. Measurements will be made before, during and after the intervention to evaluate: the phase adjustment of biological rhythmicity markers (activity / rest, temperature and melatonin); the expression of "clock genes"; the biological response to stress (salivary cortisol and gene expression of proinflammatory cytokines) and attentional response (psychomotor vigilance test). (AU)

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