Meditation Can Put You to Sleep, Finally
Not sleeping is rough. Not sleeping well for days on end is even worse. Your mind is foggy, and something simple like walking down a hall feels like wading through quicksand. Some coffee, a sugary donut, and you perk back up again just in time for work. But by the afternoon your lack of rest is making its presence known. Headaches, uncontrollable yawning. You are lucky to make it to the end of the day. Then, that night, your head hits the pillow hard, but your eyes spring open.
Your mind races, replaying the events of the day. You do everything but sleep. And the cycle begins again. If this is you, you have a problem. It might be time to try meditation.
Meditation as a Cure for Insomnia
Sure, there are other cures like prescription drugs that put you out for the night and often part of the next day as well. Then there are natural remedies that may help calm you, but the results are inconsistent. What you need is long-term reliable help with no negative side effects. Something that not only helps you sleep but improves your mental state, overall performance and your general health. What you might need is meditation. Specifically, a focussed attention and mindfulness meditation program.
Establishing Mindfulness to Quiet the Mind
The goal of mindfulness is the acceptance of negative physical and mental states. Once you attach limited importance to these distractions, you are left only with the reality of the present. It is a simple concept but can be challenging to accomplish. But what does this have to do with sleep? Well, if you think about what causes insomnia it all starts to make sense.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress is a leading cause of insomnia. It is hard to sleep when your mind is preoccupied, worried about family, finances, health or whatever is circulating endlessly through your mind. The same organization lists increased anxiety as a result of lack of sleep, making the problem continue to grow worse with each passing sleepless night. This is why meditation helps, especially focused attention meditation. This type of meditation where one focuses purely on the breath or other bodily sensation helps keep distractions at bay. This can then break what seems like a never ending cycle of restlessness.
Focussed Meditation is Proven to Reduce Stress and More
Recently a group of researchers took a look at the correlation between mindfulness meditation and improved mental and physical health. In this study published in the American Journal of Medicine, the findings confirm a reduction in anxiety, depression, and pain among people who meditate. Furthermore, another study additionally showed meditation’s positive impact in terms of mitigating the effects of insomnia.
Unfocused or Focused Meditation?
Traditional meditation demands the mind be completely cleared of all thoughts. This is hard to do. Focussed meditation calls for an object to be the center of your focus, driving all other thoughts away. This method is easier to learn for beginners, and practice more regularly. Additionally, there are popular tools like Muse that can help make the practice more enjoyable and can provide valuable insights into progress over time. Muse works analyzing the patterns in your brain during meditation and in real-time changing the sounds you hear to help guide you to a stronger focus.
It can teach you block out distractions and focus on the present. The health benefits of meditation go well beyond sleep. People who meditate enjoy lower blood pressure, better metabolism, perform better at work as well as many other benefits. Most importantly however, for our topic, they are sleeping better.