Meditation and Insomnia: Crosswalks between Sleep and Mindfulness
Have you ever suffered from insomnia? Research shows that around 10% of the entire population suffers from symptoms of insomnia. There are two main types of insomnia: acute and chronic insomnia. While acute insomnia lasts up to a few weeks, the chronic type is characterized by loss of quality sleep for 3 nights or more every week, over the stretch of one month or longer. Insomnia can be caused by a myriad of reasons such as stress, anxiety, depression, illness and environmental triggers (like temperature & noise). Luckily, you can employ some insomnia meditation techniques to deal with this troubling condition.
Meditation for insomnia
Numerous studies have been carried out to unearth the effect of meditation on the quality of sleep. One particular study by the Harvard Medical School was carried out over the length of 6 weeks and involved up to 49 insomniacs. The group was divided into two: one group went through a thorough mindfulness-awareness program while the other complete an alternative sleep education program. According to the results, the group that underwent mindfulness meditation exhibited far less fatigue, insomnia and depression compared to the second group. Mindfulness meditation, according to this Harvard study, helped to address sleep disorder issues such as restlessness and insomnia among adults.
The link between meditation and insomnia is pretty apparent. Physicians even recommend mindfulness meditation for insomnia as a natural alternative for patients. People who suffer from sleeping disorders have one thing in common: their brains are almost always active. The reason why they’re unable to sleep is the anxiety that ensues once they start worrying about not getting sleep. Beta brain waves are normally responsible for an individual’s wakeful state. These waves increase mental activity, leading to enhanced decision-making, alertness and concentration. An influx of beta brain waves causes anxiety, uneasiness and even depression. It’s therefore not surprising that these waves occur excessively in insomniacs.
Benefits of mindfulness meditation for insomnia
- Enhancing brainwaves that facilitate better sleep
The relaxing and calming effects of meditation have been widely appreciated across the globe. Scientific research also helps us to discover what exactly happens within our brains when we meditate – more alpha, delta and theta brainwaves are produced. These brainwaves are responsible for inducing deep relaxation and sleep. At the same time, insomnia meditation reduces the production of undesirable insomnia-causing beta brainwaves. As a result, you wake up feeling extremely refreshed the next morning.
- Bringing us to present moments
Tokpa Korlo, a revered meditation teacher, says that meditation plays a vital role in helping individuals to overcome their fear of now. As we meditate, we gradually stop worrying about what will happen tomorrow. We also realize that the best thing we have is now. Many people lose hours of sleep by constantly thinking about the next day’s activities. Mindfulness meditation for insomnia allows you to focus only on the present. We get to appreciate that today is over and tomorrow hasn’t yet arrived. Ultimately, all that matters in here and now. Try guided meditation for insomnia if you desire a bit of help.
- Boosting melatonin and REM sleep
Melatonin is a sleep hormone that controls the states of sleep and wakefulness. The pineal gland is responsible for producing melatonin. This hormone peaks during bedtime, helping us to sleep soundly at night. Scientists discovered that performing night time meditation increased melatonin production significantly, leading to better sleep. REM, on the other hand, is an acronym for Rapid Eye Movement. It’s a stage during sleep that’s widely associated with dreams. One study performed by Massachusetts General Hospital neuroscientists showed that individuals who performed meditation for insomnia had enhanced REM sleep.
During meditation, it’s important to focus on your breath and avoid interrupting thoughts. You could also focus on a positive mantra (a sound/word) that helps you to relax. Once such mantra is “I am relaxed”. Guided meditation for insomnia is an effective technique you can use to induce sleep before you go to bed. If you’re looking for the perfect guided meditation app, the Mindworks Meditation App is highly recommended. It contains an array of daily guided meditations as well as numerous Mind Talks from distinguished meditation teachers which will enrich your life.