Can Meditation Help With Insomnia?

Insomnia, a sleep disorder affecting more than 60{1d2611b7b2358db1a5d290a72f211c932ff29d0dc596ec3bc444512a63e05c32} of Americans at least a few nights each week, prevents millions of people from achieving meaningful rest. Sleep is the basis of a healthy life: it enhances the immune system and restores the body’s health. While sleeping, the body changes into a repair state and regenerates muscles, skin, brain cells and blood. When the body is deprived of sleep, every area of life is affected, including stamina, health and relationships. Nearly everyone can make the comparison between the “up” feeling that comes from being well-rested and the dragging feeling that comes from lack of sleep.

Each person needs a different amount of sleep. Consequently, insomnia cannot be diagnosed by the number of hours of sleep you get, or how quickly you can fall asleep, or by how many times a night you awaken. Instead, it is the quality of sleep you get and how you feel once you awaken that truly help discern an insomniac from just occasional poor sleep.

Successful treatment of insomnia can entail both medical and non-medical aspects, but the best results are seen when treatment is tailored to each individual. Combining both types of treatments is usually more successful than either is alone.

Sleep specialists can draw upon many medications to treat insomnia today. Studies have shown that when sedatives are combined with some type of behavioral therapy, patients frequently are able to stop using sedatives more easily than if they were on sedatives alone. Prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as herbal remedies, have proven successful in treating insomnia.

Non-medical therapies include relaxation therapy, sleep hygiene, sleep restriction, stimulus control and meditation. The value of mediation in enhancing sleep quality has been known and used for millennia. In Eastern cultures, meditative sleep is commonly used to alleviate suffering, promote healing and improve a person’s general mental and emotional state. It is a proven, safe and easy way to balance the body’s mental, physical and emotional condition.

Most sleep problems are caused by the inability of the mind to relax and exist in the present. Many people have experienced times when, despite utter exhaustion, sleep refuses to come and the mind races through checking balances, work situations, family issues or any of a myriad of other common life events. Paradoxically, studies have found the body’s mental state while sleeping determines stress hormone levels in the blood the next morning. The irony is that the more thinking and stress one experiences immediately before bedtime, the less likely one will be to wake up rested — which leads to yet more restlessness in subsequent nights. Said another way, if the mind is kept busy right up until lying down, it will continue to be busy while sleeping.

Meditation is one of the best ways to keep the mind under control. The more one mediates, the less occupied the mind will be when it comes to bedtime. This will result in more – and restful — sleep. If you are experiencing insomnia, or even if you simply wish to enhance the quality of the sleep you already get, try mediating for about 15 minutes before lying down to go to sleep each night. The results will be amazing.

The simplest form of meditation is to consciously focus on your breath. Try this simple exercise: Imagine the color of the air you inhale to be black and its color when you exhale to be white. Focusing on this change in color will help you clear your mind, go to sleep more quickly, and benefit more from the sleep you enjoy.

Meditation cannot cure the root causes of insomnia, but it is a proven and effective tool to help you overcome stress-induced Insomnia by inducing a relaxed state of mind at bedtime. 

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Manjit Sandhu