How to Beat Insomnia with Meditation
Sleepless nights, tossing and turning, and the corresponding sluggish feeling and low productivity levels in the following days can be rough for just about anyone…but when it’s chronic, it’s almost unbearable. Millions of Americans fight every night to slide under the covers and fall asleep quickly and easily, and many have their issues rooted in insomnia.
If you’re hopping into bed each night and all of a sudden, your mind is running in a million different directions, you’re not alone. Thankfully though, there is a natural remedy to help beat insomnia, and have improved sleep quality – and that is through meditation. Don’t think that this requires hours of quiet time and shut eye though…it can be as simple as starting with five minutes.
For example, if you’re new to meditation, you can try finding a place to sit or lay down that is comfortable; close your eyes, and breathe in and out slowly and deeply, paying attention to each breath that goes in and out. This might sound simple, but for some, it’s easy to have your mind wander to other things. Bring your focus back to your breathing, and just relax for five minutes or so. See? Done! This practice, done over time, has been shown to reduce the arousal levels in the brain, therefore improving insomnia and its corresponding side effects.
One study in particular focused on adults who had trouble sleeping; after incorporating mindfulness and meditation into their routine over the course of six weeks, participants noticed that their insomnia decreased, and they also had lower levels of depression and fatigue. This is important to note, seeing as how many people have a lack of sleep due to anxiety as well.
There is a large correlation between lack of sleep and anxiousness; stress and anxiety can lead to sleep difficulties, and vice versa – essentially making it that much harder to get to get some quality shut eye each night. And unfortunately, when you’re tired, it makes it much more difficult to process emotions appropriately – and can typically increase anxiety levels.
Thankfully, that’s where the meditation aspect comes in. Meditation has been shown to not only improve the quality and length of sleep that you get each night, but it can also reduce levels of stress and anxiety – both of which can make you not get the best sleep.
Ideally, it would be best to aim for twenty minutes of meditation a day, but you can always start with a shorter time frame if you’re brand new to meditating. The whole idea behind meditating is to essentially learn how to relax – both with the mind and the body.
This sort of mindful meditation is organized with a focus on the breath, and working towards getting your mind to center on the present (and not the busy to-do list of the day). When your mind is focused on your breathing and you can learn to block out the daily hustle for a few minutes, this relaxation response elicits all sorts of wellness boosting benefits – a reduction in blood pressure and a decrease in stress, just to name two ...all of which can correlate to help you sleep better at night, and decrease or eliminate your insomnia!