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Meditation and Sleep

Meditation and Sleep

Meditation originated in India during 5000 BC. Today, people from all over the world meditate in search of mental peace and physical tranquility. As a result, the effects of meditation on the body and the mind are widely studied even today. With new studies sprouting every other day, they all show one thing in common – meditation boosts sleep quality and helps people suffering from sleeping disorders, depression and anxiety.

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is the most common form of meditation where one is required to sit still, pay attention to the body and clear the mind. In essence, mindfulness meditation simply means reflecting on the present by breathing, observing and connecting with the inner self. However, to perfect the art of mindfulness isn’t an easy task.

To be mindful, you need to consciously meditate every day. Over time, your thoughts will start to clear, you will become more conscious of your breathing, and the body starts to become light. While it is hard to sit simply without doing anything and without thinking about anything, don’t lose hope if you fall asleep the first few times or if you struggle to clear your racing thoughts. Meditate every day and eventually you will get the hang of it.

How does Meditation Boosts Sleep?

A 2015 study undertaken with about 50 adults suffering from sleeping disorders concluded that mindfulness meditation can indeed boost sleep quality and address symptoms of insomnia and depression. About half of the participants of the study were asked to practice mindfulness meditation whereas the other half were taught sleep education. Over a period of time, the participants practicing mindfulness meditation daily observed ease in falling asleep and/or staying asleep all night, in comparison to the other set of participants. Additionally, they also reported a reduction in fatigue.

To further reiterate the benefits of meditation on sleep, a Harvard University doctor, Herbert Benson, undertook the study on realizing the effects of meditation on genes. From his understanding, he noted that meditation reduces anxiety and insomnia. This is mainly because of the body reduces the intake of oxygen and increases the release of nitric oxide, which, in turn, reduces psychological stress.

It is important to also note here that practicing meditation in itself will not induce sleep. Instead, meditation will help you navigate your stress and anxiety, lowers heart rate and encourages slow breathing; putting your body in an ideal condition to easily fall asleep. Virtually, meditation helps overcome the direct causes of insomnia and sleep disorder.

A Quick Guide for Mindfulness Meditation

If you look on the internet, there are many ways to practice mindfulness meditation. Technological advancement has taken us so far that we have various apps at the touch of our fingers to help us meditate. So here are some quick pointers to keep in mind.

  • Find a calming place to meditate daily. Ideally, do not meditate on your bed. Find a spot in your house or in a nearby park that is quiet and relaxing.
  • Sit cross-legged on a mat and consciously breathe.
  • For beginners, it is best to start with set counts. Breathe in at the count of 10, then release. Follow this multiple time until you are fully aware of the present.
  • Do this exercise for 10 minutes every morning and over time, you will learn to breathe in and out consciously yet without you controlling. Resultantly, your thoughts will start to clear.

If you struggle to meditate by yourself, worry not. Begin by listening to videos online or download an app on your phone that will instruct you on how to achieve mindful meditation.

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