Meditation and Sleeping
The stresses of daily life can cause a plethora of reactions which impact on our ability to relax and get the sleep that our body needs to revive itself. A busy lifestyle, money concerns, work issues or family worries can all cause our sleep to become disturbed, exacerbating tiredness, lack of concentration and depression. Recent research shows that our health can be deeply affected by a lack of quality sleep, leading to long term physical problems and draining the joy from life.
Your bedding and a natural cover on a not too hard pillow can also be a beneficial aid.
If you’ve spent time lying awake in the early hours mentally creating to-do lists, rehashing disagreements or trying to find ways through work problems, the answer may be in teaching yourself a simple relaxation technique. Learning to let go of anxiety and focus on calm, restful thoughts are an important part of making sure your sleep is good quality and refreshing, preparing you for the coming day.
The practise of mindful meditation is one that teaches a routine of calming the mind by focusing on the moment and being fully present in it. At its core it encourages relaxation by engaging in the sensations of the moment, free from the distractions of past and present. The meditator concentrates on breathing and the sounds and sensations around them; by focusing fully on awareness of self at the time, other anxieties recede. Twenty minutes of mindful meditation a day has been shown to help alleviate insomnia, fatigue, depression and pain symptoms. Practising the technique creates a calming relaxation reflex that can then be tapped into at night when life pressures or environment keep us awake.
To get started with mindful meditation, try these simple rules:-
- Practise the technique away from your bed. It’s important this form of relaxation doesn’t become associated with your insomnia before it can be used to combat it, so learn the habit at another quiet point of your day.
- When meditating explore the experience of being in your body as it lives in the world. Allow your mind to hear, feel and fully sense your surroundings.
- Practise while sitting up to avoid accidentally falling asleep and losing the moment.
- If you find you become distracted, gently pull your mind back to the mediation. This is not ‘failure’ but learning about your mind and emotions.
- A gentle repeated noise or hum may help you to concentrate on your meditation.
Mindful meditation reportedly assists people in feeling a better sense of mental wellbeing and can be used to clear the mind of worries at night time. If you find yourself awake at night, try putting your newly learned ‘relaxation switch’ into action.