Meditation - Sleep
Do you feel tired when you wake up in the morning? Do you feel sluggish in the day? Do you keep waking up in the middle of the night? Do you find it hard to fall asleep? If your answer is Yes. Then you are one of the millions of people who are suffering from sleep deficiency. This issue is no more limited to adults. Children from a very young age of 8 to 10 years are struggling with sleep deprivation. The longer work hours, usage of digital devices, availability of round-the-clock entertainment are further contributing to the growing list of people with sleep issues.
There is a wide range of medications and treatments available to tackle sleep problems. In recent years, more people choosing sleep meditation over conventional methods. Night meditation not only helps to get deep sleep but also provides other health benefits.
Before we dig into the remedies and therapies for sleep disorders, let us understand more about sleep. It is critical to know why it has such a huge impact on the health of our bodies. What we know so far is just the tip of the ice burg. There is much to be discovered and researched to get an actual picture of sleep.
Why do you need to sleep?
You can say this is the magic pill that gives you hosts of benefits at zero cost.
Sleep keeps you healthy.
It lowers the risk of chronic and life-threatening diseases such as heart problems, diabetes, cancer, etc.
It protects you from many mental disorders.
It improves the efficiency of your immunity system and digestive system.
It helps to maintain a healthy weight.
It gives your body well-needed rest and recharges it to face the next day.
Sleep makes you productive
It improves diverse functions of the brain, including your ability to learn, memorize, make logical decisions.
It makes you more creative.
It enhances your athletic performance.
It will make you happy, energetic, and full of positive vibes.
It makes you look fresh and beautiful.
Sleep keeps you alive
It keeps you sharp and alert, while you take up dangerous jobs such as driving, construction, machine operation, etc.
Sleep improves your relationships
It keeps your mood joyful and energetic. Also, you will have more patience to deal with the troubles of other people.
How much sleep do you need?
The quantity of sleep and sleep pattern varies as we grow older. The babies sleep on an average of 16 to 18 hrs a day. School-age children and teenagers need an average of 9.5 hrs sleep per night. Most adults need 7 to 8 hrs sleep per night until they reach old age. Beyond the age of 60, people sleep light and shorter duration. They generally suffer from insomnia, which might be a side effect of the medications prescribed for other health issues. If you haven’t slept well or had short hours of sleep in the previous days, it will create a ‘sleep debt’ that makes your body demand more rest than your routine.
What Influences the Quality and Length of Sleep?
Several factors affect the quality of your sleep, such as
Food - Reduce eating high sugar, high carbohydrate, and heavily-processed food.
Try to prevent having late meals.
Don’t consume caffeine late in the night.
Medication - Don’t get addicted to sleeping pills. It will affect your body’s natural ability to fall asleep.
Some medications prescribed for other diseases might disrupt your sleep and make you feel drowsy in the daytime.
Habits - Stop smoking and drinking alcohol before going to bed. It will delay your sleep.
Reduce working late at night. They disrupt your sleep cycle.
Sleep Environment - Having a clean and airy room with a comfortable bed & low light effect will help you fall asleep faster.
Stop using digital devices before going to sleep. The bright lights of devices keep you awake.
Work and Travel - Travelling to places in different time zone will disturb your sleeping routine.
People who work in shifts find difficulty in adapting to changing sleeping cycles.
Family - Taking care of a baby affects the sleep cycle of parents.
Relationship conflicts will increase stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions making it falling asleep difficult.
Biological Factors - Genetic factors, hormones, and chemicals in your body influence the quality of your sleep.
Some diseases and mental disorders might affect sleep.
What is sleep disorders?
Most people occasionally have some sleeping issues because of work pressure, relationship problems, and other external factors. But when you start facing this issue regularly with health effects, this becomes a sleep disorder. It will make you tired, moody, and less productive. If this is left untreated, it may lead to other serious health issues.
What is the different type of sleep disorders?
Insomnia - It is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, diet, or other diseases. Most people would face this disorder one or another time.
Sleep apnea - It is interrupted breathing during sleep. This serious medical condition deprives a person of oxygen, leading to disturbed sleep, morning headaches, impaired mental function. It happens due to narrow air space or malfunction of breath-controlling neurons.
Restless leg syndrome - It is tingling, crawling sensations in the legs, which urges the legs to move for some relief. This disorder is more common in the elderly. It is associated with health conditions, deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Parkinson’s disease.
Narcolepsy - It is considered a ‘sleep attack’ during the day. It makes a person suddenly very tired and falls asleep. It can cause sleep paralysis, which makes you unable to move immediately after waking up. It is associated with several neurological disorders.
Parasomnias - It is a class of disorders where you display unusual behaviour such as walking, talking, etc, during sleeping. It includes sleepwalking, sleeptalking, nightmares, bed-wetting, etc
Sleep pills or any similar medication do not tackle the root problem of these disorders. Hence they will not give you a permanent solution. Usage of these pills for a long duration makes your body dependent on them, and it will add a dent in your pocket.
Many sleep disorders can be treated without any medication, just by small changes in your lifestyle. If you identify the triggers or factors which affect your sleep, you can train yourself to overcome these obstacles to have a deep, restful sleep. Sleep meditation is one such therapy, where it provides the tools to identify the triggers and techniques to overcome them. There are many genuine free meditation videos for sleep are available on the net. You can use one of these videos to practice sleep meditation in your home for free of cost.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a technique, which helps us to become aware of our inner workings. This mental exercise involves relaxation, focus, and awareness. It reduces stress, improves your concentration, and provides many health benefits.
Meditation is practised, in one of the three modes.
Concentration - Focusing attention internally or externally on a single object.
Observation - Observing the thoughts and images which float through the mind in the present moment.
Awareness - To be in the present, without focusing on anything, just feeling the moment.
What are the benefits of meditation for good sleep?
Sleep meditation will help you to make your mind quiet from your bombarding thoughts that affect your sleep.
Some studies have found it reduces the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for stress.
It is observed that meditation increases melatonin levels which helps to have restful sleep.
It is shown that meditation has benefits for Insomnia patients.
It is said that 10 minutes of meditation is equal to 4 hours of sleep. Meditation and sleep are deeply related to each other. In both cases, you try to give much-needed rest to your body and mind. That's why meditation has such a profound effect on sleep.
What are the different sleep meditation techniques?
Guided sleep meditation
In guided sleep meditation, a recorded audio voice or a teacher will direct you to let go of your thoughts while asking you to relax your body and mind.
You are asked to focus on the sensations of your body.
When your mind relaxes, your body reaches a deep state of relaxation, which helps you fall asleep.
There are many popular free and paid sleep meditation applications such as headspace, calm, etc.
You can also use youtube channels like Jason Stephenson - Sleep Meditation Music
For deep guided sleep meditation you can check the youtube channel The Honest Guys - Meditations - Relaxation.
Yoga sleep meditation
It is one of the ancient deep sleep meditation techniques that bridge the gap between a wakeful mind and sleep.
Yoga sleep meditation involves awareness of your physical body, breathing, emotions, visualization, and self-healing.
It will be a 20 to 30 minutes long meditation. It is better to learn this meditation from an expert teacher before you practice on your own.
If you would like to try it on your own, there are many guided yoga nidra sleep meditations available on youtube and other video sharing sites.
Kids sleep meditation
Sleep meditation will have the same benefits for kids that we see in adults. Meditation will help kids get better grades in the class, do well in sports, and handle their mood fluctuations.
The attention span of kids is less, they will get bored easily. So make the meditation short, fun, and interesting.
Start with 10 minutes of sleep meditation which involves awareness of breathing and visualization.
For small kids, you can incorporate night meditation in the form of storytelling. It will help to soothe the mind and relax the body.
Mindfulness sleep meditation
Mindfulness meditation for sleep is one of the simplest and best night meditations for all ages.
In this meditation, you will divert your attention from your chaotic thoughts to breathing. As you focus on your breath, your body and mind get relaxed.
Mindfulness meditation is the best insomnia meditation. Some studies show that it improves sleep quality in chronic insomnia patients.
Mantra sleep meditation
The guided mantra meditation is one of the best night meditations for sleep.
In mantra meditation, your mind will focus on the word or sentence you will chanting. Every word has meaning, and meaning has power. If you chant it correctly, it will help to create new pathways in your brain.
It also helps to improve your concentration and awareness.
Chanting is one of the self-hypnosis methods which helps to distress and calm your body. It is also one of the best insomnia meditation.
You can always start with one of the powerful chants, ‘OM.’
Visualization sleep meditation
It is the simplest and best meditation for good sleep. You can do this from anywhere and anytime, without help from any experts. It is also the best meditation for beginners.
In this meditation, you imagine a place, picture, or thing that brings you pleasant thoughts and soothes you. You will feel positive emotions which makes your body tension-free and ready to fall asleep.
Now, there is meditation therapy to address any issues related to any age group. Once you understand the principle of meditation, you can design your own meditation, which will help suit your needs.
Tips for meditation and sleep
Meditation is not a magical cure for any disease.
Find a peaceful environment to meditate.
Treat yourself with compassion and love.
Don’t harass your mind to get it right after just a few tries.
Mantra for deep sleep is ‘Leave your worries outside the bedroom.’
Stick to a sleep schedule.
Avoid taking long naps in the daytime.
Eat a healthy balanced diet.
Do exercise but not before going to bed.
Meditation will not only help you with health, but it will also give you a new perspective about the world. The world will be the same but the way you look at it will affect you profoundly. It will help you to become a compassionate and loving person. Good health will take you much ahead in life than anything else. So stop sabotaging your health and use these free health boosters efficiently to have a better life.