Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you suffer from insomnia? More people than ever are complaining about stress and the effects it has on their sleep.
Your Mind Won’t Shut Down
If you’re like me, sometimes it’s hard to shut down your brain. And the problem is, you’re genuinely exhausted. Your eyes are drooping and your body is dragging like an overstuffed duffel bag.
And it feels great when your head finally hits the pillow. And then…nothing. That blissful release into sleep doesn’t come. Instead, you’re mind seems to accelerate. And with it, so does your frustration.
Or even worse, you find yourself emerging from deep sleep for some unknown reason, and then you have a thought. And then another thought. And then, wheeeeee…the late night merry-go-round of your mind cranks up. Ironically, it’s all very…stressful.
Harvard Points To Meditation
Thankfully, new research is emerging that suggests the promising impact that meditation and mindfulness can have on our sleep patterns. Recently Harvard Medical School published an encouraging article pointing to a study on the subject.
The study, which appears in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine, included 49 middle-aged and older adults who had trouble sleeping. Half completed a mindfulness awareness program that taught them meditation and other exercises designed to help them focus on “moment-by-moment experiences, thoughts, and emotions.” The other half completed a sleep education class that taught them ways to improve their sleep habits.
Both groups met six times, once a week for two hours. Compared with the people in the sleep education group, those in the mindfulness group had less insomnia, fatigue, and depression at the end of the six sessions.
Stress Is A Major Culprit
Not surprisingly, stress is a major culprit when it comes to insomnia. And meditation is proven to have a major impact on mitigating and even reversing the effects of stress.
In particular, meditation activates you relaxation response, which is the opposite of your stress response. In a pain management guide produced by the University of Michigan, they describe the Relaxation Response this way:
The Relaxation Response is your personal ability to make your body release chemicals and brain signals that make your muscles and organs slow down and increases blood flow to the brain. Drugs can do some of this for you, however they often have unwanted side effects. You can get your body to relax just as well without drugs while remaining conscious and aware at the same time.
Using Guided Meditations For Sleep
There are different mindfulness strategies for dealing with insomnia. Guided meditations are one approach. They can have a powerful effect on sleep, helping the listener gently slip into a slumbering state through somnambulant vocal and music tracks.
This guided meditation falls in that category.
I encourage you to use this session from the folks over at Top Guided Meditations to fall into a deep, healthy sleep. There are a few different factors at play here: A brainwave entrainment track designed to put you to sleep, a tonal track which is designed to slow everything down, and there is a guided visualization designed to help you relax and let go.
This guided meditation will put you to sleep in 10 minutes, and make sure you sleep soundly. To use this session, find a quiet place, free of distraction. Make sure you are lying down. After starting the session, close your eyes and relax.