Meditation and Insomnia
Feb 08, 2019
Are you having sleepless nights?
Do you try too hard to put yourself to sleep?
Do you often wake up abruptly in the middle of the night without any reasons?
If this is a pattern for you, then you my friend are suffering from a sleeping disorder called – Insomnia.
Insomnia can be defined as a person’s inability to fall asleep or stay asleep even when a person needs to do so. It is a sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide and can have devastating effects on the body.
How do you know if you have Insomnia?
Simple. Insomnia can cause the sufferer to feel sleepy during the day, irritable, anxious, and the person may suffer from constant mood swings. It can also lead to a higher risk of causing chronic diseases.
To be honest, I too was suffering from insomnia for the longest time. I was unable to get proper sleep at night and there were nights when I absolutely had no sleep. The morning after I would feel like a complete zombie. I would go to office completely devoid off my energy and was unable to perform the tasks of the day. I kept on wondering what it was that kept me from sleeping and after some research, came across a list of possible reasons.
Insomnia can be caused due to the following reasons:
- Change in Circadian Rhythm: jet lag, moving to a higher altitude, extreme climate, job shift change.
- Psychological Causes: depression, anxiety attacks/ disorders, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder.
- Medical Conditions: chronic pains, sleep apnoea, brain lesions, tumours, stroke, congestive heart failure etc.
- Hormonal Changes: in females this maybe changes in hormones during menstruation or pregnancy.
- Other Reasons: overactive mind, genetic conditions, pregnancy, sleeping next to a snoring partner etc.
One should always remember that no matter what the cause might be, there are different stages of insomnia that might affect different people:
- Acute Insomnia: A brief phase of difficulty in sleeping. Usually caused by a life event like: bad news, job or location change, travel etc.
- Chronic Insomnia: It is a long-term pattern of difficulty in sleeping. A person is said to have chronic insomnia, if he or she is having difficulty sleeping at least three nights per week for three consecutive months.
- Comorbid Insomnia: It is a type of insomnia that occurs with other psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression. Certain medical conditions like arthritis or back pain too can cause insomnia.
- Onset Insomnia: It is the difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night.
- Maintenance Insomnia: The inability to stay asleep. People with maintenance insomnia wake up during the night and have difficulty returning to sleep.
I tried my level best to get uninterrupted sleep. I would often exhaust myself through the day physically thinking that I would be able to sleep at night. But this never helped. Then I realized that physically I may be tired, but my mind was not at ease and that was probably the cause of my sleeplessness. Then I read a research paper that suggested meditation for those with an overactive mind. I decided to try this as it was easy and simple to learn, and with the help of my Yoga guru was able to perfect the art of meditation for sleeping. I was able to overcome my insomnia within a few days.
Over the years, studies have shown that to overcome insomnia “Meditation” is the simplest and most effective technique, which have yielded successful results in many cases.Meditation can be defined as a state of state of deep relaxation. It is a technique that makes our mind thoughtless. Regular practice of meditation impacts three core areas of our being- physical, mental and spiritual.
Meditation is the best DIY (Do It Yourself) technique to cure insomnia.
- It’s safe and easy to learn and practice at home.
- It reduces the use of external medication and has no side effects.
- It improves sleep cycle and helps keep your mind calm.
- Not only does meditation improve quality of sleep nut also eases pain, anxiety, depression and keeps the blood pressure under control.
- It’s equally effective for all age groups.
Basic mediation technique to try at home to fall asleep:
- Begin by finding a comfortable place to lie down
- Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply
- Focus your attention on your breath as you inhale and exhale.
- If your mind starts to meander, simply re-focus your attention back to your breath.
- You may try doing this for, say, five minutes at a time at first and gradually increase the amount of time as you get more comfortable with the practice.