If you find yourself lying wide awake or tossing and turning when you should be fast asleep it may be time to consider the natural sleep remedy, meditation. It has no negative side effects and actually numerous health benefits such as lengthening telomeres and slowing down the aging process.
Meditation and Sleep Studies
It may seem unrelated to sit alert and awake in a meditative state, but the case is meditation actually can help you sleep better. It is a natural remedy for insomnia and in fact, meditation can even help you need less sleep.
In Los Angeles from January 1 to December 31, 2012, a study had been published with the results showing mindfulness meditation proved to be not only an acceptable treatment for older adults with insomnia problems but is shown as more effective than the course in sleep hygiene and education the compare group was treated with.
Both groups went through a two-hour group course once a week for six weeks. The only difference being the focus of the course. Shockingly, the meditators even showed less daytime fatigue with their treatment in comparison to the sleep hygiene and education group.
There are many hormones involved in getting ourselves into a cozy and restful sleep state. A hormone prominent in getting you to dreamland is melatonin. It is produced mainly in the pineal gland and its job is to regulate the sleep cycle.
Melatonin supplements are often commonly taken to treat insomnia less invasively. Although our bodies can innately produce melatonin and actually increase levels naturally through meditation.
This study proved that through meditation we can actually increase plasma melatonin. Within the study, the melatonin levels within the meditators were compared at the same time of day. It showed an increase in plasma melatonin after meditating while compared to a control night’s melatonin levels without meditating.
Emotional Benefits of Meditation
Many cups of coffee have been drunk simply due to an overactive mind running laps way past midnight. Sometimes the circling thoughts are mental to-do lists or criticizing mental replays echoing with the promise of increased productivity or self-improvement.
Again it may seem counterproductive that the cure for a mind racing with the drive for deeper satisfaction by fine-tuning itself could be in fact simply letting go. When we take the time to practice meditation we come into the seat of an objective observer.
We are able to view our emotions neutrally and even see through illusions that otherwise, we wouldn’t perceive clearly due to personal bias. Working out the mental muscles of focus through meditation also allows the use of these muscles to reflect in our daily life. Try this guided meditation to increase your mental focus and quiet mental chatter.
When we train the brain to come back to a singular point of focus such as the breath or a mantra we are accumulating our ability to focus. This means when we direct our focus onto relaxation it is much harder for other thoughts to pull our attention away from our inner calm. Click here to learn the benefits of chanting mantras.
Yogi’s value cultivating mental focus as when a state of Samadhi is attained, the yogi is not easily distracted or moved from it. Samadhi is a state of meditative consciousness understood as supreme bliss and the highest point of clarity.
You can also practice yogic meditation techniques such as calming pranayama. Pranayama means to extend the breath as well as clear our chakra system. Calming pranayama activates the parasympathetic system which is responsible for our bodies “rest and digest response” To learn pranayama techniques to help sleep click here.