Meditation has been practiced widely, and its benefits have been preached right from the Buddhist era. Today, meditation has been accepted worldwide to calm and relax your brain and stay connected with yourself. Meditation is known to help reduce several psychological conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, and much more. In this article, we will discuss how meditation can help treat insomnia and what kind of meditation techniques work best.
The connection between meditation and insomnia:
In recent times, researchers are increasingly interested in the potential of meditation to treat insomnia. Meditation is considerably affordable, low-risk, and easy to implement. This makes it one of the most attractive options for people with a sleep disorder who have difficulty accessing other kinds of therapy or medication. Several researchers suggest that various types of meditation can help with insomnia. Not just that, meditation can also improve the quality of sleep for people without any existing sleep problems!
Practicing mindfulness and meditation regularly improves the quality of sleep and reduces daytime disturbance in older adults and people with chronic insomnia. You can compare these improvements to the effects seen from practicing sleep meditation or any other established methods for treating insomnia in the long run. Like most other treatments, the main goal of meditation for sleep disorders is to take pressure off of the brain to fall asleep.
How do mindfulness and meditation affect sleeping patterns?
Mindfulness with meditation helps to bring about a calm state of mind that is efficient in falling asleep. This reaction is described as the “relaxation response,” the opposite of “stress response.” Insomnia is often defined as a state of hyper-arousal, whereas falling asleep involves a slow reduction in arousal. When someone is going through stress, anxiety, or depression, their brain stays wired, finding it more difficult to fall asleep. In the long term, these people start securing this tension as they begin to link bedtime with stress about not falling asleep.
Meditation invokes a sense of acceptance and awareness throughout the body. This helps reduce psychological distress and improves emotion regulation. Several studies of people who have fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, have found that mindfulness techniques help manage worry, anxiety, anger, and depression. These researchers concluded that mindfulness might improve sleep quality by supplying these people with mental resources to relax the central nervous system. Meditation also helps slow down the heart rate and lower the levels of the stress hormone – cortisol. When practiced regularly, this relaxation response reduces stress-related inflammation and improves insulin resistance.
Although the research around the direct interplay between sleep and meditation is still not vast, there is enough evidence to prove meditation may have long-lasting effects on the brain that may affect sleep. Studies on people experienced in meditation have also found that they display improvements in slow-wave sleep and REM sleep. They also tend to have lesser nighttime awakenings.
What types of meditation work best for sleep?
Meditation techniques for insomnia usually revolve around breathing and mindfulness components, with a significant overlap between methods. New to meditation? You can start by visiting a licensed practitioner or looking up videos on the internet to find a relaxation exercise. There are also plenty of meditation apps to choose from based on what works best for you. Here are some of the most common meditation techniques for sleep:
As mentioned before, meditation might be the most effective form of meditation for sleep. Most of the research on meditation for sleep disorders has been conducted on mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present and welcoming all thoughts and emotions in a non-judgemental, open-minded manner.
Guided imagery and music:
Guided meditation promotes relaxation by asking the person practicing it to imagine themselves in a calm, relaxed place, like a white sandy beach or a forest. This type of meditation is often accomplished with the help of a video or audio clip.
Body scan meditation:
Here, the person practicing it is asked to focus on different parts of the body and note any sensations of pain or tension. This is also closely tied to muscle relaxation, where participants actively tense and then relax each successive muscle.
Deep breathing is arguably the most common type of meditation. Deep breathing while engaging the diaphragm is often used along with other meditation techniques to enhance relaxation. As a beginner, people usually adopt the 4-7-8 method of breathing meditation. Here, the person in practice will breathe in for four seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and then release for eight seconds.
Other forms of movement meditation like yoga and tai chi have also proven beneficial for sleep quality. These activities may not be practical to carry out right before bedtime; however, these practices may help reduce the overall feelings of stress and anxiety when practiced regularly.
CBD, meditation, and insomnia:
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an extract of cannabis or hemp plants widely known for its medicinal properties. It helps treat several physical and psychological conditions like inflammation, pain, stress, anxiety, and much more. Products like CBD oil, edibles, capsules are the most accessible form of consumption and provide tons of benefits like reducing stress and anxiety. CBD is also said to enhance the effectiveness of meditation and yoga, as it helps the body calm down and reach a state of relaxation. Many doctors also prescribe CBD to patients who do not wish to take medication for falling asleep.
You can check out high-quality CBD products on the ThoughtCloud website.
Meditation has existed in our culture for a long time, and more and more people realize its benefits. If you are looking to calm your inner self, we highly recommend practicing mindfulness and meditation techniques daily.