Hi everyone! I’m Amanda Barnes, the person behind Sleep Deprived Soul.
Being a HR professional and a mum of three lively boys, my life is always bustling with activity. And with almost 40 years of struggling with insomnia, you can probably understand why I decided to start this blog.
Today, I want to talk about something that has had a significant impact on the quality of my sleep—meditation.
Getting to Know Meditation: What Does it Mean?
First things first, let’s clear up any misconceptions. Meditation isn’t some mysterious and complicated practice exclusive to monks or yogis. It’s actually a simple technique that anyone can use to achieve a state of calmness in both mind and body.
The focus during meditation can be on your breath, a particular word or phrase or even the sensations you experience in your body. There are different forms of meditation available, ranging from the simplicity of mindfulness to the spiritual aspects of transcendental meditation.
Why Should You Consider Meditation for Better Sleep?
Although insomnia often feels like it stems from physical issues, it is closely connected to our emotional and mental well being too. Meditation aligns perfectly with the goal of achieving better sleep because it centres on calming the mind.
I understand the allure of quick fixes like sleeping pills such as Zopiclone, but it’s also important to explore natural, long term remedies such as meditation.
What Does Science Say?
For those seeking more than just personal anecdotes, there is a growing body of scientific research that supports the connection between meditation and improved sleep quality.
These studies indicate that meditation can increase the production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for sleep, while reducing stress hormones like cortisol. Personally, knowing that there is scientific evidence supporting this practice gives me even more motivation to continue with it.
Meditation Techniques Specifically for Insomnia
What it entails – Essentially, it involves being fully present in the current moment.
How it aids sleep – I have discovered that practicing mindfulness helps alleviate the racing thoughts that often hinder my ability to fall asleep.
Simple Exercise – Try focusing on your breath and if your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to it.
Guided Sleep Meditation
What it involves – It is akin to having a narrator guide you through a calming story or visualisation.
How it aids sleep – Personally, I find that having a soothing voice directing my thoughts helps me relax more quickly than if I were doing it on my own.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
What it entails – This technique involves deliberately tensing and then releasing the tension in your muscles, starting from your toes and moving upwards.
How it aids sleep – By directing your attention to each muscle group, you essentially perform a comprehensive body relaxation routine that helps prepare you for a restful sleep.
4 7 8 Breathing Technique
What it involves – This breathing method consists of inhaling for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds and exhaling for 8 seconds.
How it promotes better sleep – Personally, I’ve found this technique to be incredibly helpful; it almost compels the body to gradually slow down.
Practical Suggestions for Beginners
Consistency is key – Attempt to incorporate meditation into your daily routine at the same time every day.
Create a Relaxing Environment – Lighting some calming lavender scented candles or playing gentle music in the background can greatly enhance the meditation experience.
Start with small steps – Don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to meditate for 30 minutes on your initial attempt. Even just a few minutes can have significant benefits.
Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Trust me when I say that the advantages of meditation accumulate over time. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t notice immediate improvements.
Remember, the goal isn’t to eliminate thoughts altogether but rather to learn how to manage them more effectively. If your mind starts wandering, gently guide it back without any self judgment.
My Personal Journey with Meditation
To be honest, I was a bit sceptical at first. How could just sitting quietly for a few minutes each day actually make a difference? But as time went on, I discovered that these brief moments have become like a refuge for me. It’s where I go to untangle my thoughts and prepare my body for relaxation. While meditation hasn’t completely cured my insomnia, it has certainly made it more manageable.
If you’ve tried numerous sleep aids and strategies without much success, why not give meditation a shot?
It doesn’t cost anything, it’s simple to do and you really have nothing to lose—except maybe some more sleepless nights.
Until we connect again, may your mind be filled with tranquillity and may your nights be restful.