If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, meditation may be just the nightcap you are looking for.
While there are many different types of meditation, they all have similar core principles: quieting the mind and focusing awareness on the present moment. As insomnia is often caused by an inability to ‘stop thinking’ and relax, meditation techniques can often make falling asleep a much smoother process.
A study performed by a research team led by Ramadevi Gourineni, MD, director of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s insomnia program, found that Kriya Yoga, a form of meditation, might be an effective tool for treating insomnia.
Dr. Gourineni and his research team analyzed the history and habits of 11 volunteers between the ages of 25 and 45. These volunteers were all in good health, except for the fact that they all suffered from chronic primary insomnia. They were divided into two groups, and both groups were instructed in health-related topics such as nutrition, exercise and stress management.
One of the groups, along with the health education courses, received instruction in Kriya Yoga meditation techniques. After two months, the researchers concluded that the group that had received mediation training experienced a better quality of overall sleep, slept for longer without waking up as much throughout the night, and also had reduced depression symptoms.
“Results of the study show that teaching deep relaxation techniques during the daytime can help improve sleep at night,” Dr. Gourineni summarized.
While meditating during the day can certainly improve sleep at night, meditating for a few moments right before bed, and even during the night if you happen to awaken, may also be greatly beneficial. Practicing meditation right before bed can help get you in the present moment, and shed the worries of the day, so you are fully relaxed and able to fall asleep faster.
Similarly, if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night often, sometimes all the mind needs is an active reset, and this is certainly something that meditation can foster.
Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and center your awareness entirely on the present moment, and you may find that your mind is cleansed enough to re-enter dreamland before you know it.
-The Alternative Daily