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World Meditation Day 2024: Expert Explains How To Use Meditation For Insomnia And Better Sleep

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21 May 2024

Adding meditation to your nightly routine can greatly improve your sleep. Here's a guide to practise meditation.

Sleep problems have become increasingly common in today's busy world, affecting millions of people. Increasing levels of stress and anxiety make it difficult to get a good night's sleep. However, a solution deeply rooted in our rich Indian tradition—meditation offers a simple and effective remedy for these sleep issues. On this World Meditation Day, we spoke to our expert Raman Mittal, Co-Founder, Idanim and Meditation Teacher , who explains how you can use meditation in managing sleep issues.

What is Insomnia?

“Insomnia means having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting restful sleep. Stress, worry, and a restless mind often cause insomnia”, said Mittal.

According to the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care (IFPMC). , different studies conducted globally have indicated that insomnia affects 10-30% of the population, with some reporting rates as high as 50-60%. It is particularly prevalent among older adults, females, and individuals with medical or mental health conditions.

Role Of Meditation In Managing Sleep Issues

When our thoughts race or our bodies feel tense, sleep can be hard to find. In such cases, meditation helps by calming the mind and relaxing the body.

“Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety, which are major sleep blockers, eventually soothing your mind. By meditating, we focus on the present moment and let go of worries about the past or future. This calms our heart and reduces stress hormones, making it easier to sleep”, highlighted Mittal.

Steps to Start Meditation for Better Sleep

Here are simple steps to use meditation for a good night's sleep:

1. Create a Peaceful Space: Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. Dim the lights and make yourself comfortable, either sitting or lying down.

2. Choose a Meditation Technique: You can try different techniques like:

  1. Body scan meditation : This practice promotes better sleep by redirecting your attention away from worrying thoughts and towards your body. Instead of trying to alter the sensations in any part of your body, your attention is directed towards perceiving them. As you start from your head and work your way down to your toes, you will notice sensations like heaviness, tension, tingling, temperature, and tightness.

  2. Visualisation : It can be a powerful way to promote better sleep and relaxation. The act of imagining a peaceful scene, such as a tranquil beach or a serene forest, can induce a state of trance similar to that of hypnosis.

  3. Breath meditation : It harnesses the intimate connection between you and your breath. You can effectively calm your body and induce relaxation by consciously slowing down and lengthening your breaths.

3. Set a Regular Time : Meditate at the same time each night, preferably before bed. This helps train your body and mind that it’s time to relax.

A Simple Sleep Meditation Exercise

Here is a basic meditation you can do every night:

1. Lie down in your bed and then close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths.

2. Now inhale for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. This intentional lengthening of the exhale sets off the body's relaxation response, which fosters a peaceful state that is favourable to restful sleep.

3. Repeat this 4-7-8 breath meditation as a calming meditation before sleep. If you fall asleep while meditating, it's a good sign. It means your body is responding well to the relaxation.

Benefits of Sleep Meditation

Regular meditation can bring many benefits. Here are some listed by Mittal:

  • Better Sleep: You may fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • Less Stress and Anxiety: A calm mind helps you sleep better.
  • Improved Health: Good sleep supports a healthy body and mind.
  • Bottomline

    Mittal concluded, “Adding meditation to your nightly routine can greatly improve your sleep. Be consistent and patient. It may take some time, but soon you will notice the benefits. Remember, meditation is a gift from our ancient traditions, and it can help us live healthier, happier lives. Sweet dreams and happy meditating.”

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