Key Ways to Banish Insomnia
If you’re normally feeling drowsy or if you fall asleep on your couch before even hitting the bed, you’re probably lacking quality sleep. Indeed, the number of hours spent on the mattress is less important than the depth and quality of sleep. Meditators are the best sleepers. Backed by thousands of studies, but more importantly – determined by the experience of meditators over millennia – meditation inadvertently addresses sleep disorders that keeps us from living our best lives. If you’re looking for an all-natural, long term and effective solution to insomnia, meditation is a great way to start. Here’s why:
- Meditation Strengthens the Brain’s Sleep Hub: Often striking far short of getting a solid 8 hours each night, or not even getting close to enough REM stage in the sleep cycle can critically impair our mental clarity and physical strength. Scientist have studied the sleeping brain to understand what turns on the REM stage of sleep. “Pons” regulates the main dream-time chemical melatonin. Weaknesses in this brain region prevents restful sleep. Neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that meditation builds up strong sleep centered “Pons”.
There’s even a Ted Talk by a monk about meditation and lucid dreaming states, which is an indicator of ample time spent in deep-stage REM sleep.
- Meditation boosts the Brain-Chemical Melatonin: Manufactured in the brain, melatonin is a hormone that peaks before bedtime to help naturally get us a restful sleep when it’s dark. Travelers with jetlag often see melatonin sold over the counter to help with sleep regulation. Melatonin’s top inhibitor is stress, which means stress is typically compounded by the inability to fall asleep. Rutgers University researchers discovered that melatonin levels for meditation practitioners were boosted by 98% on average, with many participants increasing by 300%. This is because meditation effectively rebalances the biological markers in the brain.
- Meditation Boosts the Brainwaves of Sleep: Insomniacs who spent sleepless nights counting sheep or staring at the ceiling tend to have excess beta brainwaves, which are the waves we predominantly exhibit in waking consciousness. Once we can’t sleep due to a negative thought, our mind has a way of spiralling downwards to pull us even further from being able to fall into blissful slumber. Studies show that experienced meditators can achieve the more calm and beneficial alpha (relaxed consciousness), theta (meditative state) and delta (sleep state) brainwave patterns.
Soundbaths also wash people with the most calming waves to induce the brain to get into alpha or theta state immediately. This synchronizes our fluctuating, erratic brainwaves to a stable frequency that we can attune to. The result is that our brain has to slow down, so we find peace. With the right frequency, we can entrain our brainwaves to shift to reach the meditative state, relaxed consciousness or sleep and internal healing.
- Meditation Squashes Stress: We can quickly look and feel awful even losing a few hours of sleep in 1 night. Life’s stressful events and daily stresses cause both deleterious and cumulative effects on the human body. According to research by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 19,000 citations, researchers concluded mindfulness meditation decreases anxiety, depression and pain. Meditation training seeks to bring us to the present moment, so we’re not worrying about the future or ruminating over the past. Living in the awareness of the moment is the only way to calm our mind instantly during the stressful and anxious periods of life we all face.
Meditation offers many benefits. Often people find they’re calmer, more able to handle confronting situations, more compassionate and open hearted, and more able to see things from others’ points of view. The science literature backs that meditation has been associated with decreased stress, decreased depression, anxiety, pain and insomnia. And while it is heartening to many that the research shows this, to many more, it’s the personal experience of better sleep that helps people live a higher quality of life right now.