Sure, we all love a good night’s rest but with the growing pressure of our fast paced lives, getting quality sleep is becoming more of a luxury than a necessity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, despite sleeping within the recommended number of hours in a night, 35 percent of Americans report their sleep quality as “poor” or “only fair” whereas 20 percent of Americans said that they did not wake up feeling refreshed.
The reason for this strange human behavior can be credited by stating numerous reasons like anxiety, depression, general lifestyle and medical health issues, all of which require going to the doctor and asking for prescriptions to various drugs. But believe it or not, instead of going through all this hassle, a simple solution for most of these sleep stealers is available called meditation. Not only is meditation an easy and gentle way to unwind yourself after a long hectic day, but is also one of the most effective ways to help you settle down once you lay down at night, which ultimately improves your quality of life. Here are some of the demon’s meditation fights to help you sleep better.
Stress keeps a lot of people up at night, making them worry about random things which eats up precious sleep time causing insomnia. Stress related insomnia affects millions of Americans and can be cured by alleviating stress. What better way to alleviate stress than by meditating? A recent study conducted in the Netherlands concluded that practicing even a small amount of mindful meditation can help calm our mind and make us sleep better. According to the author “With growing pressures at work coupled with smartphone technology, it is really difficult to ‘switch off’ because you continue to receive work-related messages in the evening,”. With mindful meditation, one learns the practice of present-focused awareness, which is precisely what is required to switch off the human brain from the nagging thoughts and worries of everyday life.
Depression is another major cause for most sleep problems such as difficulty falling and staying asleep, unrefreshing sleep, daytime sleepiness and sleep apnea. Researchers have found meditation to improve sleep quality by curbing depression. According to a recent study, practicing 30 minutes of meditation with 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can significantly help to alleviate depression. Meditation is a healthy and alternative way to increase the growth of new and healthy cells through a process called neurogenesis, which helps to alleviate depression, otherwise done with the aid of antidepressants.
Back pain or pain resulting from any injury for that matter can be really annoying, especially when it is time to sleep. The problem with pain is that it does not go when you go to sleep which makes it difficult to stay asleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 32% people who suffer from back pain also suffer from sleep problems. Meditation practices ease pains and eventually help you fall asleep. University of Pittsburgh looked at how mindful meditation can help older adults with chronic pain and the results were surprising. The participants not only reported less pain, but also reported an increase in attention level, enhanced well-being and above all, improved quality of life.
So if you’re still thinking of starting meditation, what are you waiting for you? It is as easy as learning the English alphabets and is perhaps the best way to fight stress, depression, pain and of course insomnia to get you sleeping like a baby throughout the night.
Eugene Gabriel is a passionate blogger. He has always been fascinated by sleep and how it relates to health and wellness. Read his post on sleep and comfort. You can also follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj.