We all know the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, as while our bodies rest we rejuvenate. The reality however, is that many Americans do not get adequate sleep; a recent poll found a large number of respondents got six hours or less of sleep per night. Some people who suffer from insomnia or other sleep deprivation problems may turn to prescription sleep aides. These medicines can have side effects as well as the potential to become habit-forming. Luckily, a new study has found that meditation can be effective ways to get better sleep.
Meditation is the act of focusing your mind on one thing, with the goal being clarity and freedom from distraction. During this time you may close your eyes and engage in deep breathing, either with soft music or silence. Despite your best efforts, thoughts will still enter your mind. The idea is to notice and recognize the thoughts, and then bring the focus back to your breath. Sometimes saying a short chant or mantra can help aim the focus.
The study looked at 49 different individuals, aiming to gauge the efficacy of mindfulness meditation in promoting sleep. Half of the volunteers engaged in meditation practices while the other half of the group participated in sleep hygiene education. After the study, the participants who engaged in meditation had improved in their sleep habits while the education group stayed the same. In addition, all participants were evaluated for symptoms of sleep-deprivation related disorders including depression, fatigue, and insomnia. The meditation group was less likely to have these symptoms when compared to the education group.
David Black, one of the lead authors of the study, concluded that mindfulness mediation could have a role in addressing sleep problems in adult. It is hoped that this research will lead to more advanced studies regarding the efficacy of meditation as a treatment for sleep issues. Meditation has already been found to reduce stress and relieve some symptoms of anxiety and depression, and perhaps the mind-body connection will made with other disorders in the future.
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