While there are many benefits to maintaining a proper sleep schedule, the negative consequences of a lack of sleep are important to be aware of.
Insomnia can take a major toll on our energy levels, mood, productivity and the ways in which we handle stress throughout the day. Elevated stress can also have a strong impact on our physical health.
While many turn to medication and other sleep aides there are many natural ways that you can find help falling asleep faster.
One of these techniques is mindfulness and meditation.
Many studies have shown a strong link between meditation and the treatment of insomnia and difficulty sleeping.
A 2015 Harvard/JAMA Internal Medicine study separated two groups of people suffering from insomnia. One group received instructions on mindfulness and the other group received general sleep improvement habits.
Those in the mindfulness group came back after several weeks with less insomnia, fatigue and depression.
From a scientific standpoint meditation increases the presence of Alpha, Theta and Delta brainwaves which are closely related to relaxation.
A strong component of meditation is focus and awareness. The ability to shift your attention from your thoughts and emotions to a deeper awareness of the present.
This shift in our awareness is so important because it directly targets a major cause of insomnia.
If you find your mind wandering while in bed don’t panic. Instead take notice of these thoughts and then shift your attention to the breath and the sensation of your body in the present moment.
Mindfulness works in this way by shifting our attention away from our stresses and anxiety and closer to an awareness of the present.
The goal of using these techniques is not about forcing yourself to sleep. Instead sleep is a side benefit of using mindfulness as a way to relax your body and slow your mind down.
Here are a few resources you can use as guides for a more mindful sleep.
Meditative Mind - http://meditativemind.org/
Headspace Sleep - https://www.headspace.com/meditation/sleep