Stress? Anxiety? Long shifts? If modern life gives you trouble sleeping, try the most natural, easiest to apply and beneficial remedy of all.
Surely on occasion you have heard of meditation as a way of training the brain to expand awareness and increase focus, but is meditation for sleep really effective? According to a study performed in 2015 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, it is: it showed that those patients with moderate sleep disturbances significantly improved insomnia symptoms after learning to meditate.
The key is that the meditation process, once fully developed – think of it as exercise training for your mind – generates psychological changes similar to those that occur in the early stages of sleep. In addition, learning to control the mind makes it easier to direct it to a particular state.
Benefits of meditation
Encouraging sleep is one of the benefits of meditation, but it is not the only one. As normally happens with our body, a simple action involves many processes that affect both our body and our mind. Therefore, even if you use meditation as a sleep aid, you will also notice improvement in other fields – although it requires constant practice and the effects are not always immediate.
Stress – both physical and mental – can be generated by a multitude of causes, but in all cases there is an increase in a hormone called cortisol, responsible for the harmful effects of stress. Meditation has been shown to be effective in reducing cortisol levels, especially in people with high levels of stress.
Daily meditation is proven to help in coping with anxiety as well as other phobias and mood disorders, as it impacts the regions of the brain which control that kind of emotions.
Learning to meditate is not easy, as it requires devoting all your attention to a particular task. But over time that translates into greater ease in keeping the focus on all kinds of tasks. Even short periods of meditation can have very positive effects on attention span.
Decreases blood pressure
Because meditating produces widespread relaxation in the body, it also affects the nerve signals that control the heart's functioning, lowering the heart rate and thus improving blood flow.
How to do meditation
Meditation may seem simple – just close your eyes and don't think about anything, right? – but the truth is that to do it correctly in such a way that of notable benefits requires a lot of practice. In addition, there are different types of meditation, such as mindfulness, concentration or guided meditation.
To improve sleep, the most appropriate meditation is mindfulness, in which you pay attention to your own body. To get started in this type of meditation, follow these steps:
- Lie on your bed as comfortably as possible, on your back and your body relaxed.
- Close your eyes. For greater disconnection from the outside world you can wear an OSTRICHPILLOW Loop, our ergonomic eye mask that creates a total blackout sensation.
- Start paying attention to your breathing, but maintain a natural rhythm.
- Focus on how your body responds to breathing, how the chest moves, how air enters and exits the nose. If your mind wanders and other thoughts begin to appear, start again by looking at the breath.
Keep practicing for several days until you master the technique. The first few days you'll find it difficult to maintain attention for more than two or three minutes, but over time periods will be longer, and the state of relaxation deeper – until meditation for sleep is your best bed partner.
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