How Meditation Helps Me Get The Best Night’s Sleep
Having followed a demanding career myself for many years, I know exactly how a series of long and challenging days coupled with anxious and broken sleep adds to the stress of fulfilling the expectations of our workplaces.
We all desire to meet our own exacting standards, and be the best we can be every day. In this post, I’ll share my personal experience of using meditation to help me sleep, and the difference I’ve found it makes in my own life.
Recent studies have suggested that lack of sleep reduces self-control, leading to uncharacteristic and impulsive behavior – character traits which will not go unnoticed in the office or at home.
This two-fold pinch of poor-quality sleep and consequential substandard output can begin to spiral into a vortex of compounding stress. Certainly, I’ve seen it happen to many people over the years – especially those working in fast-paced, corporate jobs.
Using meditation to help you sleep is a wonderful antidote, and one which I have used for over forty-five years. I sleep consistently well every night, but it is obvious that in comparison to friends who do not meditate that I am getting much more than they are and have a great deal more energy.
Two Short Meditations A Day
The first 20-minute meditation of the day, which I usually do sitting up in bed in the morning, compensates for any compromised sleep the night before and sets me up for the rest of the day. A feeling of deep rest, increased energy and a sense of wellbeing are frequently and immediately felt benefits from meditation. Add in second short meditation, after lunch and before dinner, and you are setting up a routine which is going to help you process the stresses of the day, create a sense of calm, and boost your energy for whatever is on your to do list for the rest of the day. This second meditation is not only your secret weapon in avoiding the dreaded mid-afternoon slump, ultimately it will contribute to a better night’s sleep too.
Honour Your Bedtime, And Your Bedroom
When we head for bed, usually in some state of exhaustion, we are trusting that by the time we wake we will be feeling refreshed and energised, but that frequently doesn’t happen – the body needs to be in a calm state before heading for your horizontal time.
I find that by honouring my bedroom as a place where there are no electrical gadgets (that includes TVs, tablets, phones and even alarm clocks) and treating this as a gentle, calm place for sleep and being intimate, the space is unlike anywhere else in my home or workplace. When I enter it, I automatically start to feel calm and everything slows down. It is a sacrosanct space.
Leaving phones, laptops and tablets outside the bedroom means you won’t be tempted to check them last thing at night. This ensures that the prefrontal cortex, which can be overly stimulated by the blue light from these pieces of equipment, is in a dormant state, aiding the quick onset of sleep.
Another rule I have is not to go to bed angry or upset. Anything that needs to be discussed or dealt with is done out of the bedroom. That helps keep the space of the bedroom free from bad vibes and tension: the last thing you want when you’re trying to stay calm and prepare for rest.
If the stomach contains undigested food and drink the first period of your sleep will be severely compromised. With this in mind, eat at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed. The first stage of sleep, which is usually deep, is when the body is repairing itself at an intense cellular level. It is not until this has taken place that the mind is then able to process the input of the day, dealing with stress and dreaming.
It is only once the body has gone through the essential repairs that take place in the first stage of sleep that the mind can then start to process both recent and past stress. Dreaming is part of that process, and if the amount of time you spend asleep is short or broken then this is going to be compromised. If this is happening continually you are going to feel that you can never break the cycle, which contributes to stress.
We all want to get on with our lives, be happy, feel at ease, have good relationships, and feel a sense of fulfilment. At least, if you’ve read the blog post this far I’m making an assumption that you do. Using meditation to help you sleep significantly increases your chances of getting the nourishment you need from sleeping – not just psychologically, but physically too. This will have a positive impact on all areas of your life.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how Anthony’s technique of Vedic Meditation can help you, we’d love to invite you to one of our free introductory talks in London here.
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