Meditation and sleep

You’ve all counted the minutes that seemingly crawl by when you’re trying to sleep. Sleep is usually in short supply as our lives collectively get busier. Our minds tend to dwell on the pressures and stresses of the earlier day, or the next day. Also, infuriatingly, our minds have an unwelcome tendency to make sleep more elusive when we’re exhausted. It’s not an uncommon saying to hear around the office: “I need a nap”.

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue, leading to weight gain, depression and a host of other issues. So, how do we get more sleep? Short of rebalancing your entire day, life and work schedule, you can also improve the quality of your sleep. Indeed, there is a positive correlation between meditation and sleep. Research shows it. Recently a study in the JAMA Internal Medicine publication further backed up this claim.

The study, which tested the sleep patterns of 49 participants, studied the effects of mindfulness meditation on older adults with sleep disturbances. The study itself focused on adults over the age of 55. One group studied and practiced mindfulness, nothing more. The second group utilized professional sleep techniques — such as avoiding distractions such as television. Participants reported their sleep behaviors and patterns over the course of a full year.

The results aren’t surprising to us — it tells us what many of us already know: meditation leads to a more focused, calm state that helps with sleep. The group that practiced mindfulness reported better sleep, especially considering the less interrupted sleep patterns experienced by the participants. Meditation can calm your brain’s arousal state, helping you get to sleep and stay asleep.

Researchers say that these finding can apply to everyone that brings meditation into their lives, especially those with a fast paced lifestyle, stressful job, or those that have anxiety that disturbs their sleep.