Many people who spend a night tossing and turning say they had insomnia. In truth, insomnia is much more than having one night of fitful sleep, or a couple of nights where you can’t fall asleep instantly. Insomnia means that you persistently struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. It is a frustrating and exhausting condition and there is no real cure other than to try different means of getting to sleep.
In many cases, what people call insomnia is actually stress. Stress can cause people to have trouble staying asleep, and anxiety can cause people to have trouble falling asleep in the first place. It might not be every night; you might notice it when work is very busy or you’re going through a tough time with a loved one and your sleep starts to suffer.
Some people need to take a hot bath, some people need exercise, some people need a warm cup of tea to go to sleep. Then there are more extreme measures, when sleep has become increasingly elusive— some people take medication to help get them to sleep. There are natural medications like melatonin to help encourage a full night’s sleep, or there are prescription medications that you’ll need to see your doctor to get.
If you’re wary of getting prescription medication but haven’t yet found something that will help resolve your sleep issues, meditation is a great alternative to pharmaceuticals.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a skill you must learn and practice. People compare it to working out a specific muscle group. You are learning to “rest the mind and obtain a state of consciousness that is totally different from the waking state”.
To do this, you become still in your body, usually in a certain pose, and you try to do it every day at the same time. This helps create the habit which is not only a part of learning to meditate, but also what will increase your ability to sleep better.
How should you use meditation for Insomnia?
The easiest thing a beginner in meditation can do is a two step meditation process. Find a comfortable position you can be still in. Choose a word, sound, or thought to focus on. Good examples are what you want to accomplish with your meditation.
If a humming sound is what calms you, focus on that. If you want to focus on peace, repeat the word to yourself or out loud. If you find that you lose focus, just breathe, and go back to your chosen focus. Try to do this every day in the same spot, in the same time. This may be an hour before you go to bed, or when you’re actually in bed, or whenever you feel that becoming more centered will help you.
Meditating while you are in bed is a great way to help you relax, especially if anxiety is part of your sleeping issues. You can still chant a mantra, or a focus word like we have already discussed, but you can also pictures what will give you peace. You can use visualization to see yourself getting sleepier and sleepier, to imagine you are floating away on a dream cloud to sleep, or some other image that will relax you.
Why use meditation instead of medication?
With meditation there are zero side effects. Many sleep aids have side effects that can be just as bad as how tired lack of sleep makes you. Some sleep aids are downright dangerous if taken incorrectly. Meditation can help to relax you and get you to fall and stay asleep, without any side effects at all. It is also so inexpensive, it’s free! It’s true you can pay for meditation apps on your phone, or you could get a meditation coach, but for the most part, beginners can probably start out with just a free guided meditation online.
If you’re interested in learning more about meditation for insomnia and other sleep issues, and would like to know how your overall health and wellness can be contributing to these issues, call the doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Center today to make an appointment with our experts!