Meditation and Insomnia
There has been much research on Meditation and its effects on insomnia and the result of these studies show that meditation is an effective behavioral treatment for insomnia. A study conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital produced findings that were reported at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
Insomnia affects more than 35-70 million Americans and is a condition that appears to be getting worse.
Sleep disturbances do worsen as men and women move into the latter decades of life. Insomnia occurs much more often in people over 65 compared to those between 18 and 34, as our sleep patterns change over time.
The study at Northwestern’s results saw improvements in subjective sleep quality and sleep diary parameters while practicing meditation. Sleep latency, total sleep time, total wake time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, sleep quality and depression improved in patients who used meditation.
Insomnia is thought to be a 24-hour problem of hyperarousal, and elevated measures of arousals are usually noticed throughout the day.
Meditation is not, of course, designed to make you fall asleep. But it does help in this area by unhooking you from whatever mental loop or whatever stress is preventing you from falling asleep naturally. So day or night, it allows for a relaxation of the mind, a letting go of thoughts that keep us awake. So often, our clients dont think they will every be able to sleep without medication. So often our clients complan of the busy mind, the chatter that “just cant stop” but the practice of meditation truly helps us fall asleep. We see it time and time again, that after years of seeking medical help, the practices of mindfulness and meditation change people’s lives as they learn to fall asleep better and go back to sleep when it is disrupted.