Archive for September 1st, 2011

Meditation and Sleep Disorders

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

yoga teacher trainingBy Faye Martins

Insomnia is a terrible affliction that can only be truly understood by those who have experienced it. What could be more frustrating than being completely and utterly exhausted yet unable to fall asleep?

Medications are often effective and allow those with insomnia to fall asleep and stay asleep, but the side effects are unpleasant. The underlying cause of insomnia is only masked by medicines, and the best cure is to address the root of the issue.

Some who experience insomnia have it in combination with other physical or mental issues, and in order to treat their insomnia, the other condition must be addressed. The correction of the main issue usually results in the insomnia being corrected automatically with no further intervention needed.

However, in other individuals their insomnia is present without any other physical or mental conditions. This variety of insomnia is called primary insomnia and it is often a lifelong affliction.

Scientists now believe that the trigger for primary insomnia is chronic hyper arousal of the mind. Patients with insomnia deal with a mind that’s overly active, constantly moving from one thought pattern to another all day and night. These overly active minds don’t know how to slow down, even when fatigued.

When someone has insomnia, there is a lot of pressure to drift off to sleep, and pressure only makes it worse. This is where meditation comes in. Practicing meditation during the waking hours teaches these hyper aroused minds how to relax in a setting that is devoid of any expectation. If relaxation and mindfulness occur, this is excellent. If the hyper arousal continues, that’s simply to be accepted. There is no pressure. All varieties of meditation are effective for daytime practice, and yield great benefits for an overly active mind.

Once the foundation of meditation has been created during the day, meditation may be used in order to drift off to sleep at night. There are a variety of different methods for insomniacs to use depending on how their mind works.

If the mind is creating visual distractions, use them as part of your meditative practice. Practice making the scenery go from light to dark, and try to make the mental scenes slow down – the slower the better. By regaining control over the mind, a calm mental state may be achieved.

If the primary mental distraction is inner dialog, focus on changing the pitch and tone of the ‘voice’, making it slower and deeper. This takes some practice but it’s very worthwhile because when the inner dialog sounds deep and slow it automatically makes the individual more likely to sleep.

Another excellent meditation for insomnia is to lay down and perform breath awareness meditation, focusing specifically on the stomach. Breathe in and notice how the stomach expands with the action. Breathe out and feel the stomach fall as the air leaves the body. Take care not to focus on any points other than the stomach since other areas such as the crown of the head are typically energizing in nature. The stomach is the area of the body that is strongly associated with grounding and stability, and this promotes states of tranquility and rest.

Meditation is a valuable practice for those with insomnia because it allows them to regain a sense of control and power over their situation. By disrupting the flow of the hyper focused mind, restful sleep may be achieved on a regular basis, and quality sleep provides the foundation for all other aspects of life.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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