Loud, chatty minds aren’t only an impediment during the day. When unchecked, thoughts continue to manifest and cycle at night – causing sleeplessness, sapping energy and leaving you feeling lethargic during the day.
It is due to this that meditation is an effective antidote to poor sleep – out of distraction, rumination and looping thoughts.
The way meditation assists with sleep is twofold;
- It slows down ‘incessant thinking’. By developing awareness and objectivity of your thoughts, you’re taking steps to extend and enhance your most precious resource. You short-circuit mind wandering, which leaves you feeler clearer and calmer. The awareness you cultivate during the day carries into the evening, allowing your sleep to improve.
- It provides you with a valuable technique. Night can be a particularly treacherous time for thoughts to arise – you are without external distraction and your mind is left to its own devices. Through training attention, you’re re-entering the present, calming the mind and allowing natural relaxation to override the cacophony of thoughts circulating through your periphery.
It is also important to bring the right attitude towards your sleep. Ensure you’re not focused on the number of hours of sleep you’re getting – which is likely to cause agitation; and make the most of the rest time you do have.
In short; don’t count the hours – make the hours count.
You can also structure your meditation around your sleep times – either first thing in the morning, or just before you go to bed. It is a wonderful way to wake up – fresh, alert and re-energised for the busy day ahead.
Conversely, by meditating before you rest, you’re developing some immediate relaxation, and creating a mental map for your mind to return to. Your brain begins to associate meditation with preparing for rest; relaxing the body and priming the mind for a ceaseless sleep.