Physicians are turning to mindfulness meditation as a prescription for a myriad of sleep-related issues, such as insomnia or REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. And the reason why is simple – it works.
A highly publicized 2015 study from Harvard University, has found mindfulness meditation can promote a better sleep through a number of ways.
And while it all boils down to the chemicals our brains and bodies naturally produce and regulate, there are a couple of stand-out processes researchers have pinpointed as the backbone of meditation’s effect on our sleep.
So how does meditation allow us to sleep better, feel less fatigued and treat sleeping disorders across the board? Let us count the ways!
1. Mindfulness Meditation Produces a Melatonin Boost
Melatonin is arguably the most important neurochemical when it comes to achieving a deep sleep. Manufactured in the brain, melatonin peaks just before bedtime. It also leads to an ability to fall asleep, as well as a healthy rotation of sleep cycles.
As it so happens, mindfulness meditation is ideal for boosting melatonin production. In fact, a recent study at Rutgers University found melatonin production in regular meditation practitioners increased by an average of 98%.
As a result, many physicians and scientists found mindfulness meditation is a far more effective way to get a much-needed melatonin boost than any supplement or prescription.
2. Mindfulness Meditation Halts Unfocused Thoughts
One reason why so many people lay awake is simply because they can’t “shut off their brain” when they hit the pillow.
Anxiety about the day’s events or the next day’s potential issues leads to a triggering of stress hormones which interrupts our ability to sleep.
But because of the calming effects of mindfulness meditation, which includes an ability to discard unhelpful thoughts, cares and worries can be left behind at bedtime, and stress hormone production remains at a minimum.
3. Mindfulness Meditation Strengthens Important Brain Regions
Scientists and researchers have studied what they call the “sleeping brain” for decades. Many have found one of the keys to achieving a great rest is to spend sufficient time in the REM cycle.
A section of the brain triggers this cycle because it effectively serves as the on and off switch for REM. It’s also an area with regular mindfulness meditation that you can strengthen.
As a result, a number of studies have concluded that mindfulness meditation leads to more time spent in the REM phase, which in turn leads to a deeper and higher quality sleep.
Without ample time in REM, we’re likely to feel fatigued the following day – no matter how many hours our eyes are closed – so ensuring we’re achieving a deep sleep without effort is key to feeling rested.
But in addition to the general “feel good” effects of meditation on our sleeping habits, the important work meditation is doing to promote a better sleep all happens on a chemical level.
So get a better night’s sleep without really trying by giving meditation a try. Painless and side effect free, meditation is truly a treatment that works from the inside out to promote better health in endless ways.
I Can Help!
Feel free to contact me, and let’s make a positive change. Having a professional teacher on your side will go a long way in getting you started.
Once you’re on the path, you’ll be amazed at how far meditation will take you. I offer both classes in my office and an online program.