Does your insomnia have you tossing and turning all night? If you regularly have trouble falling or staying asleep, your quality of life can seriously suffer. Before you turn to a prescription sleep aid or another invasive remedy, try meditation. Studies show that practicing mindfulness before bed each night can improve your sleep and give you a peaceful, restful night.
Dr. Richard Firshein supports patients in the Upper East Side area of New York City who are dealing with sleep issues like insomnia. The Firshein Center for Integrative Medicine recommends techniques derived from both Eastern and Western medicine to help you get to sleep. Eastern-style meditation provides a noninvasive way to improve the duration and quality of your sleep.
The thoughts and chores that follow you during the day sometimes prevent you from getting to sleep at night. For many people, stress is at the heart of sleep problems. Meditation induces your relaxation response, which is the opposite of your stress response. With the relaxation response comes lowered blood pressure and pain levels along with a lift in your overall mood.
Mindfulness awareness directs your attention to moment-by-moment experiences, helping you get in touch with your thoughts and emotions. Meditating before bed gives you a chance to let go of the day's stresses, leaving them behind when you lie down to go to sleep.
When you sit down to meditate, chose a comfortable place where you can physically relax. You may prefer to sit, or you can fully lie down on your back. Focus first on your breath. Become aware of your inhales and exhales, and start to slow your breathing rhythm. Begin to bring your attention to the present. Don't let your mind stray to thoughts or worries about the past or future.
If it's helpful for you, you can focus on an image, sound, or mantra. Others prefer to completely empty their minds during meditation. Maintain a state of focused calm for a stretch of time, ideally for 20 minutes, to reap the benefits of meditation.
Just a few minutes of nightly mindfulness practice makes a difference. If you can't manage 20 minutes at first, start small with two minutes or five minutes, and see if you can increase the duration of your sessions from there.
When you get enough rest at night, you feel energetic throughout the day. Your productivity soars, your mood stabilizes, and your whole body seems to function better.
Meditation has additional benefits. In studies, people with insomnia who participated in meditation practice saw more improvement in their mood and energy levels and had a better sleep experience than participants in a targeted sleep education program. Meditation is completely safe to try, and it can dramatically improve your ability to fall and stay asleep by inducing your relaxation response.
Mindfulness offers a completely natural and drug-free way to treat your insomnia. We can also use meditation in combination with other sleep techniques to treat stubborn cases of sleeplessness.
To learn more about how meditation can help you with your sleep problems, schedule a consultation with Dr. Firshein. Call our New York City office today, or book your appointment online.