Meditation and Your SleepTweet
By: Patrick Stiles
The research is in. Meditating is one of the most powerful actions you can take for your health.
I’ve shown you how you can start meditating in 4 simple steps
But if you’re still asking yourself “what’s in it for me?”, I’ve put together some proven facts to end your doubts once and for all.
Meditation lowers blood pressure, helps you sleep, reduces anxiety, and helps you be present and focused for the rest of your life…
… In fact, studies have found structural changes in the brain after 8 weeks of meditating once a week only!1
It increases Heart Rate Variability (which is the best measure of will power!! – Effortlessly say goodbye to chocolate cake).2
And if you’re worrying, or anxious, have racing thoughts or are not sleeping as well as you’d like, you need to start doing it now.
The good news? Once again: meditation is way easier than you think. There are no special rituals or chants. You don’t even have to sit on the floor to do it.
In 2011, a study of 30 people with insomnia found that when they received training in mindfulness meditation and applied it at home, their sleep improved as if they were taking sleep medication.3
Stanford University Medical Center conducted a study to investigate whether a combined 6-week program of mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy could improve sleep.
The results – insomniacs got to sleep twice as quickly as before. At the end of the study, approximately 60% of the participants no longer qualified as insomniacs.
Even better: in a follow-up study a year later, the majority of benefits had remained.
Meditation involves focusing on your breathing, bringing your mind’s attention to the present, and leaving aside worries about the past or future.
By itself it is totally non-religious. You don’t need a special class. Or an instructor.
Plus, you can start with just 5 minutes (which has been shown to be enough to start seeing benefits almost right away).
When you meditate your mind produces alpha brain waves — associated with states of deep relaxation and meditation.
During (and after) meditation your brain will shift from the rapid beta waves that make up your anxiety and racing thoughts to more calm and peaceful alpha waves.
You can start meditating for 5 minutes.
Most people find it best to meditate first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.
If you have insomnia or are not a morning person, I recommend doing it at night.
As you start to get better at focusing and comfortable with the time, you can increase it to 10 or 15 minutes and beyond.
Now — one of the reasons I got into meditating was because I read that the ingredients in Zen Anxiety produced alpha brain waves — just like meditating.
I’d been taking these amino acids and herbs for my anxiety and stress for a while, and had seen the dramatic effect they had on my life.
Personally, I feel combining natural supplements with practices like meditation create the best effects.
If you feel the same way and are looking for a good supplement that matches perfectly your new routine, you can learn more about Zen Anxiety here: http://zenlifesupplements.com/products/zen-anxiety/
1 – Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jan 30; 191(1): 36–43. Published online 2010 Nov 10. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.08.006. “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density”. Britta K. Hölzel, James Carmody, Mark Vangel, Christina Congleton, Sita M. Yerramsetti, Tim Gard and Sara W. Lazara.
2 – “Meditation-induced changes in high-frequency heart rate variability predict smoking outcomes”. Daniel J. Libby, Patrick D. Worhunsky, Corey E. Pilver and Judson A. Brewer. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, USA. New England Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Centers, Connecticut VA Health Care System, West Haven, CT, USA.
3 – Explore (NY). 2011 Mar–Apr; 7(2): 76–87. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2010.12.003. “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs. Pharmacotherapy for Primary Chronic Insomnia: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial”. Cynthia R. Gross, PhD, Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, Maryanne Reilly-Spong, PhD, Melanie Wall, PhD, Nicole Y. Winbush, MD, Robert Patterson, PhD, Mark Mahowald, MD, and Michel Cramer-Bornemann, MD.