5 Insomnia Meditation Techniques For Sleep Problems In Adults
Let me tell you about when I discovered the best insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults.
For three years at university I didn’t sleep at all. I lay awake at night staring at the ceiling, my eyes red and dry, my mind empty yet somehow full at the same time.
What My Life Was Like Before I UsedSleep Meditations For Insomnia
Everyday I had a headache, and I suffered numerous other symptoms of insomnia (2):
- mood swings
- lack of focus
- The few times I did sleep I suffered from sleep paralysis–an inability to move or speak when you’re falling asleep or waking up (sleep paralysis is brutal).
Basically, it was hell trying to get to sleep.
Desperate to sleep, I tried everything. Seriously.
Here’s a list of remedies I tried to get to sleep:
- Warm milk (Sorry, momma, didn’t work)
- Herbal tea
- Melatonin supplements
- Passionflower tea
- Light therapy
- Reading before bed
- Eliminated caffeine
- Eliminated alcohol
- Took less naps
- Counting sheep
- Magnesium and calcium
- Got an ergonomic pillow.
- And finally I used meditation techniques for sleep.
The one thing I didn’t try was sleep medications because the side-effects of sleep medication are brutal (3):
- Stress (if you’re stressed when going to bed, use these 10 great relaxation techniques)
- Change of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Stomach ache
- Weird dreams and nightmares
- Muscular weakness
Sleep meds don’t work. They just hurt. You’re much better off using some insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults.
What science says about using insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults
Science shows that one of the best ways to get to sleep is by using self healing meditations.
A clinical trial (4) took 49 insomniacs. Half the group were taught mindfulness. The other half completed a sleep education course. After six sessions, the group that had practiced mindfulness meditation got to sleep far easier than the other group. Mindfulness is one of the best insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults
Yoga helps too.
The Associated Professional Sleep Societies (5) looked at 11 research papers on insomnia and concluded that Kriya Yoga (a type of meditation) led to significantly improved quality of sleep (based on subjective analysis).
And in perhaps the most surprising scientific test, researchers found that people who meditate require less sleep than others. Neuroimaging studies show that meditation leads to heightened states of awareness and less need for sleep. That means that even if you still cannot get to sleep, your insomnia symptoms will be reduced if you meditate. That’s why it’s such a good idea to use insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults
This, however, needs clarification. Because there are conflicting studies. Some studies show that people who meditate may need up to 4 hours less sleep every night (6). Other studies suggest you need eight hours of sleep no matter what.
So here’s what we know:
- Meditators may need less sleep
- Meditation helps you get to sleep
- Meditation also improves the quality of sleep
So, basically, meditation is a win / win.
And that is why the best way to cure chronic insomnia is by using some meditation techniques for sleep right before bed.
Clearly meditation helps with insomnia. But why? And what are the best insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults?
Why use insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems (for adults)
When you go to bed do you start thinking and worrying? Do you feel like you could get to sleep if only you could stop thinking too much.
This is where you can use insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems.
The vast majority of insomnia cases are caused by noise. That could be mental noise from thinking too much or it could be the noise of the people above you playing Call of Duty at ten thousand decibels.
Either way, insomnia is generally caused by mental or environmental noise (8).
Often these two things go hand-in-hand.
When I was in university I fought the environmental noise of the people above me playing video games until 5 o’clock in the morning. And I had mental noise because I was angry about it. There was next to nothing I could do about the environmental noise (ear plugs are not an option for me). But I could cut out the mental noise by using meditation to stop anger.
Insomnia is caused by:
- Too much thinking
- Noisy environment
- Dwelling on the past
- Worrying about the future
- Generalised stress and anxiety
- (this is excluding more serious conditions like asthma, arthritis, chronic pain, and endocrine problems).
As you can see, a large part of the insomnia puzzle is to just slow down and find quiet.
Many people have told us how much quieter they feel after they use our beginners guide to meditation.
How to use insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults
What is the best meditation for insomnia? Well, it depends on the cause of insomnia:
Meditation For Insomnia Caused By Depression
Insomnia is often caused by depression.
People with depression often suffer from ruminating thoughts while they are in bed. These depressive thoughts prevent the mind from relaxing, which makes sleep next to impossible. And at the same time, sleep deprivation increases negative thinking. This is why approximately 20% of people with insomnia also have depression (8).
Meditation trains the mind to be more aware of thoughts and feelings, and this reduces the effect of those thoughts and feelings. Read my guide to controlling your emotions.
Meditation For Insomnia Caused By Anxiety
Anxiety is very closely linked to depression. Spiritually speaking, anxiety and depression are caused by a block of prana in the body. This can make it feel as though you are stuck or trapped. This could be caused by an emotional block, chemical block, or a blocked thought or mental pattern.
Blocked prana can lead to both anxiety and depression (and numerous other problems). But meditation can free the low of prana to restore health.
One way to restore the flow of prana is to use chakra balancing meditation.
Meditation For Insomnia From Other Causes
Insomnia can be caused by noise but it can also be caused by numerous other conditions. That’s why one of the bet strategies for dealing with insomnia is to focus on achieving good overall health.
Meditation creates overall wellbeing, leading to good sleeping habits.
There are over 100 health benefits of meditation. Therefore, if insomnia is being caused by a health condition there is a very good chance meditation will solve the problem, or at least improve the condition.
For instance, meditation can be used to cure skin problems. Because meditation increases the circulation in your body it will increase the flow of oxygen and nutrition into areas that have skin problems. So if insomnia is being caused by skin problems, meditation will help.
Another common cause of insomnia is breathing problems. Asthma, for instance. Meditation helps improve the quality of breathing, relieving the symptoms of respiratory problems and helping us get to sleep at night.
Scientists are very quickly learning that meditation heals many health problems. So if you have a health problem that is causing insomnia, you should definitely consider using meditation.
5 best insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults
There are 31 major types of meditation. Some help with insomnia. Some meditations cause insomnia (read below).
Before bed, use these 5 meditation techniques for sleep. And remember that there is a correct way to meditate while lying down!
Meditation for sleep #1: Mindfulness
One of the main causes of insomnia is the inability to let go of thoughts in order to let your mind switch off. And one of the main benefits of meditation is that it helps you to let go of those thoughts.
All those time when you’re lying in bed with your mind running a mile of minute. You know, those times you want to slam your head into the wall. The times when it feels like just going to sleep would be a miracle. At those times, mindfulness will be your new best friend.
To give a brief introduction. To use mindfulness for sleep, first get into bed, give yourself a few minutes to begin to relax, then focus on your breath. While focusing on your breath, allow thoughts and feelings to be released.
Mindfulness is the very best insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults
Meditation for sleep #2: Abdominal breathing for relaxation
You know what’s better than Breathe Right Strips? Meditating on the breath.
Shallow breathing promotes stress, making it hard to sleep. Deep breathing promotes inner calm and relaxation, helping us to get to sleep at night.
One of the best ways to get to sleep is to make sure you are breathing correctly at all times.
When you have ten minutes, focus your attention on your breath and imagine air entering deep into your lungs and filling your entire body. This will make you breathe better, which will promote better general health and help to cure insomnia. A very effective insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults.
Meditation for sleep #3: Yoga
Yoga is one of the best ways of relaxing both body and mind.
You don’t need to be a yogi, either. In fact, you don’t really need to know much about yoga at all.
Two hours before bed, spend thirty minutes doing some basic yoga asanas (poses) while focusing on your breath (doing “pranayama”). This will connect mind and body and calm both for complete relaxation that is perfect just before bed.
If you would like to learn more about using yoga for sleep, I highly recommend the work of Dr. Rubin Naiman. Dr. Naiman is a sleep specialist and a true luminary. His work on yoga for sleep is a true eye opener and offers genuine relief for insomniacs.
I recommend The Yoga of Sleep: Sacred and Scientific Practices to Heal Sleeplessness [AMAZON].
Meditation for sleep #4: Guided Meditation for Sleep
Listening to music or listening to a guide meditation will help sleep.
A guided meditation is designed to take you on a relaxing, imaginary journey. For instance, walking by the sea or floating on a cloud.
Guided meditations can be done by either using a recording or by leading yourself through an imaginary scene.
Imagine that you are somewhere safe and relaxing. And visualize all the details of that relaxing scene. See the sights. Hear the sounds. Smell the aromas. Let your mind bask in this wonderful relaxing scene.
If you would like to use a recorded guided meditation, I highly recommend Jason Stephenson’s Guided Sleep Meditation [AMAZON]. Jason has a very relaxing voice and is a truly talented guide.
This is one of the easiest insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults.
Meditation For Sleep #5: Music
Listen to meditation music before bed to relax your mind and help yourself to drift off.
Relaxing music can help you get to sleep. Not only can you put some music on when your girlfriend (or boyfriend) is lying next to you snoring, but you can also use music to get into that Zen-sational chill-out zone that you want to be in before you hit the sack.
Alternatively you might like to use a relaxing app.
6: Alternative meditation for sleep: use mantras before bed.
Those 6 are how I cured my chronic insomnia naturally.
5. More Tips
1. Take note of your thoughts
One of the main reasons why thoughts continue to flow through your mind at night is because you want to remember them. The easiest way to solve this problem is to write the thoughts down. Grab a piece of paper and write them down or you an app like Evernote.
Do you find that the moment you leap into bed your mind is suddenly overrun with thoughts? If so a simple visualisation can help to clear your mind. Imagine that you are standing at the edge of a beautiful ocean with the sea breeze in your ear. Now, when thoughts come to your mind, imagine tossing them out of your mind and into the ocean, where they drift away.
3. Create the right nighttime environment for sleep
Our environment has a profound effect on our quality of sleep. Lights in the room, noises nearby, and even the smell of a room can effect our ability to get to sleep. By making sure the room is quiet, dark, and clean we help our minds to drift off at night
4. Make a deal with your thoughts
Those ideas and thoughts are going to keep swimming around your mind until you do something with them. One of the best things to do is to make a deal. Promise yourself that you will pick up the thoughts another time. Tell yourself, “I’m going to stop thinking now, but I’ll get back to it in the morning.” This trick works because it reassures your mind that the thoughts will be taken care of
5. Have an “intense thinking workout” before bed
When you exercise, your body gets tired and you’re less restless at the end of it. Same deal with your mind. If you spend an hour doing an “intense thinking workout” before bed, your mind will be tired and no longer restless. An Intense Thinking Workout (in which you intentionally force yourself to think about all the things that are in your mind) will help your mind to shut off.
Oh, but by the way, some meditations cause insomnia
Guys, there’s bad news too I’m afraid.
Some meditations cause insomnia.
There are some very specific reasons why I chose those specific meditation techniques for sleep (above).
So why are they the best meditation techniques for sleep. Simple: They relax the mind without bringing up anything unsuitable for bedtime.
Some meditations (Vipassana, for instance) can make you aware of problematic thoughts, and these meditations can cause insomnia.
Here’s what you need to know:
The best meditation techniques for sleep are ones that relax you without doing anything intense. Guided meditations, music etc. Not advanced technique like Kundalini of Chakra Dhyana.
And that’s how to do insomnia meditation techniques for sleep problems in adults
60 million people in America alone suffer from insomnia. So it is very likely that someone you know (or you yourself) has insomnia. Meditation will help.
Meditation is a safe, healthy, positive way to cure insomnia. And science proves it works.
While some meditation techniques cause insomnia, others can cure it. That’s why you should only do the above 5 meditation techniques for sleep.
And now you can get to sleep, ,why not have a lucid dream.
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Paul Martin Harrison
Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book Journey To The Buddha Within You.