1. Improving your mental state can improve your sleep, and vice versa.
2. Meditation is one tool you can use to improve both your mental health and your sleep.
3. Meditation has been shown to improve sleep not only in individuals with sleep disturbances, but also in people with cognitive decline such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Sleeping better is a profound challenge in today’s always connected world. Earlier I described how defending your last hour can help set the stage for sleeping soundly and recovering and regenerating better. Meditation is proving to be another powerful tool for improving our mental health and helping us sleep better. The body of research on meditation is small, but there is growing interest in the benefits of meditation, and so I'm sure the science will expand.
Early findings show that practising cyclic meditation improves subsequent sleep. Cyclic meditation involves alternating yoga postures and supine resting. Those participants who practised this technique experienced more slow-wave sleep and fewer awakenings than on nights when they did not practise. They also reported feeling better and more refreshed in the morning. Other researchers suggest that the improvements observed after meditation are a result of better “global regulation in behavioural states,” which includes better immune-system function, better regulation of hormones, and more activation of the autonomic nervous system (the nervous system that promotes recovery and regeneration).
Mindfulness meditation has also been studied and appears to be effective for adults who have previously experienced sleep disturbances. It was reported to be more effective than simply providing the participants with sleep hygiene education. Meditation not only works to improve sleep in people with minor sleep disturbances, but also appears to be very effective for people with cognitive decline like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Research findings show that practising a simple meditation program for 6 months improves sleep, quality of life, mood, well-being, and stress in patients with cognitive decline.
Ultimately, this research shows that if you are interested in sleeping soundly and improving your mental and physical health, meditation is a powerful tool for you to explore.
Today's New Habit: Micro-Breaks
THE KEY TO MANAGING CHRONIC STRESS IS TO BREAK IT UP AND TO TAKE BREAKS.
SO THIS WEEK SEE IF YOU CAN ADD A FEW MICRO—BREAKS INTO YOUR ROUTINE. THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE LONG. IF YOU HAVE 5 MINUTES IN BETWEEN MEETINGS, GO FOR A WALK, DRINK SOME WATER, MEDITATE, OR TALK TO A FRIEND.