In all things human

Did you know that an estimated 10% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia, which can greatly impact the quality life?  Benefits of a good night’s rest include having a better mood, better health, eating less compulsively, and (yay!) an improved sex life. While medical practitioners may prefer to prescribe pills to address the problem (after all, pills usually work), patients often prefer behavioural options that keep the pharmaceuticals and side effects out of the picture.

Good news: meditation can help.

Research confirms that Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) can support sleepless souls to reduce their anxiety, decrease rumination, and improve their rest. And even better news: there are a ton of great apps on the market that can guide you to do a mindfulness practice before bed.

Here are a few apps you may want to check out to get you started:

  • 10% happier (I love this app. Use this link to get one month free of their premium version.) Practical, down to earth, accessible, no mumbo jumbo stuff. Lots of really great teachers to choose from, even with the free version.
  • Insight Timer. I’ve been using this since it came out to set up customized meditation and yin practice. You can design your own timings using a variety of pleasing bell tones. And now it has lots of guided meditations to choose from. And it’s FREE!
  • Calm.  I’ll be honest. The narrator’s voice drove me nuts to begin with, but people have told me how much they love it. Lots of free resources, including a 7 and 21 day guide.

One of the biggest mistakes that we make is thinking that we “don’t have time.” I get it, I’ve been there. But think about your day. What is five minutes? Your mind may resist you sitting (have to answer that email!), but I promise you that your brain and nervous system will thank you heartily.

I have a bunch of 5-minute meditations on my site as companion materials to Yogi’s Guide to Dating, but you can absolutely practice them on their own. Try one now. Go ahead. It’s just five minutes. And you’re worth it.

References

Chiesa, A., Calati, R., & Serretti, A. (2011). Does mindfulness training improve cognitive abilities? A systematic review of neuropsychological findings. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(3), 449–464. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.11.003

Garland, S. N., Campbell, T., Samuels, C., & Carlson, L. E. (2013). Dispositional mindfulness, insomnia, sleep quality and dysfunctional sleep beliefs in post-treatment cancer patients. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(3), 306–311. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.03.003

Gross, C. R., Kreitzer, M. J., Reilly-Spong, M., Wall, M., Winbush, N. Y., Patterson, R., et al. (2011). Mindfulness-Base Stress Reduction Versus Pharmacotherapy for Chronic Primary Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. Jsch, 7(2), 76–87. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2010.12.003

Larouche, M., Côté, G., Bélisle, D., & Lorrain, D. (2014). Kind attention and non-judgment in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy applied to the treatment of insomnia: State of knowledge. Pathologie Biologie, 62(5), 284–291. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.patbio.2014.07.002

Larouche, M., Lorrain, D., Côté, G., & Bélisle, D. (2015). Evaluation of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to treat chronic insomnia. Revue Europeenne De Psychologie Appliquee, 65(3), 115–123. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.erap.2015.03.002

Ong, J. C., Shapiro, S. L., & Manber, R. (2009). Mindfulness Meditation and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. A Naturalistic 12-Month Follow-up. Jsch, 5(1), 30–36. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2008.10.004

Ong, J. C., Ulmer, C. S., & Manber, R. (2012). Improving sleep with mindfulness and acceptance: A metacognitive model of insomnia. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 50(11), 651–660. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2012.08.001

Zhang, J.-X., Liu, X.-H., Xie, X.-H., Zhao, D., Shan, M.-S., Zhang, X.-L., et al. (2015). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Chronic Insomnia in Adults Older than 75 Years_ A Randomized, Controlled, Single-Blind Clinical Trial. Jsch, 11(3), 180–185. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2015.02.005

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Comments
  • Marloes van der Kamp

    Yes, meditation works great for a better sleep. For me, also the nadi shodana breathing works really nicely.

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