Showing posts with label insomnia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label insomnia. Show all posts

Meditation Benefits Before Going to Bed.

The world seems to be speeding up everyday. We are working longer hours, We are busier than we have ever been before, the traffic is snarling more and more and our stress levels are going through the roof. The consequence to this is that more and more people are suffering insomnia and this can become dangerous and affect your ability to function effectively. One of the best tools to help you with both insomnia and stress is meditation and in particular, meditating before going to bed.

The role of meditation before sleep is to slow your body and your mind down so that it gets to a point where it is easier for it to fall naturally asleep.

There are many techniques that you can use to meditate including a seated meditation or a lying down meditation. It is advisable to do the sitting method over the lying method because using the lying method so close to going to sleep you may tend to go to sleep rather than actually meditating. There is a clear difference between sleep and meditation.

The core difference is that during meditation your mind needs to be clear but focused where as during sleep, you do not want to be focused. You want nothing to be focused in your mind and you want your body and mind to get to that point where you shutdown.

Things to take care before meditating
  1. Your meditation session should take no more than 20 minutes
  2. Your meditation session should start 40 minutes prior to going to bed
  3. Your meditation technique during the session should use either the deep breathing technique or basic number counting.
  4. Do not drink alcohol, coffee, tea or any other caffeinated drink prior to sleep or you will affect the effectiveness of the meditation session.
Why you should Meditate?
Meditation is very important for you if you are facing any of these in your day to day life:
  1. If you feel impatient all the time and snap easily at your partners or kids for any reason.
  2. You feel there is lot going in your life and you are not getting time for yourself
  3. You feel stressed, tired and worn out everyday in day to day pressures at work or home
  4. You feel dull and feel life is not worth living
  5. You cant focus on anything
  6. You have a baby, you have home chores, you have so much to do and you feel irritated
  7. You don't get sound sleep at night and when you wake up next morning you feel lethargic and not fresh.
These all problems are more than enough for you to Meditate. 

Meditation helps you to channelize your energy and bring peace to your mind, body and soul. The major benefits are as follows:

Greater peace of mind
Meditation gives us the opportunity to de-clutter and do some housekeeping of the mind. It’s not a time to organize thoughts, but rather to let your thoughts be. To put them aside and be present with yourself. As a result you’ll find a greater ease in living your daily life and finding peace of mind.

Greater self-awareness
Meditation helps us to reconnect with the present and experience our lives with self-awareness. We are then able to turn off the autopilot and respond to life as we truly want to – on our own terms and not based on the expectations of others or learned reactions and patterns.

Improved relationships
The self-awareness that meditation cultivates also helps us to see others more clearly, and with that clarity comes the opportunity to connect more deeply with others and build stronger relationships.

Respond to challenges with grace
Meditation helps us to relieve stress and see the present moment more clearly. As a result, we can better respond to challenges in a productive manner rather than react on autopilot and do or say things that we later regret

Increased energy
Meditation helps to calm your mind, but in doing so it also rejuvenates the body. Your mind and body are connected and will energize or drain the other depending on how you treat them.

Improved sleep
Meditation at any time of the day will help to calm your busy mind and improve your sleep. However, meditation in the evening has the added benefit of giving your body a break before bed. The rejuvenated, restful feeling you feel in your body after meditation, combined with a calm mind, is one of the keys to achieving your most restful sleep ever.

Improved focus
Meditation is an ideal solution. De-cluttering your mind, reducing stress and helping you to become self-aware are all ways in which meditation helps you to live in the moment and regain greater focus.

Improved physical health
Using meditation, we can better deal with and reduce the amount of stress in our lives. And, as a result, we can improve our health. The health benefits of meditation are difficult to quantify, but the personal experience of those who meditate regularly shows that there is a direct connection between meditation and improved health. 

Still Skeptical? Take the 30 day meditation challenge and see for yourself.
Some simple tips on how to start Meditating.
  1. postureWhether you sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor, make sure that your spine is upright with head up. If you are slumped your mind will drift. Mind and body are intertwined. If your body is well-balanced, your mind will also be in balance. To straighten up, imagine that your head is touching the sky.
  2. eyesTry and keep you eyes open. Open eyes allow you to be more present. Just lower your eyes and let your gaze be soft. If you close your eyes you will be more likely to drift away on thoughts and stories. However, it’s important to do what is comfortable for you. Some people find closing their eyes much more effective. It’s good to experiment and see what feels best for you.
  3. focusIn ordinary consciousness we are hardly ever present. For example, sometimes we drive the car on autopilot while being preoccupied with thoughts. Suddenly we arrive at our destination and don’t remember anything about the drive!

    So, meditation is a wonderful way of waking up to our life. Otherwise we miss most of our experiences because we are somewhere else in our mind! Let’s take a look at what focus is. In ordinary life, we tend to equate focus with concentration. That’s like using the mind like a concentrated beam of light. But in meditation, that kind of mind isn't helpful. It’s too sharp and edgy.

    To focus in meditation means to pay soft attention to whatever you place in the center of awareness. I suggest using the breath as a focus. It’s like a natural door that connects ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. Attention comes from nowhere. It has no cause. It belongs to no one
  4. the breathPaying attention to the breath is a great way to anchor yourself in the present moment. Notice your breath streaming in and out. There’s no need to regulate the breath – just let it be natural.
  5. counting you breathIf you are having difficulties settling, you can try counting the breath – which is an ancient meditation practice. On your out breath, silently count “one”, then “two”, and up to “four”. Then return to “one”. Whenever you notice your thoughts have strayed far away or you find yourself counting “thirtythree”, simply return to “one”. In this way, “one” is like coming home to the present moment. It’s good to return without a backward glance.
  6. thoughtsWhen you notice thoughts, gently let them go by returning your focus to the breath. Don’t try and stop thoughts; this will just make you feel agitated. Imagine that they are unwelcome visitors at your door: acknowledge their presence and politely ask them to leave. Then shine the soft light of your attention on your breath.
  7. emotionsIt’s difficult to settle into meditation if you are struggling with strong emotions. This is because some emotions tend to breed stories in the mind. Especially anger, shame and fear create stories that repeat over and over in the mind.

    The way to deal with strong emotions in meditation is to focus on the body feelings that accompany the emotion. For example, this could be the tight band of fear around the chest or the hot roiling of anger in the belly. Let go of the stories and refocus on your body. In this way you are honouring your emotions but not becoming entangled in stories.
  8. silenceSilence is healing. I know that there are is a lot of ‘meditation music’ around, but nothing beats simple silence. Otherwise the music or sounds on the tape just drown out the chatter in your mind. When we sit in silence we actually get to experience what our mind is doing. There is steadiness and calmness that comes from sitting in silence. In time outer and inner silence meet and you come to rest in the moment.
  9. lengthStart with 10 minutes and only sit longer if you feel that that is too short. Don’t force yourself to meditate longer if you are not ready to do that. In time you might like to extend your meditation to 25 minutes. That’s a length that allows you to settle your mind without causing too much stress on your body. Some people enjoy sitting for an hour at a time. Others find that they can’t sit longer than 10 minutes. Do what feels right for you!
  10. placeIt’s lovely to create a special place to sit. You might like to place a candle on your altar and objects that have meaning to you. It’s lovely to find objects for your altar as you walk. Maybe you find stones, or seashells, or flowers that speak to you.
  11. enjoymentMost of all it’s important to enjoy meditation. You might like to try sitting with a hint of a smile. Be kind to yourself. Start sitting just a little each day. It’s helpful to establish a daily habit.

Home Remedies for Sleep Disorder

Next time you are not able to fall asleep, don't just pop up that sleeping pill! They are harmful if taken frequently- you know that! Just follow some natural ways to cure your sleeplessness. Here are some home remedies for giving you restful good night's sleep!
  • Don't go by the general theory of ' daily eight hours sleep'. Ayurveda advocates quality of sleep. The quantity of sleep is decided by individual body. It may range from anywhere between 5-8 and even 9 hours. Find for yourself, how much sleep you need to feel afresh!
  • Set your body clock by following nature's pattern. Rise when sun rises, even sometime before that, and go to bed no later than 10 pm. Don't let the routine disturbed on weekends too!
  • Exercise keeps us fit but do it in the morning. Exercising late in the day or in evenings raises our energy levels and makes us too active to go to sleep. If you can't find time in the morning, make sure you exercise at least 4 hours before your bedtime.
  • Avoid rich diets for dinner. Ayurvedic diets favor lighter meals at night which is taken at least 3 hours before going to bed.
  • Have a glass of warm milk before going to sleep. Add some nutmeg to milk for Vata body type, cardamom for Pitta body type and dried ginger for Kapha body type. Know your Ayurveda body type before using any of the spice with milk. Taking wrong one can even hamper your sleep.
  • Get your lower limbs massaged with some non-staining oil like sweet almond or jojoba oil. For more relaxed sleep, mix few drops of lavender oil. Massage your lower legs, from knees to toes, and your lower arms, from elbows to fingertips, with easy up-and-down strokes with small quantity of this mixed oil.
  • Make your bedroom relaxing with clutter free and quiet atmosphere. Wear comfortable clothes. Do not watch TV or read anything just before going to sleep. You may listen to soft relaxing music.
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeine beverages, especially before going to sleep. Nicotine also leads to sleep deprivation, so quit smoking.
  • Avoid sleeping during the day. If you can't, make it as short as possible. Twenty minutes daytime nap is rejuvenating enough to recharge you for the rest of the day.
  • Do meditation for helping you deal with day-to-day stresses and worries. Stress is the worst enemy of sleep.
  • Poppy seeds, jatamansi, Indian Valerian and the essential oils of rose, lavender and sandalwood are relaxing and calming. They are helpful in getting restful sleep. Use them in ways you can.
  • At bedtime, rinse your eyes with rosewater, add a drop of ghee (clarified butter). Shut your eyes and go to sleep.
  • Combing hair before retiring is also a good practice for good night's sleep.
  • If married, make love to your partner. Its relaxing and helps you in getting a good quality sleep.

Natural Remedies to Help you get a Good Sleep

Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but insomnia can keep them from getting the sleep they need.Insomnia deprives the person with mental rest and interferes with the daily activities.

Insomnia can have a significant impact on your health.
People with insomnia are

Four times more likely to be diagnosed with depression.
More likely to have a serious illness, including heart disease.
More likely to have an accident on the job, at home, or on the road.
More likely to miss work and accomplish less on the job than well-rested coworkers.

Causes of Insomnia
The various causes of insomnia are:
Mental tension
Any serious or chronic disease
Excessive intake of tea and coffee

Insomnia is also one of the least-understood sleep disorders. However, sleep experts have come up with many tried-and-true ways to relieve insomnia.Some of the home remedies that really works are:

Various yogaasanas that are effective in the treatment of insomnia are shirasana, sarvangasana, paschimottanasana, uttanasan, viparitakarni and shavasana.

Controlled breathing is also effective in inducing sleep.

Extract about 30 grams of the milk from the poppy seeds (Papaver somniferum) and mix this milk with an adequate amount of sugar. Take this once in a day especially after dinner, when preparing to sleep. This remedy is one of the effective home remedies for insomnia.

Take four nutmegs and grind it to a fine powder and take this powder every night before going to sleep.

Regular, active exercises during the day and mild exercise at bedtime enhances the quantity and quality of sleep as the exercise stimulates the elimination of lactic acid from the body. Walking, jogging, skipping and swimming are the good exercises.

Stick to a regular sleeping schedule like going to bed at a fixed time every night and getting up at a fixed time in the morning.

Applications of hot packs, hot fomentations to the spine, and hot footbath before going to bed are the effective measures.

Take some root of the pippali (Piper longum) plant and grind to fine powder. Take one teaspoonful of this powder every night by adding some jaggery. Take this powder with a glassful of warm milk.

A cup of milk with honey at bedtime is helpful in inducing sleep.

Mash a single ripe banana into a bowl and then put the roasted cumin seeds into it. mix both properly. Take this after dinner. It will induce good sleep and is very good home remedy for insomnia.

Milk or buttermilk - Any of the two can be taken with a pinch of cinnamon and honey for quality sleep.

Valerian wallichi has mild relaxant properties and is useful in sleep disorders. The fresh juice of the valerian should be taken in a teaspoonful quantity before going to sleep. This is also very effective home remedy for insomnia.

Aromatherapy and Calming Bath Herbs: Take a warm bath using essential oils, such as blends with Sandalwood, Ylang ylang, lavender, Rose, Jasmine, German and Roman chamomile.

Sleep Tinctures: Try a sleep remedy with Lemon Balm. This herb acts as a sedative which also has the effects of elevating moods acting as an antidepressant. It is also very relaxing when dealing with burn out, or when in stressful conditions. Lemon Balm helps with many other health conditions and also has antiviral properties.

Calming Herbal Teas: Herbal teas are beneficial for many different conditions and there are several excellent herbs that promote relaxation and can help you sleep at night. Try drinking herbal teas throughout the day, and in the evening. Choose from:
German Chamomile, Valerian, Passion Flower, Catnip, Cowslip, Lemon Balm.

Inositol is one of the B vitamins that is helpful in inducing sleep along with pantothenic acid. You can try them separately or even together.

You can have someone massage the soles of your feet prior to bed with mustard oil! A foot reflexology treatment can be quite relaxing and the mustard oil will help.

Few important facts:
Don't waste your time in bed. As you grow older, your body needs less sleep. Most newborn babies sleep up to 18 hours a day. By the time they're 10 years old, that usually drops to 9 or 10 hours.

Experts agree that there is no "normal" amount of sleep for an adult. The average is from 7 to 8 hours, but some people operate well on as few as 5 hours, others need up to 10 hours. The key is to become what experts call an efficient sleeper.

Go to bed only when you're sleepy. If you can't fall asleep in 15 minutes or so, get up and do something pleasantly monotonous. Read a magazine article, not a book that may engross you. Knit, watch television, or balance the checkbook.

Don't play computer games that can excite you or perform goal-oriented tasks such as the laundry or housework.When you feel drowsy, go back to bed. If you can't fall asleep, repeat the procedure until you can. But remember: Always wake up at the same time in the morning.

An hour or two before going to bed, sit down for at least 10 minutes or so. Reflect on the day's activities and try to put them into some perspective. Review your stresses and strains, as well as your problems. Try to work out solutions. Plan tomorrow's activities.

This exercise will help clear your mind of the annoyances and problems that might keep you awake once you pull up the covers. With all that out of the way, you'll be able to program your mind with pleasant thoughts and images as you try to drift off to sleep.

"If there's something else to do, you won't be able to concentrate on sleep."
Don't watch TV, talk on the phone, argue with your spouse, read, eat, or perform mundane tasks in bed. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.

Eat a light snack before bedtime.