For those of us who have tried meditation, we understand how beneficial it is to our overall health, and particularly for our mental health. For those who suffer from sleep problems, the mindfulness approach is something found to be largely helpful. As sleep roughly amounts to a third of our entire lifespan, give or take a little. In theory, should we perfect the meditation art of mindfulness and rectify our sleep problems, we will have changed our sleeping life – one third of our lives! This is an enormous and hugely important portion of our lives, so taking the time to address sleep correctly will benefit your quality of life immensely.
A clinical trial was developed for older Americans who were experiencing sleep problems. During the trial, the participants were divided into two groups. One group were asked to change any habits that might interrupt their sleep patterns. For example, they stopped drinking coffee well before bedtime, stopped drinking alcohol before sleeping, maintained good sleep hygiene, and developed routines that saw them in bed at a similar time each night.
The other group participated in a six-week mindfulness retreat where they learned the skills of mindfulness meditation from a trained instructor. They were informed of its purpose – the awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they arise in our minds and having no judgment about them. Just acknowledging that they are thoughts, they just exist there, and that there will continuously be a stream of thoughts doing so at all times.
When the study was finished and the results were deciphered, the test concluded that the best results came from the group doing the mindfulness meditations. Those who fully learn the art of mindfulness experience decreased levels of insomnia, depression, and sleep interruption. According to the research leader Dr. David S. Black, the meditations likely reduced action in the brain’s nervous and arousal systems. The wonderful part of this is that there are no side effects, unlike many sleep-inducing drugs you find at pharmacies. In other words, it is the safest practice for helping sleep problems. There are no withdrawals and no unsafe chemical byproducts. It is a purely natural remedy for effective and long-lasting positive sleep patterns.