You’ve tried it all — a glass of warm milk, a cup of chamomile tea, no caffeine after lunch or dinner, deliberately relaxing before sleep, earmuffs and an eye mask – but nothing has worked. Every time your head hits the pillow it’s a struggle. Sleep doesn’t come easily. You toss and turn for eternity before the ZZZs finally catch up and lull you into uneasy sleep.
Isn’t it so frustrating?
Lack of sleep is not good, most especially for older adults who are more in need of restful, rejuvenating sleep. It harbours stress, and stress can have detrimental effects on health.
But before you decide that popping a sleeping pill into your mouth is the solution, there’s one more sleeping aid you should try. It’s free. It’s natural. It’s effective.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the strongest tools in inducing the body’s relaxation response. It quiets the mind and melts away stress. If you make it a part of your schedule and practice it right before going to sleep, it may help greatly.
Mindfulness meditation is a straightforward technique. Even if you haven’t dabbled in meditation before, you’ll be able to achieve success with this technique.
Here’s how mindfulness meditation can help you sleep:
Mindfulness meditation requires being “mindful” about a chosen activity. So, the first step is to choose the activity you want to make use of. Here’s a list of simple activities that you can centre your focus on during meditation:
The simple drawing in and out of your breath is powerful. If you choose it as your point of focus, simply close your eyes while lying down, and then inhale and exhale as you normally would. Pay attention to it and your body’s response. Focus on the rising and falling of your chest and stomach. Push distracting thoughts outside of your head.
Are you religious? If you are, you surely know a memorised prayer or two. Choose a quick one and recite it aloud or silently. But this time, pay attention to every word. Say it slowly and use it as an anchor to keep thoughts out of your mind. If ever you get distracted, just bring your focus back to the verses of the prayer. If you reach “Amen” before you doze off, repeat the prayer again.
Word or Simple Sentence Repetition
Choose an uplifting word such as “happiness”, “love”, and “peace” or phrase like “I am happy”, “I am loved”, and “I am at peace”. Repeat the word or words unhurriedly and pour your attention into it. Be mindful of every syllable and feel the positive effect of these powerful words.