Insomnia, Meet Meditation
Last updated: August 2022
Insomnia has forced me to look for new tactics to find sleep over the last few years. I have tried both staying up later and going to bed earlier. Melatonin made its way into the rotation. Benadryl is no stranger to the bedtime line-up. It occurred to me that I might need to nap in the evening, and then it dawned on me that napping might be a detriment. I cut out eating and drinking after 7 PM even though my stomach growled audibly. Short of taking prescription medications for sleep, I have run the gamut. Thinking I had just about hit a ceiling, I decided to try something I had never considered: meditation.
Do I have the patience for it?
The word meditation has become more and more of a buzzword in recent years. You can’t log into social media without seeing an ad for apps offering meditation sessions of one sort or another.
Previously, when I thought about meditation, I pictured myself doing yoga, sitting quietly, and blocking out everything else. I am a patient person when it comes to most things, but I was unsure I had the time or the patience to let meditation have time to work its magic on me and my sleep issues.
Diving in: beginning meditation
What did I really have to lose? Meditation certainly wouldn’t hurt me, would it? I downloaded an app, signed up for a free trial, and began browsing.
Being new to the idea of meditating or even taking time for myself for that matter, it didn’t take long to decide I needed to start at square one. I began with the introductory sessions on breathing and clearing my mind.
Honestly, it was much more difficult than I anticipated. When your mind is racing a mile a minute all day, it’s a real chore to transform it into an almost blank slate. Sleep…that’s all I wanted, and if meditation was the path I needed to take, so be it.
Surprises… pleasant ones, at that
I decided to try my first short introductory session in the morning. Wanting to familiarize myself with the process, I felt I needed to be as alert and prepared as possible. It sounds funny to say that considering the fact that I rarely sleep, but I do find myself with extra time when I wake early.
I plunged into the first session with a lot of hope. Surprised at how much concentration it required, I worked through learning how to focus on my breathing and the sounds or lack thereof in the room around me. I was amazed at how quickly the sense of calm surrounded me. Meditation is something I should have added to my repertoire a long, long time ago.
Progress, sweet progress
I dedicated several days to committing the process to memory before switching to nights. Finding a comfortable position on my back was the first step.
Feeling familiar enough with the steps I had learned, I began to focus on the sound of my noisemaker and only allowed myself to think about that sound, forcing any other thoughts out of my mind. As I was taught, I let any intrusive thoughts float by and dissipate like so many passing clouds. The first night, it took a little while to feel the peace set in, but I definitely noticed a difference.
I am not a master at meditating yet, but when I consider I am adding 2 to 3 hours of rest to my nights, I have to count it as a huge plus. Will I continue to meditate? Absolutely. Will it always help? I have no way of knowing. I might be an insomniac, but I am no quitter.
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