Do you have trouble sleeping? Can’t sleep as much as you’d like and don’t know what to do? Maybe you have heard of a cool trick to sleep fast: meditation. Meditation is proven to help manage stress, reduce negative thoughts and emotions, and helps you get fresh perspectives on problems.
But you may have tried meditating for a little while before going to sleep, and instead of composing yourself, your nerves have taken over even more. Or maybe sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn’t. Why is this happening?
The psychologist Jason Ong, a specialist in treating problems related to sleep, has explained how and when to meditate to sleep better and faster during an interview on the podcast Think Act Be (Think, Act, Be).
“In other areas of our life we have learned that we must work hard to solve problems,” explains Ong. “But sleeping is something that the more you try, the worse you get.”
It sure has happened to you. You lie on the bed and think “I have to fall asleep now to rest seven hours or tomorrow I will not give up.” Chas, that’s what the mind needed to get nervous trying to listen to you. And it takes you three hours to travel to the world of dreams.
Those nerves you’ve felt have names: performance anxiety. Appears when you are in “I have to do a task” mode. So it will also appear if you take sleep meditation as a chore.
This psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders explains that the trick is to change the intention of meditation. Ong compares it to any activity you do before going to sleep. You don’t read a book to sleep better, or you don’t watch a movie to fall asleep faster. Tiredness just comes.
With meditating it has to be the same. If you meditate, it must be because you want to, or because you want to experience the feeling of mindfulness.
“We have been taught that we want things and that those things happen. Mindfulness practice, mindfulness, is different. It is almost the opposite of that. It challenges you not to seek short-term reward, instant enjoyment ”.
Ong then recommends that cross off your task “meditate to sleep” and replace it with “meditate to be present.”
Is there an effective way to meditate? The psychologist recommends a simple sitting meditation if you are just starting with this. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Each time the mind wanders, realize that it has happened, downplay it, and return to the breath.
If you find it difficult to do it on your own (it is usual to start), you can resort to guided meditations like this:
It is important that your goal is not to “achieve nirvana.” Your goal has to be “to realize that my mind wanders.” Otherwise, that performance anxiety will return.
And when? Well, at any time except before you go to sleep. The less time there is between meditating and bedtime, the more you will associate the two activities as cause and effect (“I meditate because I want to sleep”) and the more it will cost you both.
“After you know how to do it during the day, you can try it at night.”
If meditating doesn’t help you sleep better or faster, it’s not the end of the world. Ong remembers that there are many solutions and that one or the other works for each person. Try, for example, to do a quiet activity before going to sleep, preferably without using screens. Or just lie in bed when you’re really sleepy, to avoid those nerves. And if you love coffee you may not like it, but stopping drinking coffee 6-8 hours before bed can help a lot. There are ways to stay productive without the need for coffee.
Source: Bussiner Insider