How meditation increased my deep sleep!
One of the major problems in this 24/7 connected world is the ineffective and less sleep. A study done in the US found the number of adults visiting their doctors for sleep problems doubled from 2.5 million in 1993 to 5.7 million in 2007.
According to Fitbit data from Jan-Dec, 2016, countries like Japan, India, Singapore, HongKong were the worst affected (all of them with average sleep hours less than 6.61) whereas Australia, UK and New Zealand have the best sleep stats, with more than 7.15 hours.
Our sleep is distributed across different cycles. Each cycle continues for 90mins comprising 4 stages, viz. Awake, REM, Light and Deep. Its recommended and ideal to have 5 cycles every night, which means 7.5 hours of daily sleep.
Our brain is tuned to feel sleepy and get awake around fixed time. For ex., If you sleep regularly around 11pm, you will start feeling sleepy from 10:30PM(approx.) and if you usually wake up at 6AM, you should get up by 6 or 6:30AM without any alarm.
Now what happens if you don’t sleep regularly or wake up at irregular times! Your brain is tested again and again for different time cycles. Also, its good to wake up at the end of one of the cycles(preferably 4th or 5th cycle) as a cycle completed is much better than an incomplete cycle.
So 2 important things to consider -
- Consistency in sleeping and wake up times — related to the Ineffectiveness
- Number of cycles affecting the duration of sleep
I found out that my deep sleep was very bad(almost 20–30 mins last year) and I could also notice how stressed or anxious I felt the very next day. Even if I had 5 cycles but bad deep sleep, I felt little stressed or sleepy next day. Hence, my first goal was just to increase deep sleep after realising how it affected me the very next day.
My deep sleep was mostly affected whenever I thought of work or any other matter which was running(in the mind) throughout the day. Whenever I did meditation before sleeping, I felt relaxed and noticed a good improvement in deep sleep. Instead of 20–30mins, I could see deep sleep of at least 60mins!!
Surprisingly, the improvement starts immediately but what takes time is the habit of meditating every night/day. Its been almost 500 days since i have been meditating regularly and still miss out on few days.
Its true that developing the meditation habit is not so easy. It worked for me because I had a problem and wanted a non-medical solution. My cue was sleeping time and the reward was the amount of deep sleep! I used a wearable health-band to monitor my sleep and used to check it immediately after waking up which acted as a reward for me. Note that I didn’t have positive reward everyday but on most of the days.
Meditation is both a pain-killer and a vitamin! But you start taking Vitamin only if you ever have/had to take a pain-killer for some problem. So find one reason which meditation can help you with and just focus on resolving that problem first. By doing that, you not only get rid of the problem, but also develop the most required habit of recent “mindless” times!!
Mindless coz we are not living in the present moment but in an “artificial” world triggered by AI and other addictive tools.
I don’t know the science behind meditation but could easily find its implications by practicing. It has worked for me in several aspects, specifically anger management and deep sleep. So I can’t really explain why and how it does but sounds quite obvious that it just relaxes your mind and let you forget/delay the thoughts.
Now I use meditation for other problems like stress due to work, anxiety due to multiple thoughts or sometimes just to feel good what life has offered me (gratitude).
Help your friends and family members by motivating them to meditate and stay relaxed!