Chasing a Good Night’s Sleep

How an age-old practice helps.

The world we inhabit today is full of flashing lights, nonstop notifications, and a general air of restlessness, a burning desire to know what is happening around us at all times. Though this hyper-connectivity is not necessarily a bad thing, it has nevertheless resulted in a palpable effect on the sleep patterns of millions of people. To that end, we have found a helpful guideline for what constitutes a good night’s sleep so that you can know whether your rest needs calibration or not.

The National Sleep Foundation recently released a template of indicators that describe what constitutes a good night’s sleep. Findings indicate that a good night’s sleep requires spending more time actually sleeping in bed, as opposed to scrolling through social media or watching TV while lying down. Healthy sleepers also fall asleep in 30 minutes or less. Interestingly enough, the study found that as many as 27% of us are unable to fall asleep within this 30 minute window. Lastly, a good night’s sleep means not waking up more than once per night, and should not be awake for more than 20 minutes after initially falling asleep.

Understanding these indicators is one thing, but what about putting them into practice? One way to achieve the fulfilling slumber you seek is through meditation. A recent study split up participants into two groups. One group completed a mindfulness meditation program, and the other sat through a lecture about how to improve sleep habits. At the end of six sessions, the meditation group was found to have less fatigue, insomnia, and depression when compared to the second.

Meditative practices can shift the body away from the stress response, which keeps us up at night worried about work, life, and everything. Instead, a relaxation response is evoked, allowing us to move away from fears of the past and future and focus on the present with clarity and peace of mind. If you allow yourself to calmly focus, let go of anxieties, and relax before going to bed, then a good, healthy night’s sleep will soon be on its way.

Originally published at on February 3, 2017.

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