To commemorate World Sleep Day, Catchnews speaks with Kamlesh D Patel, the Global Guide of Heartfulness Meditation who explains in detail the vital connection between meditation and a good quality sleep. Meditation has been shown to improve the quality of sleep and also positively impact different medical conditions and thus improving the overall quality of life. "If you want to develop yourself, adjust your sleep patterns, otherwise you will struggle with this fundamental thing all your life. You will wake up restless and frustrated and as a result, you will become heavier which also will reflect in the way you handle the worldly matters," says Patel.
What are the benefits of a good quality sleep in our life?
Sleep is essential to help maintain mood, memory, and cognitive performance. In healthy individuals, white blood cell count increases during deep sleep indicating the body’s readiness to combat infection.
What are the common causes of sleep deprivation?
Anxiety, stress, depression, noise and light pollution, and lifestyle habits, like sticking to the television, Internet and video games late at night, are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Other common emotional and psychological causes include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma.
How does poor-quality sleep reflect on a person's life?
Studies show poor quality sleep leads to obesity, cognitive impairment and emotional disturbances among children. In adults, sleep disturbances lead to a wide range of health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, early aging, alcoholism and other substance abuse. Daytime alertness and memory are often impaired by loss of sleep, especially when it is sustained over a few nights.
How does meditation help in improving sleep quality?
The heart is not simply a cardiological pump but a vibrational organ as well, and its intrinsic nature is goodness and peace. To allow the heart’s innate goodness and peace to manifest is not complicated or difficult, provided we practice meditation for the heart that has a deep, lasting effect and can positively transform our lives. Heartfulness Meditation focuses on the heart as the center of our emotional and spiritual well-being. Generally, following meditational practices helps the practitioner in:
a. Enhancing melatonin which reduces the risk of breast cancer
b. Alleviating anxiety and depression by reducing those brainwaves associated with alert and stress-related states, i.e. Beta waves.
c. Positive effects of ailments that affect sleep by helping in integrating the brain functions, regulate the various physiological mechanisms resulting in a state of mental, emotional and physical well-being.
Advantages of meditation over other types of treatments for a sleep disorder?
Pharmacological treatments are sometimes associated with adverse side effects. An ongoing research at the WellSpan York Hospital, USA, to assess the impact of Heartfulness Meditation on insomnia, has shown promising results. Twenty-eight participants diagnosed with chronic insomnia completed an eight-week study involving the practice of Heartfulness Meditation as an intervention to help insomnia. The pre- and post-Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores were measured. The mean ISI scores reduced from 20.6 to 10.8, almost by half and the result was statistically significant (p<0.001). Interestingly, some of the patients have been able to get over their pharmacological treatments as a result of the practice.