By John Shackleton on April 9, 2018 in Blog
“Your life is a reflection of how you sleep, and how you sleep is a reflection of your life.” -Dr. Rafael Pelayo
Do you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep because you’ve got a thousand things on your mind? Some scientific studies suggest that up to 40% of people are complaining of having ‘sleep problems’. Most of these studies are investigating the relationship between poor sleep and stress or mental health issues. Unfortunately these studies are showing a viscous cycle: High stress levels can affect your sleep, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your stress levels.
If poor sleep is having an impact on your daily life, please understand that if you don’t do something about it it could get worse and lead to:
- Negative thoughts, feeling depressed or anxious
- Inability to rationalise worries or irrational thoughts
- Feelings of loneliness or isolation
- In extreme cases it can trigger psychosis or paranoia
My own sleep problems flared up about 5 or 6 years ago and were a reflection of the high stress levels I was experiencing at that time, eventually leading to a declining mental state. The worse I slept, the less I felt able to cope during the day and the less I was coping, the worse sleep I got. And then I began to worry about my lack of sleep which became even more self destructive!
I tried many things and some of them helped, but one technique created a turning point in my battle with sleep and that was meditation. People who have developed a meditation practice talk about the calming effect it has on their mind. Over time it seems to slow down our thinking processes and helps us to recover from the high levels of stress we are all suffering from.
In my toughest period I used to wake up at 2am most nights with my mind racing through all the things that went wrong yesterday and all the things I mustn’t forget to do tomorrow. It would often take two or three hours to get back to sleep, and when the alarm went in the morning I often felt more tired than I did when I went to bed!
I’ve been meditating every day consistently for about 4 years now and I can honestly say that my sleep problems have all but disappeared. Nowadays it’s only on rare occasions that I wake in the middle of the night with that busy mind, but I can quickly get back to sleep by using a simple meditation practice.
I’ve written an e-book including a number of these tips and ideas to help you get better sleep which you can download by clicking here.
I’m also running a 3 hour Resilience through Mindfulness course on May 8th near Auckland Airport and will be teaching some simple meditation techniques that will help with your sleep problems. You can get full course details and book a ticket by clicking here.