Sleep meditation uses evidence-based relaxation techniques to help clients sleep deeply, naturally, and address the underlying issue causing sleep disturbances. Through sleep meditation, clients learn to:
calm their body and mind, and wind down in the evening, so they can drift into a restful sleep
work with their thoughts to quiet and calm their mind, supporting an easy transition into sleep
resolve underlying stress or trauma responses, that may be inhibiting their ability to fall asleep or stay sleep throughout the night.
Understanding the Nervous System
We have two primary “modes” of our autonomic nervous system: “fight or flight” mode and “rest and digest” mode. Fight or flight is triggered in response to a real or imaged threat and prepares our bodies for action – to either fight or flee from the threat. The rest and digest mode helps produce a state of equilibrium, where the body can relax and repair itself. Ideally, fight or flight is a short-term state, that is activated in the presence of legitimate threats, and that once the threat has dissipated, we shift back into rest and digest. However, due to many different factors, including lifestyle, caffeine consumption, anxiety and/or trauma, a lot of people are in a chronic state of flight or flight, aka hyperarousal.
When the body is in a chronic or acute stress response, aka flight or flight mode, it will not let you get into a deep restorative sleep. This is because your body is responding like there is a threat to your safety (think tiger outside the camp), and as such, you need to be able to respond to the threat, i.e., wake up at the slightest movement or sound in the room.
A large number of sleep problems actually stem from the body and nervous system believing we are in a chronic threatening situation, because we are in a chronic state of stress (in the bodies language: stress = threat), and its just trying to keep us safe by only letting us access a light, broken sleep.
As such, a primary focus of sleep meditation is to “update” the nervous system to understand that the person is safe, and that the nervous system can shift from a stress-response to a relaxed state, and therefore ease into a deep, restful sleep.
A healthy, sustainable alternative to sleep medications.
While sleep medications can be a helpful short-term fix to help get people some sleep during acute times of stress or sleep-deprivation, they do not address the underlying issue that is causing the disrupted sleep, and therefore can only be a “band-aid” for the lack of sleep.
Sleep medications don’t deliver the same restorative benefits as natural sleep, as most sleep medications are sedatives – and sedation is not the same as sleep. So while they can deliver short-term relief from insomnia, they are not actually taking you into a restful and restorative sleep. Furthermore, most sleep medications have negative side affects
It is best to think of sleeping pills as training wheels: while they help you learn to ride a bike, at some point, you need to take them off. And the sooner you build the habit of riding without the training wheels the better.
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