Roughly ⅓ of Canadians suffer from poor sleep. They either have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least some of the time.
The problem is that poor sleep—sleep that is not long enough and sleep that is poor quality—is linked to many health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, depression, reduced well-being, and all-cause mortality.
Did you know that improving your sleep can be as beneficial for your happiness levels as winning the lottery? Research has proven it.
When it comes to how much people should be sleeping every night, it is recommended that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night.
Seniors who are 65 and older should get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep.
Needless to say, quality sleep is important for both your physical and mental health, as well as overall well being.
Below you will find how you can improve your sleep through meditation and other habits.
How to Improve Sleep
There are many different types of meditation, all of which offer their own benefits, but it is mindfulness meditation, in particular, that has been proven to improve sleep quality.
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on your breathing and then directing your attention to the present moment—your feelings and experiences in the moment—without thinking about the future or past.
If you notice your attention is wandering, it is perfectly acceptable. This is natural. All you need to do is acknowledge that your thoughts have drifted and then direct your attention back to your breathing.
The reason why mindful meditation is effective is because it evokes the relaxation response in your body; essentially, it puts the body in a state of relaxation instead of stress. This is important because many sleep disorders are tied to stress.
It is recommended that you practice for 20 minutes during the day and then again before falling asleep. The reason why it is recommended to practice during the day is so that you effectively train your body to trigger the relaxation response in your body faster.
However, you should practice while sitting up in a chair during the day so you don’t fall asleep.
There are many guided meditation apps available that will actually guide you through the process (of course, ensure that you are limiting your exposure to short-wave blue light at night as this affects both the length and quality of sleep).
Not only has mindfulness meditation been proven to improve sleep quality, but it has also been shown to alleviate depression, anxiety, and pain.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
The Canadian Sleep Society recommends several different practices for maintaining sleep hygiene, all of which can be beneficial for sleep. This is what sleep hygeine looks like from morning to night:
- Wake up at the same time every morning/go to bed at the same time, even on the weekends. This one is important and it’s often overlooked!
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid napping late in the afternoon or evening
- Avoid eating heavy foods before bedtime. Also avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine (such as soaking in the bathtub)
- Have a good sleeping environment (limit noise, light, and so on)
- Ensure that your bedroom is only used for sleep and intimacy. Even watching television should be avoided
Consider Medical Marijuana
Research has also shown that medical marijuana is an effective sleep aid and by a significant margin. This was found in studies dating back to the 70s. It is specifically the level of THC that makes it an effective sleep aid.
THC is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, but when cannabis is derived from a specific type of cannabis plant (the indica plant), users report feeling sedated and their muscles also relax. In turn, people can sleep better as a result of being more relaxed. You can read more about it here.
Sleep is important and it should be prioritized. You likely noticed a theme throughout this article: stress reduction and taking time to relax can promote better sleep. Whether you practice meditation before bed or you soak in a warm bath, relaxation is key to quality sleep.
Practicing good sleep hygiene, like waking up and going to bed at the same time every day is also important. Medical marijuana has also been shown to be beneficial for sleep.
If you are interested in using medical marijuana to improve your sleep or to aid in a sleep related condition, consider Apollo Cannabis Clinic. Apollo Cannabis Clinic is Toronto’s premier medical marijuana clinic that has been successfully treating thousands of patients who have trouble sleeping, those with sleep disorders, anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD, and many other conditions.