Why meditation shouldn’t be used for sleep

I often have people falling asleep in my meditations. I once had to stop a session with a bunch of firefighters as one guy had started snoring so loudly that the others couldn’t hear me speaking any more.

Although I am grateful that I may be giving others some much needed rest and the Dalai Lama did say that ‘sleep is the best form of meditation’, I’m a little worried that people are now turning to meditation as almost a drug to help them drift-off when what they really should be doing is asking themselves some important questions instead, like ‘Why am I so tired?’ and/or ‘Why can’t I fall asleep naturally?’

My guess answer to the first question is little easier to confront than the second.

Why am I so tired?

You’re so tired because you’re pushing yourself too hard. I’m all for working hard but if taking 15 minutes to meditate puts you to sleep, your body/mind is telling you something quite clearly, ‘Hey I need more rest.’

I know we’ve all got responsibilities, bills to pay, kids that need looking after etc, but if you’re constantly saying to yourself, ‘Gee I’m tired’, then you need to try and think of what changes you can make so you are getting enough sleep.

Here’s a couple of tips that may be worth considering;

  • Try taking power naps here and there. It’s amazing what a 30 minute power nap can do to the system.
  • Is it time for a raise or can you cut down on your spending? I’m assuming that a main reason as to why you’re not getting enough sleep is because you have to work more to pay for everything. So if you can either get paid more and therefore can work less or just simply cut down on your working hours because you’ve been able to live off less, that’s worth considering.
  • I don’t have kids, so I’m not really qualified to suggest anything in this area, but I’ve heard that setting up another ‘sleep’ room where either you or your partner can go to catch up on sleep is a good idea. If you’re a single parent, calling in the assistance of other family members occasionally is surely worth considering.

Why can’t I fall asleep naturally?

The answer to this one could be lying in a deeper and dark area inside of you which mightn’t be easy to deal with but, it’s essential that you do. It could be one or a number of the following;

  • A previous relationship that has scared you or unhappiness in your current one.
  • Worry about the future
  • Money troubles

The important point here is that there’s an issue of some type that you need to deal with.

I’m no therapist, but here are some things you could consider that may help;

  • Forgive. There’s great power in forgiveness. As hard as it can be sometimes to do, I can assure you it releases a large emotional weight off you.
  • Build up the courage to have that difficult conversation. Whether it’s with your partner, boss, brother or sister. If someone is literally ‘keeping you awake at night’ you need to have a conversation with them. Be honest, humble and respectful when you do and good luck.

Sleep is a key indicator of your overall health and well being. If you’re getting enough of it almost every other part of your waking life will be better.

So please, take the time to address it before turning to a magic pill whether that might be meditation or an actual pill of some type.

Luke McLeod is a meditation a teacher and the founder of Soul Alive. Follow him on Instagram @luke.mcleod

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