Friday, March 16, is World Sleep Day, an annual event celebrating sleep and its huge importance in our everyday lives.
The slogan for this year's World Sleep Day is "Join the Sleep World, Preserve Your Rhythms to Enjoy Life." On this occasion, it's important to take the time to realize just how important sleep is.
World Sleep Day: The Importance Of Sleep
Everyone knows that sleep experts recommend sleeping eight hours for a good night's rest, but why is sleep so important? First of all, lack of sleep is called insomnia, and it can be short-term or long-term, caused or influenced by various factors.
Lack of sleep can cause drowsiness, irritability, fatigue, headaches or migraines, stress, and it can take a negative toll on one's professional and personal life. In severe cases of insomnia, it can also lead to depression.
A number of health issues are also associated with the lack of a proper sleep, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, anxiety, alcoholism, substance abuse, early aging, and more. Sleep disturbances are also increasingly common among kids and teenagers, and they're closely related to their growing internet addiction.
Right now, insomnia is more common than ever and the increasing rates are due to various factors such as lifestyle habits, stress, or dietary choices. Treating insomnia often involves medication, but there are also non-pharmacological solutions that can promote a good night's rest.
How Meditation Can Improve Sleep Quality
One such non-pharmacological solution is called "Heartfulness Meditation" and it could reportedly have great results on chronic insomniacs. More than one million people in 130 countries worldwide reportedly practice this type of meditation and it can apparently have truly beneficial effects.
Kamlesh Patel, aka Daaji, is a "Heartfulness" guide highlighting how sleep is essential for a positive mood, cognitive performance, good memory, and a good mental balance.
"Daytime alertness and memory are impaired by loss of sleep, especially when it is sustained over a few nights," he explains. "For many, meditation has become a mainstream practice over the years and the study on its impact on alleviating sleep-related diseases is very encouraging."
What Is Heartfulness Meditation?
According to Daaji, Heartfulness Meditation refers to awareness and mindfulness. It's all about feelings and how we can draw inspiration from within.
"The whole exercise of fine-tuning the heart with the mind is through this meditation on the heart," according to Daaji. "That is why we call this process Heartfulness meditation."
Heartfulness Meditation And Insomnia
An ongoing study at the WellSpan York Hospital in the United States aims to determine how Heartfulness Meditation can help patients suffering from chronic insomnia, and the results are promising so far.
As part of the study, 28 chronic insomniacs went through an eight-week study involving Heartfulness Meditation as a practice to help with insomnia. Throughout the study, researchers measures Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores before and after patients practiced Heartfulness Meditation.
The mean ISI scores dropped nearly in half, from 20.6 to 10.8, making the result statistically relevant (p<0.001). After practicing Mindfulness Meditation, some of the patients with chronic insomnia were even able to go off their pharmacological treatments.