Sleep. It is one of those things that you need. Without sleep, our minds, our grip on reality would start to slip, no matter where we are in our mental health journey. Even people with no history of mental health issues will experience hallucinations when they are sleep deprived. So yea, like I said, you kind of need it. And meditation can help you get it. At least in theory.
I have a complicated relationship with sleep. My anxiety cranks my thoughts into high gear right when I want them to be winding down. It is not a situation that leads to good sleep. On top of that, I have sleep apnea, so if I am not using my CPAP machine, the quality of my sleep isn’t even ideal. Yet like I said, mediation can, in theory, help with that problem.
Meditation, or any type of mindfulness practice, can allow you to recognize the thoughts going through your head. And by acknowledging them, and being mindful of them, you can watch them drift away. The thoughts and issues creating the anxiety might not be gone for good, but they might be calmed enough to allow you to catch a few Zzz’s.
And the idea would be that this would be a positive feedback loop type of situation, where the better you sleep the better you’d be able to focus on your meditation and mindfulness practice. And this is, for me at least, where the wrench sometimes gets thrown into the works. When I don’t sleep well, it is so hard for me to focus on anything the following day, meditation included. Yet the nice thing about meditation, is that if you have an off day, you can just start over with compassion again the following day.