Meditation: an ally for your sleep during lockdown
- By matnedelec
- On 28/04/2020
What about you, are you meditating during the lockdown?
I told you in a recent post, that several people had been experiencing sleep disruption since the lockdown began. This unprecedented lockdown situation has actually led to three major types of sleep disruption, and sleep can notably be disrupted by a high level of anxiety linked to the pandemic. This adds to the problem considering a good quality of sleep can protect you from viruses. The studies held in China on the effects of the lockdown have unsurprisingly shown acute levels of anxiety, difficult emotional management and several cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when the lockdown exceeds a period of 10 days. The lockdown may lead to a type of boredom, a frenetic desire to keep up with the news, while isolation may hinder the sharing and expression of anxiety-inducing thoughts. A short daily session of mindfulness - a branch of meditation - may be a strategy to nurture your confined sleep! Mindfulness can be defined as total awareness, without judgement, rooted in the present; it has already shown its benefits to treat certain sleep pathologies. What about during this unprecedented period of lockdown? A study conducted in the Chinese province of Wuhan, which was the first to be hit by the virus, offered participants a 10-min meditation session every morning on a smartphone (lockdown rules!), during a period of 10 days. The control group was offered a 10-min session of relaxation. The meditative session invited participants to focus on the present moment, be aware of what’s happening at every second, and to accept it. First positive result: the meditators noticed a lower level of daily anxiety. The sleep of those who had only taken part in the relaxation session was impacted throughout the follow-up period: on average, they lost 40 minutes of sleep per every 1000 cases of Covid-19 announced by the media. The meditators’ sleep duration remained unchanged throughout the same period. So why don’t you give it a go as from tomorrow? A meditation session in the morning, maximum 30 minutes of exposure to the news per day, and avoid checking it right before bedtime. The current lockdown situation can also serve as a good opportunity to take a step back and focus on your inner self…
Mathieu Nedelec, sport scientist in charge of research projects on sleep and recovery. I teach best practices to improve sleep and performance. I will read your answers carefully and let you know when my next posts will be published.