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Sleeping meditation?

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Sleeping meditation?
Answer
8/6/20 9:50 PM
Hello,

Does any specific meditation practice could help with falling asleep/staying asleep?

I have had difficulty falling/staying asleep for most of my life. It varies but most of the time it isn't great.
I usually take 30-40min+ to fall asleep and wake up at least once between 2 to 5am and take 15-20min+ to fall asleep again.

It's definitely taking a toll (small but a toll anyway) on my daily life and on my practice.

I'm familiar with concentration/insight meditation (Both would probably make me too hyper to sleep) and a vague understanding of metta meditation (Tried it a few times).

Is there any specific practice that could help? I understand that what works for one might not works for me but it's worth a shot.

Thanks a lot and have a nice day,

RE: Sleeping meditation?
Answer
8/7/20 9:14 AM as a reply to SushiK.
What you describe is within the range of normal.

https://www.sciencealert.com/humans-used-to-sleep-in-two-shifts-maybe-we-should-again
Humans Used to Sleep in Two Shifts, And Maybe We Should Do It Again

...
Throughout history, there have been numerous accounts of segmented sleep, from medical texts, to court records and diaries, and even in African and South American tribes, with a common reference to "first" and "second" sleep.
...
Anthropologists have found evidence that during preindustrial Europe, bi-modal sleeping was considered the norm. Sleep onset was determined not by a set bedtime, but by whether there were things to do.

In my opinion, one sleep period per night is most likely a maladaptation from early in the industrial revolution when factory workers would work 16 hours per day.

https://www.historycrunch.com/working-conditions-in-the-industrial-revolution.html#/
The first main feature of industrial workplaces was the long hours of work. It was not uncommon for workers to be expected to work shifts of 16 hours per day in grueling conditions.


If you want to fall asleep faster, you can look up specific techniques on the internet. Search for "how to fall asleep fast"
Here is one technique:
https://www.resperate.com/blog/the-method-used-by-u-s-military-for-falling-asleep-fast
The Method Used By U.S Military For Falling Asleep Fast
...
The United States Military has recommended this method for falling asleep. As a matter of fact, according to the creator of this method, you will fall asleep in 120 seconds (2 MINUTES). After practicing this method for 6 weeks there is a 96% success rate.

RE: Sleeping meditation?
Answer
8/7/20 11:44 AM as a reply to SushiK.
Does any specific meditation practice could help with falling asleep/staying asleep?

I use jhanas for this. It works great, no drugs or herbs necessary  emoticon

RE: Sleeping meditation?
Answer
8/7/20 11:57 AM as a reply to SushiK.
Maybe something from this playlist is helpful: 
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLay6yCfl1qk82KHLW5JQzTqDUONixNpX6 

It is a series preparing people for dream yoga practice (sleep of clear light), but it starts at a very basic level so that it also functions as a way of increasing the quality of sleep in daily life. 

RE: Sleeping meditation?
Answer
8/7/20 12:02 PM as a reply to SushiK.
And a suggestion from Shinzen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUQFw2jNf7s

To get a good night rest instead of a good night sleep. I've applied it these 3 years and it has worked for me.

RE: Sleeping meditation?
Answer
8/7/20 10:44 PM as a reply to SushiK.
Hi SushiK,

What I do is take 3-6 mg of melatonin about 40 minutes before I go to bed when I have trouble sleeping. I also use it to help get to sleep when I have jet lag (well maybe "used" is a better word, I'm not going anywhere at the moment with COVID still raging). Melatonin is the sleep hormone, your brain makes it when it's time to fall asleep. In the US, it is available without a prescription. In Europe, you need to get a prescription because it increases blood sugar during the night in order to counteract hypoglycemia, the reduction in blood sugar that comes from not eating for 8 hours. If you have diabetes, that might cause a problem. Also, some people get wierd nightmares when the take melatonin.

Good luck!

RE: Sleeping meditation?
Answer
8/7/20 11:31 PM as a reply to SushiK.
Hi SushiK!

That's interesting. I have had almost exactly the same sleep pattern since childhood that comes in cycles (every month or two).

As Jim said, there's evidence that suggested humans used to sleep in "shifts". I went along accepting that for a while as the issue, but you don't really need to surrender to sleeping like this.

You say that concentration or insight meditation would make you too hyper to sleep. Have you tried just enjoying sitting for 30 minutes and enjoying the breath? if meditation is making you hyper, you may try shooting for ease, calm and relaxation in your sits. You can still do insight or "concentration" practice while remaining extremely relaxed with enjoyment (many teachers will say this is actually the only correct way to practice). When you climb into bed, enjoy the comforts of being in bed. Enjoy your blankets, sheets and pillow. "Ahhh so nice being in bed!" You can even do meditation on the feeling of relaxation.

What has really helped me is experiencing the effects of not getting a good nights sleep with equanimity. You may realize that the effects of a bad nights sleep are not as grand as we make them out to be. I think for us insomniacs, we are our own worst enemy. Worrying about a bad night's rest is what causes us to have a bad night's rest. 

Besides meditation:

1.There are the usual ordinary culprits which you probably know: Not looking at screens an hour before bedtime, alcohol consumption, etc.

2. Melatonin, CBD / THC (this combination has been working great for me recently).

3. I've found that any critical thinking or heavy intellectualizing before bed makes it hard to wind down.

RE: Sleeping meditation?
Answer
8/9/20 10:58 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Thanks all for your comments, I will try to reply one by one.

Add-on: The times I put on my first post are minimum average. But it can go to hours (Once/twice a week) to almost complete insomnia (Once a month).
Also, I sleep on my belly and face on the side (Probably the reason for all my neck pain), I have been trying every technique in the book to sleep on my back or side but no luck.

Also I usually read 15-20min of fiction just prior going to bed, personal habits since I'm 8.

Jim Smith:

Thanks for the link. Yes, I'm aware that humans used to sleep in 2 shifts in the past.
I will try the different technique from this site https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/fall-asleep-fast#120-secs-to-sleep
I tried the military one this weekend, didn't help but I slept fairly well this weekend any way.

Chris Marthi:

I'm not sure if I know how to do Jhanas correctly but I can follow the breath.
I'm just concerned focusing on something might push the sleep away even more...But worth a try.
I'm the kind of guy who can't fall asleep if I'm reading/watching even if those are the most boring books/movies.

Linda and Siavash:

Thanks I will look into it.

Svmonk:

I'm taking 350mcg (sometimes 600) of melatonin every night. And yes it's mcg, I don't remember where but read how more than 1mg was apparently too much.
I also take 200mg of phosphatidylserine to reduce cortisol.

I have been on it for a year but I'm planning to stop taking both for a while to see if any difference.

Nick O:

It isn't that it makes me hyper that much but, from personal experience, whenever I try to focus on something in order to sleep then it has the opposite effect.
For example my gf likes to imagine herself in some adventures or being a super-hero, makes her sleep super fast and sometimes she is able to continue the adventures in her dream. whenever I try that I just spend 3h awake imagining I'm a superhero, fun enough but not sleeping emoticon

I never tried medidating on the feeling of relaxation, I will give it a try.

I'm living in China so CBD/THC aren't easily or legally available unfortunately.