This fall, my daughter and I engaged in a meditation experiment. This experiment was part of a class assignment that I could design for myself or include others in the design. My daughter agreed to participate and we began to design a 4 week meditation plan to see if meditation could help our sleep. I read articles learning about other experiments of meditation and sleep. Most of the things I read said that even a small amount of meditation everyday positively effects the quality of sleep. As we thought about how to design and daily questionnaire to chart our sleep, we began to ask other questions. Would we see that over time, we would feel drawn to the practice or less resistant to adding one more thing to our day? Would this help us become more aware of our breath during the day allowing that breath awareness to reduce anxiety and stress? Would the meditation practice positively affect how we felt about our day meaning would our attitude change towards the experiences we had during the day? Would there be immediate benefits to the practice?
To see the questionnaire we used for the experiment, click on last Tuesday’s blog post.
Here are two great articles about meditation and sleep:
The first week, we meditated 3x’s that week and kept track of our sleep and how we felt about our day everyday. We noticed that how we felt about our day greatly effected our sleep more than the meditation. Also, we noticed that after the practice, we felt significantly better meaning more at peace. The immediate benefits seemed to surpass the effect on our sleep.
During this first week, I read a story about Paul Ekman visiting the Dalai Lama in 2000. He spent a few minutes alone with the Dalai Lama and said, “he held my hands while we talked and I was filled with a sense of goodness and a unique total body sensation that I have no words to describe.” Ekman goes on to say that at the time he met the Dalai Lama he was struggling with intense anger. After his meeting with the Dalai Lama, his anger left him. Could meditation lead to a person expressing such goodness that a moment in their presence, a touch of their hand could inspire such healing? Pg 34-35 of Mind in the Balance by B. Alan Wallace.
This experiment cost us nothing. From scientific research to extraordinary stories of healing, meditation seemed worth our time and energy!
Week 1: 3 days of practice
(higher numbers are positive)
|How was your day||7.33||7|
|Do you feel drawn to the practice||4.67||6|
|Did you check in with your breath today||0||3.33|
|How do you feel now||7||6|
|How do you feel after the practice||8||7.67|
|Sleep after Meditation||7||7.6|
|Sleep without Meditation||7.75||5.75|