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?
Click back on the blog posts during the month of April 2019 to read about the full experiment.
The fourth week of our meditation experiment, we practiced 6 days. For me, the best result occurred after we completed the last practice. The following night, my daughter came to me and said, “Could we continue the meditation practice?” Wanting to give her space and freedom to pursue the practice on her own, I responded, “Great, you know how to do the practice, so you can do it anytime you like.” She replied, “I would like for us to continue to do the practice together!”
Here is our results for the week: (scale of 1 being negative experience and 10 being the most positive) Look back at April 2, 2019 blog post to see the questionnaire we used.
Week 4: 6 days of practice
|How was your day||6||5.67|
|Do you feel drawn to the practice||5.83||5.67|
|Did you check in with your breath today||2.167||6|
|How do you feel now||5.5||5.6|
|How do you feel after the practice||7.5||7|
|Sleep after Meditation||6.67||6.167|
|Sleep without Meditation||6||7|
Here is our results over the four weeks:
|Taylor||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|How was your day||7.33||6.5||8||6|
|Drawn to practice||4.67||6.25||5.4||5.83|
|Feel before practice||7||7.25||6.4||5.5|
|Feel after practice||8||8.25||8||7.5|
|Sleep and meditation||7||7||7.2||6.67|
|Sleep without meditation||7.75||7.67||6||6|
|Amber||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|How was your day||7||6.5||7.4||5.67|
|Drawn to practice||6||6.75||8.6||5.67|
|Feel before practice||6||6||6.4||5.6|
|Feel after practice||7.67||7.25||8.6||7|
|Sleep and meditation||7.6||7.25||5.8||6.17|
|Sleep without meditation||5.75||8.6||3||7|
Sleep results for four weeks:
|Sleep with meditation||6.97|
|Sleep without meditation||6.85|
|Sleep with meditation||6.7|
|Sleep without meditation||6|
Our sleep improved just slightly over the four weeks!! Since last fall, the biggest challenge is to find a reward system that keeps me in my meditation practice. During the experiment, the reward was spending time with my daughter in an experiment. Now, 5 months later, my daughter continues to journal, meditate or pray every night on her own. I am hopeful that we can find time to spend together again! I am a morning person, so I changed my practice to early morning. Here is the reward system: Coffee!!! So here is how I use my love of coffee to continue my practice. I get up and turn on the coffee pot. I move to the living room to light my candle and get settled into my meditation seat. I practice. When my practice is complete, I pour myself a cup of coffee!!! This works EVERYTIME. Somedays, I have 30 min to practice. Other days, everyone starts stirring after 5 min. I am not worried about the time because I am thrilled that I integrated this practice into my life in a way that makes sense for me.