Part 7: Meditation, Spirituality, and Adequate Sleep

Meditation

 
Is a state of concentrating on some object or thought. It usually involves a person turning his or her attention inward to a single thing. The benefits of meditation can result in a higher state of consciousness. Meditation is recognized as a component of eastern religions, where it has been practiced for many centuries. Different meditation techniques have a wide range of spiritual and/or psychophysical practices which can focus on developing either a high degree of mental concentration, or the apparent opposite, mental quietness.
 

Meditation can be practiced anywhere – at home, during public transportation, or almost anywhere else. Although more research is needed about the role of meditation for medical treatment, some research shows that it may be helpful for allergies, arthritis, hypertension or high blood pressure, and heart disease as well as several other conditions.

Spirituality 

Spirituality links physical, mental and spiritual health. It includes:

  –  Feelings of love – for self, for others, and for nature

  –  Joy of living
  –  Inner peace
  –  Faith in a higher being or force, or in a perceived inner force
  –  Meditation and religion
  –  Belief in Others

In addition to reducing stress, spirituality is for many, “A Unifying Thread for Minority Health”. In fact, Health Power considers the link between physical, mental and spiritual health so important that its website has both a distinct Mental Health Channel and Spiritual Health Channel, and we recommend that both be visited, since each is only ‘One Click Away.  For example, an article about “The Connection of Our Spiritual Threads and Heritage to our Health” by a Health Power Spiritual Health Channel Editor, Darci Graves, provides an important overview. Other content in the Spiritual Health Channel includes stress preventing and reducing poemsquotes by the known and the unknown, and verses from the Bible and other sacred texts.

 
Adequate Sleep 
 
Not having enough sleep, or insomnia,  can result in one or more of the following conditions:
  • increased irritability
  • less concentration at work or school
  • more likely to have an automobile accident.  Symptoms include:

–  waking up often during the night

–   having trouble going back to sleep

–   being tired on waking up

–   being sleepy during the day

–   irritability

Causes of insomnia include anxiety, significant stress, depression, chronic, or long-term pain asthma, arthritis, and heart failure, or substance use such as alcohol.

When insomnia is not caused by a medical problem, it’s important to discuss that with your doctor.  The following may also be helpful for all persons with insomnia:

– removing or decreasing stress producing situation

– practicing various stress reducing approaches, including relaxation exercises

– changing one’s sleeping pattern

–  changing the sleeping environment, such as no TV or bright lights in the bedroom, etc.

Taking one or more naps doesn’t make up for lost hours of sleep, even if the total hours of napping add up to 8 hours. This is because the best sleep includes a period during which the person sleeping has rapid eye movement (also called REM sleep). It takes a few hours of sleep to reach the REM state. It is also important for the person to stay in REM sleep for some time. If the person has to get up from a nap, the period of REM sleep may have been too short. Also, if he or she returns to napping later, that nap might not last long enough for REM sleep to occur.

It’s important for a person to see his or her doctor if one of the following two things happens, because they could both be signals of an important medical problem:

(1) .A change in the normal sleeping pattern develops,or

(2)  There is a long-term problem with insomnia.

Much more information on Spirituality is provided on the Health Power website Spiritual Health Channel.