We are all aware from personal experience how important sleep is to our entire physical and mental health. It should come as no surprise that a lack of sleep can cause extreme weariness and fatigue. We also know that there are many resources available to us to assist us in our efforts to try to obtain a more restful sleep, from breathing techniques, napping to podcasts, and sage cleanses.

But we also realize that we are pressured for time and occasionally have mid-afternoon lag, making it impossible to take a quick nap or turn on a podcast that will put you to sleep. We then require a means that can help us feel refreshed and ready to go. So, in this article we will try to see if 10 minutes of Meditation is equal to 4 hours of sleep and also how we can improve our sleep schedule through meditation.

10 minutes of Meditation is equal to 4 hours of sleep

Many people find that meditation helps to calm both their body and mind. They are able to begin the day with positivity and a grin on their face thanks to how it helps them get their thoughts in order. Some people use meditation as a way to unwind immediately before bed. Most people believe that meditation can take the place of sleep since it relaxes them. Is this actually true?

According to this study, most participants’ have shown that meditation gives a longer-term reduction in the need for sleep that is nearly equivalent to the time spent practicing meditation. The same study also found that experienced practitioners in the 24-48 age range who practise meditation for at least two hours each day have shorter sleep durations on average. Yet following a meditation session, individuals frequently report feeling peaceful, rested, and alert—a state referred to as the “brain nap” because it resembles the deep slumber from which they have just awoken. Compared to while we are awake, our breathing slows down and deepens significantly during sleep. When the mind is peaceful and the body requires less oxygen to function during meditation, the respiration rate slows to a certain extent. But the difference between meditation and sleep should not be overlooked. While meditation helps you feel less stressed, sleep is designed to re energize you and aid in healing.

The following table is suggested as general advice for adults based on research and the experiences of many other experienced meditators:

Target SleepRequired substitute for meditation
7-8 hoursYou are free to substitute meditation for sleep for up to 2-3 hours, if you want. In other words, 30 minutes of meditation, for instance, can take the place of 30 minutes of sleep.
6 hoursIt is advised that you meditate for at least an hour each day to keep your body and mind healthy.
4-5 hoursYou must have practiced meditation for an average of 2-3 hours each day for numerous years in order to keep both your mental and physical wellness.
2-4 hoursOnly some of the most skilled monks and yogis in the world, who practice meditation consistently, are able to function normally on 2-4 hours of sleep. This is typically the bare minimum amount of sleep needed for your body to heal itself.

Sleep vs Meditation

Let us now see the difference between both sleep and meditation in a detailed manner.

ParametersSleepMeditation
What We Feel AfterWe often feel a little sluggish, dull, and unfocused when we first wake up in the morning (or even after having a nap).Nonetheless, we typically feel really good after a meditation session. Individuals frequently state that they feel upbeat, energetic, at ease, and clear thereafter.
BreathingOur breathing is slower and deeper while we are sleeping than it is when we are awake, though not significantly “less” oxygen is being taken in.In contrast, during meditation, the rate of respiration will frequently significantly decrease as the mind calms and our body (therefore) needs less oxygen to function.
AwarenessOur deep thinking (subconscious) and unconscious (non-thinking) minds take control while we are sleeping. Sleep, however, doesn’t actually allow us to fully utilise the multitude of advantages of the subconscious mind because it knocks us out.When we meditate, we are acutely aware of both our thinking (conscious) and subconscious (deep) minds.
Training or DirectionsSleep is essentially the body’s natural instinct to relax and recover.Before mastering a certain type of meditation technique or step, practitioners must follow instructions or go through training.
ClassificationThere are five stages of sleep.There are numerous different types of meditation, including Zen, body scan, and mindfulness; many of these also have subtypes.

How Can Meditation Reduce Your Need To Sleep?

The specific mechanisms through which meditation minimizes the need for sleep are unknown. There are probably a number of things at play, such as changed brainwave activity and better autonomic nervous system balance. Higher melatonin levels and lower stress hormone levels also contribute.

These are five ways in which practicing meditation can reduce your desire for sleep.

  • Activation of parasympathetic nervous system: The relaxation response is known to be elicited by meditation. The parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes rest and healing, is activated by the relaxation response. This response also has the effect of lowering blood levels of stress chemicals.
  • Changes in patterns of brain waves: Long-term meditators displayed a much lower requirement for sleep than the other people. During moments of deep, dreamless sleep, the brains of long-term meditators produced gamma waves with a high amplitude. The duration of daily meditation was connected with the intensity of gamma activity. It is interesting to notice that skilled meditators naturally produce gamma during deep sleep. This suggests that regular meditation practice has a long-lasting, plastic impact on how the brain works.
  • Increase in melatonin levels: The pineal gland mostly releases the hormone melatonin during night. It is linked by scientists to the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. Many research imply that meditation may have an effect on melatonin secretion. Moreover, it can enhance the peak level of melatonin during the night’s amplitude.
  • Improves sleep disorders: Scientific research has demonstrated that practicing meditation can significantly lessen the severity of sleep disorders like insomnia and restless legs syndrome.
  • Reduces stress: Sleep and anxiety are interrelated. Stress can make sleep less restful, and poor sleep can make anxiety worse. Hence, the sleep loss brought on by stress might spiral out of control. As we’ve already seen, meditation helps lessen anxiety and stop the cycle of negative thoughts.

Though there are several means and methods by which a person can improve their sleep schedule, the two most effective ways are Sleep Meditation and Yoga Nidra or Psychic Sleep.

Sleep Meditation: A practice or technique known as sleep meditation induces a deep level of relaxation while the practitioner is still awake and conscious. Those who want a holistically relaxed mind and body frequently use it. Sleep meditation tries to promote general relaxation that aids in getting the body ready for sleep by addressing both negative thinking and physical stress symptoms. On a mental level, meditation techniques are meant to encourage a person’s ability to react to unpleasant thoughts and feelings in a more relaxed manner.

Some of its benefits are as follows:

  • Meditation Decreases Mental Stress: The main cause of insomnia and poor sleep quality is stress. When your body is stiff from tension and your mind is racing, it’s difficult to fall asleep. Sleep will be improved by anything you can do to manage stress and anxiety effectively. Although it stands to reason that remaining still, paying attention to the here and now, and letting your body and mind rest would lessen stress, science backs this up. Comparing regular meditation to controls and placebos, a wide range of people report feeling less stressed. By doing this, meditation helps the body and mind get ready for sleep by calming the autonomic nervous system.
  • Meditation Reduces Anxiety: Anxiety, the anxious cousin of stress, is another barrier to sound sleep. The two frequently coexist, posing significant obstacles to getting to sleep at night. The physical sensations of anxiety also interfere with sleep because they create thoughts that make it difficult to relax and go to sleep. In a randomised controlled experiment, mindfulness meditation was successful in treating generalised anxiety disorder. Anyone with anxiety can benefit, however studies often demonstrate a bigger effect for those with anxiety disorders and high anxiety levels.
  • Helps to transform bad habits: There are numerous causes and factors that contribute to difficulty falling asleep. These negative behaviours include overindulging in alcohol before bed, checking social media constantly when you should be sleeping, and others. One effective technique to get rid of these negative habits and replace them with better ones is through meditation. But replacing a habit is an effective method since habits are hard to quit. The similar idea can be applied to make sleeping better. Examine your unhealthy night time routines and start implementing sleep meditations to replace them.
  • Shortens the Period of Time Needed to Fall Asleep: If you suffer from the kind of insomnia that makes it more challenging to fall asleep, you are aware of how annoying it can be to wait in bed for it to happen. Sleep latency, or the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, is frequently prolonged in patients with insomnia. Randomized controlled experiments have demonstrated that meditation can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep at night and enhance sleep latency.
  • Increases sleep hours: Several studies that link meditation to reduced sleep latency also demonstrate that it can prolong sleep. Those with insomnia who receive this respite from their condition tend to wake up frequently at night. Natural melatonin levels rise during meditation, promoting deeper sleep. Also, studies have indicated that patients with mental health conditions, such as those who experience insomnia as a symptom, can benefit from meditation.

Yoga Nidra or Psychic sleep: Yoga Nidra refers to yogic or psychic sleep. It is a mental state brought on by guided meditation that lies in between awake and asleep. Active meditation is a component of Yoga Nidra. The practitioner is fully awake and alert and follows instructions for various types of actions without being side tracked. The consciousness of practitioners may appear to be asleep, yet it is actually operating at a higher level of awareness. It is a more effective method of recovery and rest than regular sleep. Yoga Nidra sessions last an hour and are just as relaxing as four hours of sleep. You entirely let go of your body throughout the practice, relaxing every single aspect of it. Total relaxation eliminates stress and exhaustion as well as headaches, cravings, and urges.

Some of its benefits are as follows:

  • Can be done by anyone: Not everyone enjoys slow asanas holds and fast vinyasa flows. But everyone can do Yoga Nidra, from young toddlers to elderly people. Any age can follow it easily. Your body only needs to lay flat on the ground. Also, you can perform this exercise while sitting if you are unable to lie on the ground. Everyone can practise Yoga Nidra, from young toddlers to elderly people.
  • Yoga Nidra cannot be practised improperly: All you need to do is listen to the voice guiding you as you lie supported in savasana. It’s likely that you’ll recall certain meditation-related details but not others. You get a different experience each time you visit the clinic, and each one is valid. It’s acceptable to doze off since you will still benefit from the practice while your unconscious mind absorbs it.
  • A quick and easy way to Relieve Stress: Yoga Nidra encourages restful sleep and relaxation in a way that traditional meditation doesn’t. To relax the nervous system and promote less stress and greater health, one can practise the phases of body scan and breath awareness alone.
  • It’s simple to include Yoga Nidra into your daily life: Trying to focus, find inspiration, or bring awareness back to the breath during seated meditation can be challenging. Yoga Nidra is always led, so there is never any severe contemplation or wondering why you are staring at an empty space. Yoga Nidra sessions might last anything from five minutes to an hour. You get to pick the length. Making a Yoga Nidra practise a part of your nightly bedtime ritual might be the simplest way to fit one in.
  • Yoga Nidra gives you the chance to have a deeper understanding of who you are: While some practitioners use the safe, non-judgmental environment that Yoga Nidra offers as a window into themselves, others enjoy the tremendous relaxation that this practice instills. Yoga Nidra gives you a place to consider what you need right now and a chance to focus on letting go of long-repressed emotions. You can experience an emotion and “front” what you want to overcome while in a Yoga Nidra session without “falling into it totally” or feeling the emotion to the point that you’re overwhelmed.

Difference between Sleep meditation and Yoga Nidra

Now, as we know what Sleep Meditation and Yoga Nidra are, let us try and look into some of the differences between the two.

ParametersSleep MeditationYoga Nidra
Sitting vs. Laying DownPractitioners of traditional meditation techniques will often sit comfortably with their legs crossed and their palms facing up or in a concentration mudra like the Dhyana Mudra. The practitioner can concentrate and focus their consciousness inwards while standing erect, which grounds them in the present.On the other hand, yoga nidra is practiced while lying down in a relaxing position. Yoga instructors frequently advise their pupils to unwind in the reclining stance Shavasana, which helps them lose control and fall asleep without having any dreams.
Beginner vs. AdvancedYou’ll need to focus on your breathing, shut out the constant chatter, and enter the gloomy depths of your mind in a meditation lesson. This can be very difficult for new practitioners.The guided nature of Yoga Nidra makes it simpler to follow along with and achieve the intended state of consciousness.
Solo vs. guidedMeditation is usually done by oneself. A body scan, candle gazing, and concentrated breathing are just a few of the meditation techniques that yogis learn to use to focus their attention inside.Yoga Nidra, sometimes referred to as guided meditation, is usually carried out in a class under the guidance of an expert teacher. The instructor will lead you through several levels of relaxation during a Yoga Nidra session.
Passive vs. ActiveSleep meditation is a form of active mind training that necessitates work, dedication, and total focus.Yoga Nidra is far less restrictive. using reclining positions and relaxing accessories like cushions and blankets.
Spiritual consciousness versus deep relaxationThe goal of meditation is to reach a highly conscious state where spiritual development and awareness can start, not to unwind.Yoga Nidra is a restorative “sleep” that calms the mind and body sensations while fostering self-awareness.

Although meditation and Yoga Nidra have significant distinctions, both are useful techniques for exploring the depths of the conscious mind and developing your practice. Whether you choose to meditate, engage in Yoga Nidra, or combine the two, exploring the depths of your mind can help you uncover deeply ingrained samskaras and establish a connection with your purest, most genuine self.

FAQs

Can a Nap Be Replaced by Meditation?

A nap can be replaced by meditation, which is typically more efficient at recharging the body and mind. Study shows that, even for inexperienced meditators, meditation is a better option than a nap when one is weary since it has stronger performance-enhancing and restorative effects.

That does not negate the rejuvenating effects of naps, which have been used for thousands of years by many civilizations to combat daytime tiredness. Yes, naps also help to calm the central nervous system, which lowers cortisol levels (thereby reducing stress), lowers blood pressure, and increases immunity.

Can Meditation lead to insomnia?

No, in fact, meditation can be used to alleviate insomnia rather than causing it. Long-term studies have demonstrated that meditation practitioners have higher levels of overall quality sleep and better sleep quality.

How well can meditation help you fall asleep?

It’s simpler to silence the nagging ideas that keep your mind racing by unwinding your body and mind. Meditation can lower cortisol levels, which are linked to stress. Natural melatonin levels rise during meditation, promoting deeper sleep.

Do Meditation Practices Reduce the Need for Sleep?

Meditation does help a person to relax their mind and feel fresh but sleep is a very important part of a person’s life as well, so instead of finding ways to replace sleep, one can include meditation in their schedule and lead a much healthier life.

Why is it so hard to fall asleep after meditating?

Individuals who are very still and close their eyes for extended periods of time in a silent setting, run the risk of developing hypersensitivity to the noise and light of everyday life. Moreover, meditation increases brain activity, which might make it challenging to eat and sleep.

Does prolonged meditation resemble sleeping?

The brain waves that are active during meditation may resemble those that are present during the first stages of sleep. That implies it’s normal to occasionally experience a little sleepiness while meditating.

Does lying down and practising meditation result in sleep?

While lying down during meditation may be beneficial for some persons and circumstances, there are some possible drawbacks as well: You can become so at ease during meditation that you sleep instead. Sitting typically offers a better combination of sleepiness and awake attentiveness. In this position, it is more difficult to maintain mental activity.

What indicates a deep state of meditation?

You become less self-aware, lose track of time, and breathe more slowly when you are deeply relaxed. It is a good indication that you are in a profound level of meditation when you realise that you can only recall a portion of what you did while meditating, your body is relaxed, and you forget you were doing it.

What results from daily meditation for one hour?

Calms the mind and lessens anxiety.Meditation in the morning might help you feel calm and relaxed. Additionally, they can lessen worry and other recurrent thoughts. You can stay away from worrying and other negative monkey-mind thoughts all day long with a clear head and a relaxed attitude.

Is laying or sitting down for meditation better?

The best position is while sitting. It offers, or at least has the potential to offer, the ideal harmony of concentration and relaxation. And sure, it’s okay to sit in a chair. Both the body and the mind are more likely to be awake and focused when the body is upright.

How often should I practice meditation each day?

You should try to meditate at least once every day to obtain the maximum benefit from your practice. It’s not necessary to devote a lot of time to this; research has shown that even five minutes a day can be helpful.

What results can you achieve from excessive meditation?

You can become aware of your feelings and thoughts through meditation. Although this is usually a positive thing, excessive meditation might cause you to become overexposed to your inner self, which can be overpowering. Over-meditating can cause anxiety to rise, panic attacks, and the resurfacing of unpleasant emotions or memories.

Is 10 minutes of meditation sufficient?

Ten minutes should be sufficient if you’re a newbie wanting to relieve stress. However, up to 30 minutes may be preferable if you’re trying to concentrate more on serenity and improved attention because you’ll have time for some mild stretching and breathing exercises.

What results can you benefit from daily meditation for 10 minutes?

All of us should be able to discover and experience peace every day. Regular 10-minute meditation sessions have been shown to improve focus, clarity, and empathy as well as to calm the mind and relax the body.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we can say that even though meditation has many benefits and it really helps us to improve our sleep schedule and can also compensate for some of the sleep needed by us but we cannot replace sleep with meditation or any other meditative techniques. This is because sleep is very important for a person to stay healthy and it also helps with the functioning of the brain.

So, we can just simply include meditation in our daily schedule for sometime so that we can also get a relaxed mind with a good sleeping schedule as well.

Authors
Devina Prasad

Devina Prasad

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SriLakshmi

SriLakshmi

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