Sleep problems: can a guided meditation help?

The majority of sleep problems-targeted guided meditation apps concentrate us on avoiding the very issues that cause trouble. Instead of fixing the causes of ruminating and worries that prevent us from being able to get asleep, we attempt to divert attention to breathing, body-related sensorial experiences, someone else’s voice (especially, if it’s sexy), narrative, etc.

Distraction is a functional technique if the disturbances are residual, lacking persistent causes to support them. But normally, it is not the case — the endless loops of mental activity are fueled by issues that are well and thriving: exaggerated values, obsolete notions and non-ecological habits we did not address. Why? Either lacking the strength or simply being unaware that we can.

Quick-fixes backfire

So we settle at a temporary relief that diminishes over time. Ultimately, causing an escalation of troubling thoughts and sleep-depriving agitation since the original causes were suppressed instead of being fixed, allowing repetitive problematic reactions to accumulate and firm up. Back to square one? Not really. Back to square one ‘with complications,’ — the ones we cannot distract ourselves from by a guided meditation. 

The long-term solution addresses the causes of agitation

Mindfulness, reframing and other practices allow us to address the causes of unwanted reactions so they are ‘not produced’ by our self-minded subconsciousness, allowing a healthy sleep. The approach that requires substantially more effort, but offers much more than a solution to a sleep problem, but a balanced and resourceful state when facing real-life challenges.

Unobvious narrator’s impact

Another neglected but, maybe, the most important issue is if the narrator has unresolved internal issues. If the person shares similar triggers, e.g. reacts to real-life problems with similar (or even higher!) emotional agitation, — the ‘meditation’ will mediate this actual outlook, not the text of ‘meditation’. Ultimately, sharing their problems, not a solution (since they don’t really have one).

So if we aim to become more balanced and peaceful, we should carefully choose who we listen to. Not only based on theoretical message but a genuinely embodied way of responding to triggering events. Whether they get overwhelmed by destructive emotions that persist for hours/days or are able to maintain peace of mind in challenging circumstances or at least dissolve any tense reaction momentarily, effortlessly switching to authentic joy, kindness, and soothing presence.