Stress and Insomnia

Excerpts from the Book

Jeanne Pettenati from Bethesda, Maryland, writes children’s books about famous people (Galileo’s Journal and Arturo [Toscanini] Takes a Bow). She also had serious sleep problems before starting TM in about 2010. Before learning the TM technique, Jeanne said she would lie in bed rehashing the day for at least an hour and often for several hours before falling asleep. The problem was compounded because like many people she also couldn’t sleep very well through the night. When Jay interviewed her in May 2018, she said:

After I started TM, my sleep changed pretty quickly, in just a few weeks. After TM I found that when I put my head on the pillow, I was able to let go of things and be settled, not as much churning in my head. And it started to be more like a half hour before I could get to sleep, not several hours like before. Also, I would previously wake up maybe every two hours, and I started sleeping through the night. With TM I started getting seven hours of solid sleep, which for me was unprecedented.

Before TM, I was also taking melatonin maybe five to six times a week, and now I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to take it in the past five or six years.

Jeanne has been meditating twice a day now for ten years. She said, “I’m a lot calmer and better able to focus on one thing at a time without getting distracted.” As with many of those mentioned earlier in the book, this calmness and greater ability to focus is the natural ease and mindfulness that TM sessions produce.

The stress that leads to anxiety, irritability, and  anger during the day, often leads to insomnia at night. Jace Badia, a  combat veteran, overcame them all after he started the TM program:

The experiences of TM meditators with sleep will vary since many factors can influence the quality of our sleep, including our diet and lifestyle factors. The book contains several strategies for improving sleep, including diet, easy lifestyle changes, and meditation.

An article in Anxiety, Stress and Coping published in 2007 reported on a study of employees in the automotive industry who learned  the Transcendental Meditation technique, compared to a control group (random assignment) that was similar in job position and pretest characteristics. The TM meditators improved their sleep significantly more than controls. Another 2017 study of 143 veterans who learned the TM technique found a 26 percent improvement in sleep in just the first month of TM practice. And an early small study in 1972, ­­­­­­­­­­at the University of Alberta in Canada found that the insomniacs in the study averaged an hour and a quarter to fall asleep before learning the TM technique and after thirty days of TM practice, the time it took to fall asleep dropped to fifteen minutes, and it remained constant at about fifteen minutes during the entire first year of meditation.



The Coherence Effect

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