Does Meditation Have Any Drawbacks?

Meditation has become a popular topic recently, with many people sharing its benefits. It is often seen as a positive practice, but does it have any drawbacks? Some experts say “yes,” and it might surprise you.

While it is widely accepted that meditation has several benefits, from reducing stress and anxiety to improving focus and concentration, some experts have raised concerns about potential drawbacks. Moreover, some research has suggested that meditation may increase levels of anxiety and depression in some people.

Though meditation helps to improve mental and physical health, it’s also essential to understand the risks involved so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for you. Keep reading to learn more about the potential drawbacks of meditation.

How Does Meditation Affect Sleep?

Insomnia is a common issue that people face today. To add to the problem, we often perpetuate our insomnia by worrying about not being able to fall asleep. While falling asleep, our brain gradually becomes less aroused. However, during insomnia, our brain stays “wired,” and we find it more difficult to fall asleep.

Meditation brings about a relaxed state of mind that helps in falling asleep. The relationship between meditation and sleep is still being investigated. Still, meditation appears to provoke lasting changes in the brain that may affect sleep, leading to a nighttime awakening among practitioners.

Drawbacks Of Meditation

For centuries, people have turned to meditation to promote better sleep. And there’s certainly no shortage of evidence to prove it effective. Unfortunately, however, it also has a few infrequent side effects. 

Nevertheless, some people may experience the following:

  • Physical discomfort due to muscle stiffness caused by meditative poses.
  • Certain types of meditation may cause anxiety and depression by bubbling up long-forgotten traumas.
  • Mediation is not a cure for sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. 
  • Sleep meditation may not work for some as the experience varies from person to person due to an awakened brain state.

A new study published by The American Psychosomatic Society found that meditation has some adverse side effects. The study found that people who meditate frequently are more prone to damaged sleep cycles and difficulty sleeping. While the exact reason for this is unclear, it may be because meditation increases the mind’s alertness and focus. [source]

Here are some negative effects of meditation.

  • Dredges up painful memories

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Though meditation calms the mind and relaxes the body, it also dredges up long-forgotten memories – memories that we thought we had buried deep. The memories that come up are usually ones we have been suppressing, either because they’re too painful to think about or because we don’t want to deal with them. 

When these memories come bubbling to the surface, it raises emotional discomfort and creates anxiety, stopping you from having a good restful sleep.

  • Hypersensitivity to light and sound

Some people who spend a long time in silence and stillness become hypersensitive to the noise and light of everyday life. This phenomenon is known as “relaxation-induced panic”. It is thought to be caused by the activity in the brain that is associated with meditation. This activity makes sleeping difficult and leads to increased anxiety and panic.

  • Awakens the mind

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Though many people use the practice to relax, some forms of meditation do the opposite: awakening the mind and promoting clarity. This is because meditation helps us see life free of our personal biases and experiences, allowing us to appreciate reality for what it truly is. As a result, avoiding such forms of meditation before sleep is wise since the increased mental clarity and focus can make it difficult to fall asleep. 

How To Overcome The Drawbacks Of Meditation?

As any meditator knows, the practice can profoundly affect the body and the mind. Unfortunately, for some people, meditation can also cause unwanted side effects. While these side effects are usually mild and temporary, they can be frustrating. 

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to avoid them:

  1. First, learn how to meditate correctly from a qualified instructor. 
  2. Second, start slowly, and don’t try to force yourself into a meditative state.
  3. Third, be aware of your body and mind; stop if you feel any adverse effects.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy all the benefits of meditation without any negatives.

So, is meditation good? Is there any potential downside to this practice? The answer is yes and no. There are a few risks associated with meditation, but they can be managed with proper instruction. Meditation is an incredibly beneficial practice that has improved mental health, physical health, and spiritual well-being.