Does meditation cause mood swings or sleep problems?


I am having problems with mood swings, and my sleep pattern has become somewhat weird. Some days I need to sleep only two hours, and other days I sleep throughout the day. Do you think these problems are a side effect of meditation?

—Ashok, India


Dear Ashok,

Thank you for writing. Meditation is a supreme healing force for such problems, not its cause. Meditation calms mood swings. It relaxes those inner vortexes which result in erratic sleeping patterns. Meditation brings everything back into balance and harmony.

Mood swings usually come from living too much in the senses: pushing the pendulum far out toward outer happiness, resulting in the pendulum to swing back: up, down, up, down, forever riding the mood-swing.  Daily meditation is an effective solution, as it aims at achieving inner joy, taking us out of those dual moods.

For your sleep, try practicing some calm yoga postures, breathing consciously with the diaphragm. Before meditation practice nadi shodanam pranayama, which is balancing. Surround yourself with sattwic (calm, pure) influences (films, music, people) as much as possible, avoiding rajasic (restless, agitating) environments. Try your best to establish a regular routine during the day. God himself established routine in nature: everything is orderly. You will probably need to apply some self-discipline for that. Don’t sleep more than 7 hours, as it is harmful. See if there is something specific in your life which is robbing your inner peace. Try to find a way to send that robber out of your life, and hopefully inner balance will again be with you.

In divine friendship, Jayadev