Meditation For Sleep
Having trouble sleeping is not at all uncommon. If you’ve tried everything you can think of — sleepy teas, melatonin supplements, rearranging your bedroom, and nothing is helping, maybe meditation should be your next step. Sleep is important for both your physical and mental health, as it can help you deal with some illnesses and keep your body healthy.
Maybe you’re someone who normally has no trouble sleeping but is experiencing a new level of sleeplessness or you just want to find even better quality sleep. Whatever the case, meditating before bed can teach you mindfulness, and help relax both your body and brain so you’re in the proper mindset to fall asleep. Ahead, see what meditation can do for you and your quality of sleep.
How Meditation Leads To Better Sleep
A key benefit of meditation is its ability to induce better sleep. Meditation is an easy way to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone in your body that’s linked to stress, and make you more relaxed, which inevitably helps you fall asleep faster and have better-quality sleep. The goal of meditations for insomnia is to quiet your mind, so if you’re someone who struggles to sleep because you can’t turn off your brain, meditation might be a great idea to help you. By centering yourself and focusing on your breathing, you’re allowing yourself to forget your anxieties or stressors. As a result, your body and mind should come to a more relaxed state.
Meditation doesn’t take a lot of effort or time commitment either. A short meditation before bedtime can make a huge difference in how you sleep. One study done in 2012 on older adults showed that a mindfulness intervention led to overall better sleep quality in the short term and “appears to carry over into reducing sleep-related daytime impairment that has implications for quality of life.”
Meditation also has the ability to affect the body’s melatonin, a hormone made by the body that regulates sleep. With the proper melatonin levels, your body is able to recognize that it’s nearing time for bed. That’s why some people rely on melatonin supplements for sleep, but meditation can actually be a natural way to increase melatonin production. Next time insomnia hits, instead of reaching for melatonin, try meditation for better sleep.
How To Meditate In Bed
If you’re wondering how to meditate to sleep, keep in mind that your meditation is what you make it. For a very basic self-care meditation in bed, though, go ahead and get comfortable on your mattress. Turn off the lights, the TV, your phone. Give yourself silence and no distractions of any kind. Breathe normally, but be conscious and focus on the air going in and out. After you’ve given yourself time to focus on your breath, start to clear your mind. Let any of the thoughts left over from the day clear your head and let your brain slowly calm down and relax. If it helps, you can instead think of relaxing thoughts.
If you’re someone who doesn’t do well with silence, consider putting on soft music or ambient noise. Spend some time with this to really allow your brain to get into a relaxed state and let your body shake off the metaphorical “weight” that might be holding you down. Don’t turn on the TV, don’t check your phone. Instead, let yourself feel relaxed in your bedroom as meditation lulls you off to sleep.
Different Ways To Meditate Before Bed
Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation is a great way to help individuals receive better quality sleep, especially for older folks. In mindfulness meditation, you really want to hyperfocus on yourself and your place in time. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Let your thoughts wash away and center yourself in where you are right at this very moment. Feel the ground beneath you and feel your lungs expand and contract with your breaths. Try to shake off any negativity from the day and remain focused on your breathing. This will help teach you how to cope with anxiety, and distract you from your daily stressors with relaxation.
Guided meditations are often just that: meditation sessions led by an individual. For a guided meditation before bed, you can play a recording of someone walking through a meditation that works for you, or you can even record yourself and play it back each night. You can even guide yourself in your thoughts through this meditation that should focus on positivity and relaxation. The goal is to finish feeling calm, collected, and prepared to fall asleep.
Body Scan Meditation
A body scan meditation for insomnia will bring awareness to your entire body while you ready yourself for sleep. This is a good one to do in bed right before you try to sleep. Lie flat and still, and do a scan of your whole body. Starting at any body part — and without moving — feel each inch of your body. Breathe steadily throughout your scan and make yourself aware of every piece of yourself.
As you work your way across your whole body, fight the urge to think about your anxieties and focus on your individual body parts. You can spend as little or as long as you want on this, just keep your thoughts focused on your body scan and end by letting everything go so that your body feels light and prepared to drift to sleep.
What Else Meditation Helps With
Meditation is a great option for overall stress relief. Because it helps your mind calm down, it can set aside any stress from the day and help better equip you to deal with it later because you’ve given yourself a few moments to recharge. Meditation is effective enough to help:
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- Positively affect physical illnesses
It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing these conditions so your doctor can advise you on a proper course of action. But, because meditation is a practice of mindfulness and relaxation, it has proven to be impactful and helpful for more than just sleep.
Downsides Of Meditation?
Meditation is largely a positive experience and there’s been very little research that shows any negative side effects. However, not everyone will notice a difference after meditating. For one, there’s a chance that meditation simply won’t work for you. There was also one small study done in 2017 that showed a few adverse effects of meditation for some, including experiencing traumatic negative thoughts and hallucinations.
With meditation, you’re opening up your mind to relaxation, but for some, that’s not easy, and opening up the mind can welcome in potentially harmful or triggering thoughts. If you’re someone prone to negative thoughts and experience poor results from meditation, you may want to talk to a doctor before continuing the practice.
Meditate Before You Sleep
Meditation has proven to be an effective way for some individuals to induce sleep and promote relaxation before going to bed. It helps calm your mind, body, and reduces stress levels, making it easier for you to fall asleep (and remain asleep). You can try a few options, like mindfulness meditation, body scan meditation, or a guided meditation to see what bedtime meditation works best for you. You can even rotate meditation styles so that you’re always keeping your mind relaxed and ready to sleep.