Sleep is essential for a healthy life. Sadly, 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems that prevent them from getting a healthy number of Zs. Sleep loss and sleep disorders like sleep apnea are common health problems, yet 80 to 90 percent of adults with sleep disorders are undiagnosed.
How do we overcome sleeplessness?
A good way to start is by pinpointing the reason you can’t sleep. Most of the time, it’s because you’re extremely stressed and can’t let go of those feelings.
That’s where meditation comes in handy.
Meditation is the practice of finding inner calm and releasing negative feelings. Practicing meditation has been shown to help regulate emotional states, lower anxiety and stress, and decrease the symptoms of depression. (Study)
Meditation helps us regulate the stress in our lives and subsequently. helps us get to a better night of sleep.
How Meditation Helps With Sleep
Meditation not only helps you get more sleep, it also helps you get a deeper sleep with a higher intensity of REM waves.
One study have showed that people who practice mindfulness meditations experienced improved sleep quality and a decrease in the symptoms of insomnia.
Another study showed that meditation was a viable treatment for those who suffered from chronic insomnia, with practitioners experiencing fewer symptoms post-meditation, even months after their initial practice.
How does meditation help you get to dreamland?
One of the ways meditation helps you get to sleep is that it actually increases melatonin levels. Melatonin is an important hormone released by the pineal gland that regulates your sleeping cycle and wakefulness.
Another way that meditation gets you to sleep is by training your relaxation response to work a little faster. Meditation helps you stop let go of things you can’t control. By meditating during the day, you strengthen that response so you can call on it when you need it most.
Stop counting sheep and try meditation instead.
Meditations for Sleep
Meditation may seem like a daunting task, but in practice, it’s relatively simple. The hardest part comes from trying to clear your mind.
A great meditation to start with is the world-renowned mindfulness leader and meditation guru Deepak Chopra. In the following boost, he leads you to sleep deeper with a simple 12 minute meditation.
For a deeper dive into restful meditations, try this “Rest” meditation series from Thich Nhat Hanh. These meditations will help you find compassion for your body, tune into being completely still, and relax your whole body.
YouTube has a good selection of guided meditations that can you help you sleep as well. Many of them come with calming visuals that gently guide your eyes to sleep. Try this popular meditation below.
If you need something more immediate, you can follow a simple two-step meditation to relax. Simply start by bringing your attention to your breath. Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then breathe out. Do this a few times until you have a controlled, steady pattern of breathing.
When you’re ready, think of a small mantra that can help to ward off stressful thoughts. Repeat the mantra with each inhale and exhale, until you fall asleep.
As we mentioned earlier, meditation is a practice. To really train your relaxation response, try to meditate during the day and not just before sleep.
If you only have a few minutes to spare, this beginner’s meditation will only take 7 minutes of your day.
To reduce stress in your everyday life, and consequently reduce stress before bed, try this another meditation led by Deepak Chopra focusing on stress reduction.
There are many reasons that babies sleep so well but one of the biggest might be because they don’t experience stress the way adults do.
Meditation can help us be kinder to ourselves by letting go of unwarranted, negative thoughts that follow us into the night.
It’s time to try meditation, let go of stress, and sleep like a baby.