The Most Effective Meditations for Insomnia

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.

Insomnia, or chronic sleeplessness, has huge, negative effects on health. Loss of sleep leads to poor memory, depressed mood, serious mental stress, and more.

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.

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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.

For even better sleep, pair up your meditation practice with these foods or additional methods of falling asleep.

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.

Catching Your Zzz’s Could Inspire Partner’s Pet Peeves!

Recent research shows that couples who sleep together, (and particularly mates that snuggle close) live longer, happier and healthier lives. However, for every study that supports night time cuddling, I can cite one that concludes sharing a bed with your significant other is not only grounds for divorce, but also perhaps a justifiable homicide.

Featured Image: Moyan Brenn // CC 2.0

All kidding aside, maybe these aren’t exactly scientific reports, but my own personal relationship experiences (and surveys with friends),  prove that when the lights go down, the annoyance factor goes up!

Interestingly, much of the irritation has to do with the way your bedfellow breathes. Or doesn’t breathe, as the case may be. And snoring is so obvious a destructive stresser, that I’m omitting that one altogether!

Remember Seinfeld and how he had names for his certain characters with their distinctive ways of speaking like the now famous “Low Talker” and “The High Talker?” This type of labeling happens to translate quite nicely to Folks With Disruptive Sleep Habits. Behold as I bring you my Top Ten.

 

The 10 Most Common (and Bothersome!) Sleeping Companions!

 

  1. The Close Breather: This person won’t be satisfied until their exhalations are steaming up your neck or face like the fogging of a car window on a first date. I can’t think of anything more maddening than hot breath directed on your cheek during an already sweltering midsummer’s night’s dream.
  2. The TurnOver: This individual could get a part time job making Caesar salads in restaurants, they habitually toss so much. Seemingly oblivious to the rocking and rolling of the mattress, they’ll express genuine concern when you startle awake from one of their maneuvers. “What’s the matter – have a bad dream?” To which you should appropriately reply….”Yes, and it was 8.9 on the Richter scale.”
  3. The Erratic Inhaler: It’s normally a tranquil, relaxing experience getting lulled to sleep while listening to someone you adore settle into a regular rhythmic breathing pattern for the night. But try tuning in to the respiration of a lover who breathes in, out, in, out, in, out and then . . . nothing, one, two, three . . . still nothing, four, five six . . . more nothing, seven, eight . . . oh my goodness should I call 911? Then huge gasp!  (A strong recommendation to get checked for sleep apnea if this describes your sheet-mate’s breathing behavior.)
  4. The Flailer Assailer: This bed bully not only thrashes his legs and smashes his arms, but elbows are often the preferred weapon of choice. And don’t expect an apology because they always have a valid reason for giving you what you deserve. And it has to do with #5.
  5. The Vivid Dreamer: Their nightmares put Stephen King to shame and inevitably you’re the featured antagonist in either some gruesome murder scene or else you’re the cad who’s just been unfaithful. It never fails that if you’ve had a recent argument, (especially one that’s gone unresolved) they will conjure up dreams of your affair and you’ll forever hear “you cheated on me!” for weeks to come. “That hussy!”
  6. The Velcro Fellow: You’ve become the human teddy bear in this person’s bedroom fantasy. No position is too uncomfortable for you to be expected to pretzel twist your body into, so they can attach themselves to you for security and comfort. And this isn’t just temporarily while you both serenely drift off after lovemaking. Nope, this is for The. Entire. Night. Think you can ditch ‘em in a vacant corner of a king sized mattress? Think again. You can run, but you cannot hide from “The Velcro Fellow.”
  7. The Grinder Reminder: You’ll never think of grinding as a provocative dance move again after sleeping with someone who gnashes their teeth together all night long. Emitting a sound more painful than fingernails on chalkboards, you’re probably wondering what it could possibly be a reminder for? To buy more ear-plugs, of course.
  8. The Temperature Tantrumer: He or she simply cannot cope with how cold or hot it is in the boudoir and you’re gonna succumb to their blanket-bombing all night long. The quilt is thrown off, no now it’s on, look out now the 15 lb. goose down comforter has been brought out and it’s coming in for a landing!
  9. The Talker Squalker: They jabber incessantly in their sleep (Or maybe they just have attention seeking behavior?) and at first you’ll think you’re getting special insight into their secret thoughts. “There’s too much sand on the beach for a broom. I said use a vacuum!” But amusement and intrigue soon turns to annoyance and finally rage. Be quiet, already!
  10. The “No big dealer” Stealer: Yes, when you awaken the next morning they have all the pillows, the sheets, and possibly even your pajamas on THEIR side of the bed.  And these items were pilfered one at a time in an insidious manner — but are you going to press charges? Of course not. Simply bait the thief with the “this tag may not be removed under penalty of law!” label on your mattress pad and wait for the cops to pick them up instead.

At the end of the day (or evening!) it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to change your bedmate’s long ingrained bad habits, so it’s best to save your breath and just check out Spire for a much more relaxing night!