Everyone has a sleepless night once in a while. Those who suffer from chronic insomnia, however, know that it can wreak havoc not only with your physical health but with your emotional well-being, too.
If you suffer from insomnia, you have likely tried all of the tricks and tips that experts recommend. You use your bed for sleep only, you shut off electronics before bedtime, you take a calming bath as part of a pre-sleep ritual. You may have even experimented with supplements as well as over the counter or prescription medications.
Instead of medication, try meditation for sleep. You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain! Read on to learn more about this ancient practice and how it can help you get your ZZZs.
What Is Meditation?
When you hear the word meditation, what do you think of? Chances are it’s a yogi on a mountaintop, sitting cross-legged with his eyes closed, maybe chanting. But meditation is something anyone can do, anywhere, and virtually any time. You can choose a seated meditation, a walking meditation, or one where you are lying down in your bed, ready to sleep. (See where we’re going with that?)
Meditation is a set of techniques or practices that help you to focus your attention, heighten your awareness, and alter your consciousness.
What Are the Effects of Meditation?
If meditation were marketed as a prescription medication, the side effects would be virtually nonexistent. You’d probably get the impression that this was a miracle drug! Just a few of the effects meditation can have include:
- Reduced stress
- A more optimistic outlook
- Lowered anxiety and depression
- Enhanced self-awareness
- A longer attention span
- Better memory
- Reduction in addictive behaviors
- A decrease in blood pressure
- Less physical pain
In short, meditation can truly change your life — for the better.
How Does Meditation for Sleep Help?
One 2015 study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that people who meditated before bedtime fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer. After the six-week trial was over, those who had engaged in mindfulness meditation reported a decrease in insomnia, fatigue, and depression.
When you try to sleep, do you experience racing or runaway thoughts? Do you worry about what’s to come, or relive painful memories? Meditation can help with this so-called “monkey mind.”
By focusing the mind, meditation helps people control their racing thoughts. It also helps with the physical tension that can prevent sleep. Meditation is relaxing, which makes it easier to fall asleep.
What’s the Best Way to Meditate?
Some people are able to focus on their breathing. Others like to listen to meditation or self-hypnosis audio recordings or YouTube videos. Others find that listening to certain music can help them focus their attention.
It may take some time and experimentation before you discover the best way to meditate for you.
Meditation for sleep is a powerful tool. And its effects go deeper than just the time you spend snoozing. Once you make meditation a regular practice, you may find your life improving in all areas, not just in bed!
Have you tried meditation? Do you have any tips for your fellow insomniacs? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!