Do you have problems falling asleep peacefully at night? If yes, then you are not alone because some surveys reveal that around 30 to 50 percent of adults across the globe regularly face the symptoms of insomnia. And the main reason for sleeping difficulty in these people is stress. It further causes tension and anxiety, which makes it even harder to fall asleep.
But you can overcome the sleeping problems in several ways, and one of them is meditation. It is known as the best relaxation technique that quiets the mind and body while improvising inner peace. Most importantly, meditating before bedtime helps in reducing insomnia and sleep issues by promoting overall peace and calmness. In this ultimate guide on meditation for better sleep, you will come to know about the different types of meditation for sleep and how you can do them to improve your sleep. Moreover, you will also know about the benefits and risks associated with it.
How does meditation help with sleep?
Meditation brings out several physiological changes in your body. These changes will introduce sleeping abilities by influencing particular processes in your body. Research on mindful meditation showed that it helps people in several ways. First and foremost, sleep problems arise from stress and worry, and in this case, meditation improves the relaxation response. Moreover, it improves control of the autonomic nervous system, which eventually reduces your wakefulness.
Below are some of the ways in which meditation helps with sleep:
- Decreases blood pressure.
- Activates parts of the brain that control your sleep.
- Reduces heart rate.
- Increases melatonin, which is a sleep hormone.
- Increases serotonin, which is a precursor of melatonin.
How to meditate?
Meditation is an effective and simple practice that you can do anytime and anywhere. You don’t require any special equipment or tool to do it. Instead, you only need a few minutes of your daily routine to calm your mind. But creating a meditation routine takes some time, patience, and practice. If you find time for meditation, you will get many benefits out of it and also enjoy the process.
Some basic steps of meditation are as follows:
- Search for a silent place. You can either sit or lie down depending on what feels perfect for you. If you are meditating during bedtime, then lying down would be preferable.
- Next, close your eyes and try breathing slowly. Inhale and exhale deeply and focus on your breathing.
- If any thought comes to your mind, then let it go and focus back on your breathing.
Remember to be patient with yourself while meditating. You can start practicing for 3 to 5 minutes before bedtime and gradually increase it to 15-30 minutes. Now let us dig deeper into the different types of meditation techniques that help you sleep better and the steps to do them.
Meditation for better sleep:
- Mindfulness meditation:
This meditation technique needs you to focus on the present. It is practiced by increasing the awareness of your consciousness, body, and breathing. While practicing the mindfulness meditation, if you notice any random thought or emotion, then let it pass out and refocus on your breathing without judging yourself.
Steps to practice mindfulness meditation-
- Start by removing all the distractions from your room, such as phones, laptops, etc., and lie down in a comfortable state.
- Focus on your breathing peacefully. You need to inhale for 10 counts, hold your breath for 10 counts, and then exhale for 10 counts. Repeat the same process five times.
- Next, inhale and tense your body. After that, you need to pause, relax, and exhale and repeat it five times.
- Pay attention to your breath and body. If any of your body parts feels tight, then try to relax.
- If any thought pops up in your mind, slowly divert it and focus on your breathing.
- Guided Meditation:
In this meditation technique, there will be a person to lead you through each step of meditation. This person may instruct you to follow certain steps like breathing or relaxing your body in a particular way. Sometimes, the person may even ask you to visualize certain sounds or images. This type of meditation is also called guided imagery.
You can follow the guided meditation for better sleep by listening to a recording of meditating sounds. You can find these sounds at online streaming services, your local music collection, meditation apps, or meditation podcasts.
Steps to practice guided meditation-
- Choose a recording. Dim the lights of your room and the device you are using to listen to the guided meditation.
- Start listening to the recording by lying down in bed and breathe deeply.
- Focus on whatever recording you are listening to and let your mind focus on the music or person’s voice.
- Body Scan Meditation:
In this meditation technique, you will focus on each body part. This meditation technique aims to increase awareness of your physical senses, including pain and tension. Your focus on this practice leads to relaxation, which helps your sleep better.
Steps to practice body scan meditation-
- Remove the distractions from your room like laptops, smart phones, etc., and lie down in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes and start breathing slowly. Pay attention to the weight of your body while lying on the bed.
- Try to focus on your face and soften your eyes, jaw, and facial muscles.
- Relax the face and shoulder by moving them slowly.
- Continue doing it for the rest of your body.
- If any thought comes to your mind, then refocus on your meditation and repeat the relaxation process to attain peace of mind.
Are there any risks associated with meditation?
Meditation is a low-risk practice, and it is usually considered safe for the majority of people. But if you have any medical problem or a history of mental illness, then meditation might have certain side effects on you, such as anxiety, dizziness, or mood changes. Hence, it is better to talk to your doctor before you start meditation in case of medical history.
Getting a peaceful sleep can be difficult for many of you, but you can overcome the difficulties by practicing meditation. It is observed that meditation calms the mind and promotes better sleep so ensure you follow any one of the meditation techniques mentioned above and improve your sleep quality.