How Meditation Helps You Sleep Better

meditation and sleep

Meditating involves the art of contemplation and reflection intended to train the mind to build awareness and, essentially, to put the mental processes under voluntary control.

Meditation is a relaxation technique that can help quieten the mind and body while boosting inner peace. While meditation can be done at different periods of the day, it can help reduce insomnia and sleep troubles if done before bedtime.

During meditation, a variety of physiological changes occur in your body, specifically in the brain. These changes can induce sleep by influencing specific processes in your body.

 

Benefits of meditation to your sleep

Meditation helps the brain in several ways. For instance, while sleep problems may emanate from stress and worry, meditation tends to improve your relaxation response and control over the autonomic nervous system, which reduces how easily you’re awakened.

Meditation can also improve your sleep by doing the following:

  • Increase the sleep hormone – melatonin
  • Increase serotonin – the precursor of melatonin
  • reduce heart rate
  • decrease blood pressure
  • activate parts of the brain that control sleep

These processes are needed to ensure you have the best sleep experience. Therefore, meditating before you sleep can promote sleep by initiating these changes.

 

General benefits of sleep to your system

There are 4 stages of sleep that you go through. Better sleep is just one of the many benefits of meditation. Frequent meditation can help with the following:

  • Improve your mood
  • Relieve stress
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Increase focus
  • Improve cognition
  • Reduce tobacco cravings
  • Improve your pain response
  • Control high blood pressure
  • Improve heart health
  • Reduce inflammation

 

Meditation methodology

Meditation doesn’t require special tools or equipment to carry out. It only requires you and your time, and even at that, it’s only a few minutes. Nevertheless, effective meditation requires practice and routine.

When you make meditation a routine, you have a higher chance of enjoying its benefits. Here’s how you can practice meditation:

  1. Pick out a quiet space. You can decide to either sit or lie down, depending on what makes you feel comfortable.
  2. Close your eyes, breathe slowly and relax your mind and body.
  3. Focus your mind on your breathing and nothing.

As you try meditation ahead of your sleep, have it in mind to make it a practice. You can go from a few minutes, like 3 to 5 minutes, to a longer period of 15 to 20 minutes before bedtime. This way, you can steadily learn how to quiet your mind.

Also read: 5 Meditation Techniques for Beginners

 

Risk of meditation practices

Meditation is a low-risk well-being practice, and it’s this way for most people. However, you may stand at risk if you have a record of mental illness. Meditation can trigger some side effects, which include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Depersonalization
  • Derealization
  • Dizziness
  • Intense mood changes

The chances of getting these side effects are very low. So, you may not bother about it. However, to be on the safe side, you may decide to talk to your doctor before going ahead with meditation.

 

References:

Meditation (n.d) Retrieved from Medical Dictionary Website:

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/meditation

Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances (2015) Retrieved from Jama Internal Medicine Network Website:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2110998

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