Meditation and Sleep
Meditation and Sleep
The practice of meditation has been growing rapidly in popularity over the past few years amidst an increasingly stressed-out society looking for ways to handle triggers and stressors. It should come as no surprise that meditation and sleep have been getting researched for years now, as so many of us search for ways to sleep better.
We already know that getting good quality sleep is beneficial for almost every aspect of our health and wellness. Research on meditation alone has proven it to be beneficial for the health of our mind and body. By combining the benefits of meditation to maximize the benefits of sleep, you're creating a healthy combo that is sure to knock you out but in a good way.
Is there research on meditation and sleep?
There have been several research studies looking at how meditation affects sleep. One clinical trial published by the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that using standard mindful awareness practices improved sleep quality in older adults with sleep disturbances.
That may only be one clinical trial, but a systematic review and analysis of multiple controlled trials on meditation and sleep were completed by a group of researchers.
After reviewing all of these different studies on meditation and sleep, they confirmed that there is significant scientific evidence suggesting mindfulness meditation improves sleep quality.
How does meditation help you sleep?
Experts at Harvard tell us that meditation helps you sleep by evoking a relaxation response. By meditating every day, even during the day, you essentially train your body to relax on command through different meditation techniques. Over time you then are able to relax when you need to, like when you're having trouble falling asleep.
How do I meditate for better sleep?
There are several different types of meditation. Some are going to work better for you than others. Here are a few of the best types of meditation for better sleep.
Mindfulness meditation is the same kind of meditation that we mentioned being successful at helping people sleep in the first clinical trial we talked about. It involves being present, usually focusing on your breathing.
Guided meditation is where you listen to someone lead you through the steps of a meditation routine. There are several guided meditation apps you can use for better sleep, including Headspace, which has guided sleep meditation and a 30-day sleep course. Sleep podcasts are another way to find guided meditations for sleep.
Other Kinds of Meditation for Sleep
Although it has many benefits, traditional meditation practices aren't always for every person. There is a large community of people around the globe who use yoga as a way of meditation, and science shows yoga to help sleep in several ways. Some people find sound therapy to be an effective way of getting better sleep naturally.
No matter what way you choose to meditate for sleep, remember that they call it a meditation practice because it takes practice. It's smart to start by only meditating for a few minutes once a day and gradually work your way up to about 20 minutes at one time. If you find yourself frustrated or bored during meditation, keep trying, a little bit at a time. Before you know it, you'll be meditating your way to levels of sleep you may not know was possible.