Meditation for Sleep: Benefits, Techniques, and More
Forget counting sheep—meditation for sleep can provide your body deep rest and energy, focus, and contentment come morning. Let’s dive in.
Do you lay awake all night tossing and turning in a desperate attempt to fall asleep? Are you kept awake by torrential thoughts, twisted sheets, and stress and anxiety about your day?
If so, you’re not alone. Difficulty getting a good night’s sleep is a common problem that plagues an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans. But before you reach for the Ambien, you should know about an increasingly popular, non-medicinal way you can rest easier: meditation for sleep.
Forget counting sheep—sleep meditation can help you catch the Z’s to provide your body with deep rest and energy, focus, and contentment come morning. Let’s dive in.
The surprising links between sleep and meditation
Meditation is a relaxation technique that aims to quiet the mind and relax the body. According to its origins in ancient eastern religions, the goal of meditation is reach inner peace and spiritual enlightenment. For decades, meditation has also been a widespread method of improving sleep.
But can meditation actually help you sleep? The answer is yes. A 2015 study found that meditation helped relieve insomnia symptoms and related fatigue during the day among people with regular sleep struggles.
In part, this is because meditation mimics many of the conditions that your body associates with the early stages of sleep by:
- Increasing sleep hormones – Studies suggest that meditation helps your brain produce serotonin and melatonin, hormones that help you sleep.
- Activating your brain’s sleep center – The relaxation techniques that meditation relies on can activate areas of your brain that tell your body it’s time to rest.
- Reducing your heart rate – Medication slows your heart rate, signaling to the rest of your body that it’s time to relax.
The benefits of meditation for sleep
The biggest benefit of sleep meditation is that it can help you drift off more easily. That alone can improve your health in a number of ways. Among other benefits, like being more productive in your daily routine, getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night can:
- Boost your immune system
- Promote heart health
- Lower your risk of diseases like diabetes
Beyond getting better deep sleep, there are many other benefits to be gained from incorporating meditation into your nightly routine. While meditation is a spiritual practice, it’s also scientifically backed and proven to help:
- Relieve stress
- Lessen depression symptoms
- Alleviate anxiety symptoms
- Reduce inflammation
- Increase daytime focus and cognition
- Improve mental health
- Alleviate chronic pain
- Lower blood pressure
In some cases, regular meditation may even help you break addictions, be more empathic, and even prevent age-related memory loss. To help you ease into a state of relaxation and reap the benefits of meditation, Alfred provides CBD & Wellness bundles to prioritize your self-care and sleep.
How to use meditation for sleep
If you’re, well, tired of staying up all night, you’ll be glad to know that meditation for sleep is an easy way to decompress and turn down the noise on everything that’s been keeping you up. Although you might associate meditation with yoga mats, chanting, and singing bowls, the truth is you only need a quiet place and a few spare minutes.
The easiest way to meditate is to:
- Find a quiet spot – The key to meditation is to free yourself from distractions that cloud your mind. That begins with finding a quiet, comfortable place where you feel safe and at peace. You may sit or lie down.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply – With our eyes closed to outside distractions, begin taking a series of very deep, even breaths, focusing on each one and how your body feels as it fills up with oxygen. If you have trouble with this, try counting. Breath in for eight counts, then out for eight counts.
- Ignore your brain – It’s natural for your brain to keep going even when you’re trying to meditate. As thoughts creep in, acknowledge them and then let them pass. Focusing on the inward and outward motion of your breathing can help yourself concentrate on your body’s sensations rather than your thoughts.
Start by meditating for short lengths of time, such as three to five minutes. Then, as it starts to become more natural, you can gradually work your way up to 10, 15, 20 minutes, or even longer.
Techniques for meditation
Although meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing, there are various techniques you can try if you want to meditate more deeply, for longer, or for better results.
To that end, here are three popular meditation techniques to help you embark on your better-sleep journey/
1. Guided meditation
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to meditate as long as you’re clearing your mind, finding your center, and relaxing your body. Still, combating the swirl of thoughts and feelings that are bound to crop up can be easier with a little help.
That’s where guided meditation comes in. In guided meditation, another person leads you through your meditation, giving you instructions for breathing, body relaxation, and visualization.
Thanks to technology, you don’t need a live guide for guided meditation these days. If you need a little assistance, consider:
- Meditation apps – A quick search of your app store will reveal the plethora of meditation app options out there. Calm, Slumber, Headspace, and Buddhify are all popular options.
- Meditation podcasts – There are several sleep-focused meditation podcasts that combine elements of guided meditation with deep breathing exercises, relaxing music, and even boring stories to lull you to sleep. Sleep Whispers, Meditation Oasis, and Meditation Station are just some examples.
You can also find guided meditation recordings on music and video streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.
2. Mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation relies solely on you. It encourages you to become mindful of the present moment by focusing on your body, breathing, and pushing extraneous matters to the side.
For mindfulness meditation, find a quiet, distraction-free place to relax. Lie down your back with your arms at your side. With your eyes closed:
- Inhale – Breathe in for ten full seconds. As you do so, tense the muscles of your body and hold.
- Exhale – Breathe out for ten full seconds, releasing the tension in your body along with your breath. As you exhale, pay attention to your body. If tension lingers anywhere, focus on releasing it.
3. Body scan meditation
No, this form of meditation doesn’t involve subjecting yourself to a photo-imaging scan. Instead, it involves guiding your mental focus to various parts of your body to increase your bodily awareness. It also encourages you to tap into and focus on your physical feelings.
It sounds strange, but body scan meditation is as easy as laying down on your bed, closing your eyes, and breathing slowly. As you take deep, measured breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, mentally scan your body:
- Face – Relax the muscles in your face. We tend to carry tension in our jaws, mouths, eyes, and brows, so focus on those areas to fully let go of tension.
- Neck and shoulders – Next, focus on relaxing the muscles in your neck and shoulders. As you exhale, visualize your muscles loosening.
- Torso, arms, and fingers – Let the relaxation spread through your chest and stomach and out through your arms to the furthest edges of your fingertips.
- Legs, feet, and toes – Move on to your legs, relaxing your thighs and calves. Wiggle your toes, then let your feet go limp.
How to make meditation a part of your sleep routine
Forming new habits isn’t always easy, no matter how good they are for you. But by making a few smart choices and wise changes, you can easily integrate meditation for sleep into your nightly routine. Here are a few tips:
- Set aside time for meditation – You’ll never make a habit of meditating if it’s something you try to squeeze in at the last minute. Instead, devote a certain amount of time each night, just before bed, to relax your body.
- Make meditation a commitment – Whether your goal is to achieve enlightenment or improve your sleep, commit yourself to your meditation practice. That means showing up and doing it every time with full intentions.
- Go easy on yourself – Keep in mind that meditation takes practice. For a lot of people, sitting in complete silence with your eyes closed isn’t the most natural exercise. Easing yourself into it will help minimize the frustration you might initially feel until it’s a regular part of your routine.
- Enlist some help – Whether it’s a guided meditation or Alfred’s CBD & Wellness bundles, utilize calming techniques that help you enter into a state of relaxation more easily.
Find the time to relax with Alfred
Meditation for sleep might sound great, but if a hectic schedule is a part of what’s keeping you from rest, how will you ever have time to meditate?
With Alfred’s luxury services, you can outsource the daily tasks and big projects that keep you from doing the things you want to do—whether that’s spending time with your family or getting a good night’s sleep. From grocery shopping and apartment cleaning to taking care of the laundry, plus a host of additional resident services, Alfred does it all.
And if you get serious about meditation, we’ll be there with any cushions, incense, or other accessories you need. Just let us know in the app.
You don’t have to be a meditation guru to know that when it comes to property management solutions, Alfred is the name for luxury and convenience. Find out more today.
- American Sleep Apnea Association. The State of Sleep Health in America. https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/#
- Positive Psychology. The History and Origin of Meditation. https://positivepsychology.com/history-of-meditation/
- JAMA Network. Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults with Sleep Disturbances. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2110998
- SCL Health. The Benefits of Getting a Full Night’s Sleep. https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2018/09/the-benefits-of-getting-a-full-night-sleep/
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Get Enough Sleep. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/everyday-healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep#panel-2
- Healthline. 3 Ways to Meditate for Better Sleep. https://www.healthline.com/health/meditation-for-sleep#body-scan
- Sleep Foundation. How Sleep Meditation Works. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/natural-sleep-aids/sleep-meditation
- Calm. https://www.calm.com/
- Sumber. https://slumber.fm/