There’s more to restful sleep than just the quantity of time you spend in bed. It’s the quality of sleep that’s important. Tossing and turning and continually looking up at the ceiling (or the clock) doesn’t accomplish anything. Meditation might be a way to help you regain control over your sleep patterns so you can get the slumber you need.
Here’s a look at what meditation for sleep entails, and how it may help you find the relief you seek.
Meditation For Sleep
In a nutshell, meditation is a way to be more aware of what’s happening in the moment, instead of being so preoccupied with the things that don’t go quite right. It’s a way to learn to appreciate life and not get so caught up in your thoughts. It just so happens that bedtime is usually when people tend to do just that – spend a lot of time worrying about what they need to do, or where they need to go.1
As it pertains to sleep, meditation can be thought of as a sort of “natural sleep aid,” one that could help you get the rest you need.
Sleep Deprivation Is A Huge Problem
Just about everybody has trouble getting to sleep at one time or another. But for some – children and adults alike – it’s more than an every once in a while occurrence. According to one survey, nearly half of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep each night. Experts believe that adults need to get anywhere from 7-9 hours in order to function at their best.2,3
So many people around the world have sleep-related issues that they spend tens of billions of dollars on sleep remedies per year. That number is expected to grow to well over $100 billion in the coming years.4
Why Might Some People Have Such A Hard Time Sleeping?
It can be difficult to sleep if your brain goes into overdrive as soon as your head hits the pillow. All those thoughts you’ve got in your head just hit you full force, making it challenging to fall asleep.
Technology may also contribute to a lack of sleep. The vast majority of Americans, 90 percent, according to one study, use a cell phone, a tablet, or a computer an hour before going to bed. They either play games, send texts, or just watch TV.5
This can have a major effect on your ability to get to sleep. Research shows that the more devices someone uses on any particular day, the harder it is for them to not only fall asleep, but also to stay asleep. It’s even harder for people who use their phone as an alarm clock or keep other devices on close to their bed.6
How Meditation Works On The Body – And How To Do It
Evidence suggests that meditation practices may have a direct effect on some of the functions of the body. It is believed that it works to both reduce stress as well as the body’s sensitivity to discomfort. It may reduce activity in the region of the brain known as the thalamus, which plays a role in affecting how the body perceives pain.7
So, how do you practice meditation? One way is to simply count to four while breathing in, and then count to four while breathing out. This is known as “box,” or “four by four” breathing. You can use it when you’re in bed or in any other setting.8
Here are a few more tips to help you meditate and clear your mind when you go to bed. You just might see an improvement in sleep quality.
- Instead of thinking about how you can’t get to sleep, try thinking of “positive distractions.” Picture yourself at your favorite beach, sitting in a chair watching the waves. If you try it, you might be able to feel the sun or smell the salt from the water. This could eventually lead to a peaceful dream and some fantastic sleep.
- Don’t try to block out stressful thoughts – allow them to enter your mind instead of trying to push them out. Then, think about what will happen once the stress passes. If you’re worried about an upcoming work presentation, for example, picture yourself finishing it and then leaving work to meet up with friends or family for dinner. This may help you realize that whatever anxiety you’re feeling will eventually subside.
- Try to practice what is known as “mindfulness.” This basically means being mindful of the present, instead of dwelling on the past or the future. Focus on how comfy your sheets and blankets are, for example, or on the cool air coming from your air conditioner on a hot summer night.9
Other Methods Of Getting The Sleep You Need
There are a lot of other ways you can try to improve your quality of sleep besides sleep meditations. Here are some you might want to consider.
- Try to be consistent with your sleep schedule. Make it a point to go to bed at about the same time each night and to get up at about the same time every morning.
- Don’t drink any alcohol or caffeine right before going to bed, and try to avoid eating any large meals.
- Exercise on a regular basis. If you’re physically active during the day, that could help make you tired enough to get the sleep you need.
- Your bedroom needs to be a place to relax. Keep the temperature cool, and keep the room dark and quiet.
- Don’t keep any electronic devices near your bed. This includes tablets, smartphones, and, yes, televisions.10
Still Having Trouble Sleeping? It Might Be Time To Talk To Your Doctor
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that sleep meditations or the other tips mentioned here will help. If you still find it challenging to fall asleep at night speak to a medical professional.11
Don’t give up trying to find solutions if you have trouble sleeping. Help is available, and it will very likely be exactly what you need.
Guided Meditation For Beginners: Practice Meditating At Home
Self Care at Home: How To Create A Meditation Space To Help Calm Your Mind
What You Need To Know About A Healthy Sleep Pattern