If tossing and turning in bed for a major chunk of night has become a routine for you and your anxiety levels go up as the bedtime nears, it’s time to take corrective measures. It has been emphasized enough by health experts how a good night’s sleep is important to refresh and rejuvenate the functions of our body and mind and how 8 hours of sleep can have an impact on our overall health. Yet when it comes to setting the right sleeping ritual we struggle endlessly with no light at the end of the insomnia tunnel.
The good news is that meditation has been scientifically proven to improve your sleep quality and fix your nighttime anxiety issues that might be keeping you awake. There are different types of meditation that could help you with your sleep woes but studies have especially vouched for mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation improves cognitive functions and is known to decrease ruminative thoughts and diminish emotional reactivity. In a 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine Trusted Source, researchers analyzed how mindfulness meditation affected 49 adults with moderate sleep issues.
There are various factors that could fiddle with your sleep patterns. Things might be problematic at hormonal level or stress might be playing an intruder. Stress steals from us our ability to relax and go into a deeper state of rest. Meditation helps on various counts that could help us sleep better and longer. Meditation helps in increasing the flow of melatonin, the sleep hormone, increases serotonin, reduces heart rate, decreases blood pressure and activates parts of the brain that controls sleep.
Meditation for sleep
Meditation is a way to peep inside the deep recesses of our mind and clear the toxins that are ailing our mind and body. It takes a while for you to get used to meditation, but once you get into the groove, you start reaping its immense benefits that could transform your sleep patterns and in turn quality of life.
Preparing yourself for meditation would take just a few simple steps. Pick a quiet corner in your house that emits peaceful vibes. Get a nice and comfortable mat which you could let you relax completely. Decide a time to meditate and adhere to it.
Sit down on your mat and close your eyes. Breathe slowly and comfortably. Do not force-breathe. Inhale and exhale at a natural pace but focus on your breathing. Allow the thoughts to float away like clouds and then bring back your attention to your thoughts. No need to hurry, familiarize yourself with your mind and thought pattern.
Once you do that you would know exactly how to stop the non-stop chatter. You would also recognize the nature of anxious thoughts that play spoilsport when you try to sleep. Once you clear your mind, chances are that your mind would be prepared for the sleep time.
There are different kinds of meditation that you can practice for better sleep. Take a look:
Let’s start with the most popular form of meditation for sleep. Mindfulness is nothing but complete awareness of the present moment. In this kind of meditation, one concentrates on the breathing, on the body’s reaction to it and subsequently on the very consciousness.
Steps to do Mindfulness Meditation
Lie down in a comfortable position
Before that, switch off all the gadgets and screens.
Once you are comfortable, focus on your breathing.
Inhale and exhale and observe how your body reacts to it
Relax the body parts that feel tight
Let your thoughts come and go away and then bring back your concentration to the breath
This is the most practical and effective form of meditation for beginners who are acclimatizing themselves to meditation. In this form of meditation an expert or a trusted person gives instructions to you to relax your body in a systematic way.
Your guide may also ask you to visualize images or sounds and tell you how to go about the relaxation. It is quite possible that your mind may wander elsewhere but thoughts are less likely to trouble you because of the external voice. In any case, bring back your attention to your guide’s voice to resume your meditation.
You can try meditation podcasts, or apps to immediately start guided meditation. Make sure you are lying down in a comfortable place with zero distractions. Switch off your gadgets and finish off all your tasks before starting with the meditation as this may take a while.
Body scan meditation
This is something that will thoroughly relax you and refresh you apart from preparing you for deep sleep. Remnants of any stress could add to the chances of not getting a proper sleep. Body scan meditation allows you to remove every bit of stress from each part of your body starting from toe to head. It also helps you to focus on the pain points or the areas of the body that need attention.
Steps to do body scan meditation
Switch off your gadgets and screen at least two hours before you start with the meditation.
Once your body and mind is prepared to get relaxed, lie down on your bed in a comfortable position.
Close your eyes and breathe slowly and at a comfortable pace.
Feel your body weight against the bed.
Starting from the bottom, notice how your toes, ankles and feet are resting against the bed.
When you being your attention to them, you will also be conscious of the tightness of the muscles around the area.
Now consciously release the tension and the tightening. When you feel light enough, go up and do the same with each and every part of your body.
For example, you will realize how stiff your thigh muscles or lower back muscles are. Continue to breathe slowly and relax muscles of various body parts.
Your shoulder and neck muscles too are likely to be tight especially if you do a desk job or a job that requires being constantly alert. Relax these muscles consciously and feel like a weight has been lifted off them.
Now come to the uppermost part of your body. You may feel stiffness around your cheekbone, temple muscles, forehead or other facial muscles. Release all the stress and stiffness.
There are chances that by the end of this meditation, you are already asleep. If not, the deep relaxation will certainly aid you in improving your sleep quality.
Meditation works holistically for your well-being and not just in improving your sleep. This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to achieve your wellness goal.
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