Sleep is important to so many aspects of overall health and well-being. Sleep involves both the quantity of sleep as well as the quality of sleep. As adults, getting at least seven hours of quality sleep each night is essential for optimal health. Poor sleep is linked to higher body weight. Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories. Good sleep can also improve your concentration and productivity. Poor sleepers also have a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, and type 2 diabetes. Sleep also improves your immune function, mood, and creativity.
About 30% of people struggle with sleep at any given time. Scientific research is looking at the effects of meditation on sleep. Recent research has shown that mindfulness techniques, like meditation, result in a decreased time to fall asleep as well as improved sleep time and quality.
Meditation has been shown in many studies to improve sleep. Meditation appears to place people in a more relaxed state, both physically and mentally. However, meditation takes consistency and practice. There are now apps available that people use for a more guided meditation. According to a 2020 poll of the best apps for meditation for sleep, the following apps were listed: Calm, Headspace, Aura, Insight Timer, Ten Percent Happier, Sanvello, and Portal.
From Psychology Today, a simple meditation for sleep is to focus on the breath while lying in bed as you are preparing to go to sleep. Follow the breath moving into and out of the body. As you are being aware of the breath allow yourself to sink into the bed with each breath. Imagine breathing out to the ends of the universe and breathing from there back into your body.
Another meditation technique is to visualize yourself at the top of a massive winding wood staircase. Inhale and exhale with each step down the staircase. Try to really complete the picture by imagining all of the aspects of the winding staircase as you move downwards.
By taking this mindful attitude, sleep is facilitated by simply being aware of the moment-to-moment experience of relaxing into the bed, without judging or being critical of that experience, so that the mind can gently slip into sleep. The practice of mindfulness meditation during the day can help focus the mind and decrease stress by reducing negative thoughts about the past and needless worries about the future. And that, combined with bedtime relaxation, can help you get the sleep you’ve been looking for.
Written By Carrie Company