Using Mindfulness Meditation to Improve Sleep
There is always a lot to deal with from tight deadlines to other work-related pressures like ‘unrealistic’ company targets, and other work and life stresses. And the worst thing about all these stresses and pressures is that they not only leave you mentally, physically, and emotionally drained, but can also affect your ability to fall asleep.
Insomnia is a real problem that affects a majority of the adult population in the USA and in most other countries. And while there are many ways of dealing with it, meditation is emerging as one of the latest and most effective ones. A few years ago meditation was only thought to be a way of balancing your thoughts or improving your spiritual awareness. But nowadays more and more people accept it as a useful method of dealing with sleep problems.
How Mindfulness Meditation Can Improve Sleep
#1 It Literally Shuts Out Your Thoughts
Whether you are thinking about that important project that you are yet to finish or are just anxious about an upcoming event or relationship matters, the chances are that you will find it hard to sleep. The thoughts that keep troubling your mind and seem hard to get rid off or forget will make it impossible to get long and restorative rest. However, mindfulness meditation can help with this.
In its most basic definition meditation is the art of quieting and clearing all your thoughts. And this alone should show you that it will be very helpful if you have anything that is troubling your mind and making it hard for you to sleep. Meditation helps to set the stage for a peaceful and restful night by not only making it easy for you to forget the issues on your mind but also allowing you to focus on the present moment instead of dwelling on the worries of the day.
#2 Meditation Relaxes and Soothes Your Tired Body
If you have never tried mindfulness meditation before it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of ways to relax the body after a tiring day. However, there is more than enough proof and research findings to prove that it is, in fact, one of the best methods of soothing and relaxing tired and achy muscles. Sleeping when not tired is also equally hard but mindful meditation can also help with this by relaxing your body.
Meditation triggers a relaxation response that starts from the brain and trickles down to the body to calm and soothe your muscles after a long day. Also, by encouraging your breath to deepen as you meditate, you will also send signals to both the mind and body that it is time to relax. And once your body relaxes it becomes easier for you to fall asleep and you are almost guaranteed to get some quality shut-eye.
You can combine the benefits of mindfulness meditation with relaxing herbs to improve your sleep. You can read about my favorite – Five Herbs for Better Sleep. They will help you relax your body and mind, fall asleep faster, and rest longer. And I have instructions on How to Make Your Own Herbal Sleep Tincture – you can make your own custom blend. Making your own tinctures is really quite simple and an enjoyable way to work with herbal remedies.
#3 It Can Boost Melatonin Production
Melatonin is one of the most important neurochemicals in the sleep process. It is the compound that is in charge of regulating the sleep cycle and not enough melatonin is one of the main reasons why many people have problems falling asleep. The production of melatonin tends to peak at night just before bedtime as the body sends signals to the brain that it is time to sleep. However, stress and anxiety tend to inhibit its production and hence making it hard for you to sleep.
Luckily mindfulness meditation can help you with this as there are research findings that show that it can boost the production of melatonin. One study conducted by Rutgers University where researchers found that meditation will on average boost the production of melatonin by 98%. And some individuals will even see a rise in their melatonin levels up to an impressive 300%.
By meditating, you will help the brain balance all the biological markers which will result in night after night of long and natural sleep. Also, boosting your melatonin levels through meditation offers a natural and more long-lasting solution than taking melatonin supplements.
Simple Ways to do Mindfulness Meditation
When most people think of meditation, they assume that it is a complex art that requires a special technique and takes ages to master. While it is true that it takes years to perfect your meditation skills, you do not need to be a pro to get its sleep benefits. There are some simple ways of meditation that anyone can do even without any prior practice or experience.
#1 Counting Backwards
If you have sleep problem the chances are that you already know that counting backward from 100 can be very useful. But, what you might not know is that this is also a form of meditation. There is no right or wrong thing when it comes to mindfulness rituals and if counting backward works for you, then it will be great.
#2 Relaxing Mantra
A calming and relaxing mantra that you repeat on and on will be very useful. And you do not have to say it out loud because repeating it silently in a quiet room is even more useful. Repeating the mantra is also a great way to take your mind off things that might be stressing you.
#3 Deep Breathing
Deep abdominal breathing is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind and unwind after a long day. And it also does not take a lot of effort to master. Sparing a few minutes before bed for deep breathing exercises can help to ensure you get some snooze.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways to deal with your sleep issues and it is also an easy method as it does not require any special skills. But even as you meditate, you should also combine this with other insomnia remedies like exercising, taking a hot bath and brewing a cup of herbal tea. Also, making meditation a routine thing will make it more useful.