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How To Use Meditation for Sleep Improvement

How To Use Meditation for Sleep Improvement

In the past few years, the age-old practice of meditation is becoming increasingly popular, and it is easy to see why. Allowing ourselves to let go in this way significantly improves overall well-being.

At the same time, using meditation as a tool can benefit mental health and help you fall asleep fast while also improving sleep quality. Let’s discuss how you can use meditation sessions, affirmations, breathing exercises to decrease your heart rate and anxiety while improving your mind-body connection.

What Is Meditation, and How Does It Relate To Sleep Hygiene?

When you think about it, the concepts of both sleep and meditation actually fit together perfectly. The very essence of meditation is a practice where you hone your focus entirely.

During meditation, you can choose to target this focus onto your body, your mind, or your surroundings. This decision will ultimately depend on which types of meditation you are trying to do and what you want to accomplish.

There are a variety of meditation techniques, but some of the most effective ones for sleep specifically are guided meditation, body-centered meditation, and some kinds of mindfulness meditation.

It is true that engaging in meditation can let you reach a deep sleep fast, but it can also put you in a better headspace where inner peace is a priority.

There is a common misconception that the goal of meditation is to completely clear your mind, but we are instead trying to create an awareness surrounding our thoughts. It is completely natural when your mind wanders, which is not a cause for concern.

Simply acknowledge your thoughts as they pass, and do not judge them. This is a form of mindfulness meditation that many people find immensely comforting in their lives and can help with mental health.

Essential Oils Can Boost Your Meditative Journey

Since meditation is all about your awareness, it stands to reason that essential oils would provide a wonderful opportunity to become even more attuned to your body. Different combinations of oils have different purposes, but the SleepyPatch is specifically formulated to provide the best night’s sleep possible.

These patches work fantastically for adults to reach a sense of calm. But, these kid-friendly can also introduce children to self-soothing methods (and help them fall asleep faster). Simply place the sticker on your or a loved one’s shirt, and it will emit a steady flow of essential oils throughout the night so that you can fall asleep and stay asleep.

Just like with meditation, essential oils have been used for generations to naturally and positively affect our moods. In terms of making yourself feel more tired naturally, essential oils are definitely the best smelling. Finding natural sleep aids for kids and adults can be difficult, but it does not have to be.

Use Guided Sleep Meditation

Many adults have experience with insomnia. Whether this is a chronic issue or they simply experience periods during especially stressful times, we could all use a hack to get good sleep. Little did we know that one of the best “hacks” around was right under our noses the entire time. 

Instead of lying down and running the previous day's events through your head or considering what the upcoming day will bring, using guided meditation helps us wind down. Luckily, there are many meditation apps, videos, and podcasts that can calm your mind.

Some guided meditation will employ a technique known as visualization. In visualization meditation, you will often be talked through a particularly tranquil scenario such as being at the top of a mountain, on a warm beach, or another kind of natural setting. Another popular type of sleep meditation is known as “body-centered meditation,” which we will explore shortly.

Make a Playlist of White Noise, Rain Sounds, or Relaxing Music

Since meditation aims to reach a heightened and more tranquil state of awareness, some people find that other audio aids can be beneficial.

Guided meditation is a wonderful relaxation method for both beginners and experts alike, but other sounds can provide new states of calm. If you or someone you know regularly likes to fall asleep with white noise in the background, they may have already been practicing their own form of this.

You may be made especially relaxed by natural sounds such as rain, waves, bird calls, or something else. In a sense, this uses sounds to enhance the experience of visualization.

It might be much easier for the more audio-inclined to picture yourself on a beach with the sounds of waves to accompany you. On the other hand, meditation music could be your preferred soundscape to fall asleep quickly and soundly.

What Are Body-Centered Meditation Techniques?

Remember how we mentioned body-centered meditation techniques earlier? They are well worth revisiting because these techniques are among the most effective for helping you to fall asleep.

It is no secret that getting better sleep is key to improving mental clarity over the day, but getting to the root of how we can better our sleep is often more of a mystery.

Aptly, the so-called body-centered meditation techniques revolve around your body and your awareness of it. By becoming more aware of your physical state, you tend to overthink less while also really understanding how you relate to your surroundings. Since the act of quieting your mind is such an integral element of falling asleep, people have turned to these body-centered methods for years.

Body Scan Meditation

While “body scan meditation” might sound a bit clinical, it is a profoundly mindful exercise that allows you to take stock of each part of yourself. With this kind of meditation, you consciously remove any and all distractions and simply focus on your body.

While performing a session of body scan meditation, you will gradually make your way down your body. Starting with the top of your head and face, really take the time to understand how each muscle is feeling.

If you notice any tension whatsoever, consciously relax those areas. Once you are confident that that area of your body is relaxed, you can continue down to your chin, neck, chest, and so on. 

Body scan meditation is such a critical tool for falling asleep because it accomplishes two main goals:

  • First, it allows you to become entirely in the present moment.
  • Second, you are actively removing tension from your muscles. As being fully relaxed both mentally and physically are crucial parts of falling asleep, it stands to reason that this technique would be even more effective.

Breathing Exercises

The practice of deep breathing is a well-known one for managing anxious thoughts, but it originated as a body-centered meditation technique. You can count how many seconds you breathe in, hold your breath, and breathe out.

It is also often beneficial to place a hand on your abdomen to actively feel your lungs expanding. During this time, focus as much as possible on the physical sensations you are experiencing.

Engage in Meditation Practice Throughout the Day

Meditating at night to fall asleep is better than not engaging in any of these activities, but the benefits you receive at night can be amplified by engaging in consistent meditation practices.

We all know that being calm and free of anxiety helps tremendously when falling asleep. JAMA found that mindfulness meditation can reduce overall feelings of stress and anxiety.

What Is Mindfulness Meditation?

In order to reap the benefits that mindfulness meditation can elicit, it is essential to practice it correctly. Not shockingly, mindfulness is a state of mind. You have to allow your thoughts to wander. Experience them completely without judgment.

You can set aside certain times that you dedicate to this kind of meditative thinking throughout the day. At the same time, it can also be helpful to adopt elements of this practice into many of your thought processes.

Don’t Sleep on Meditation

If there is one thing that has the potential to improve nearly every facet of our lives, it is getting better sleep. If we do not get restful sleep, it is so much more challenging to be our best selves throughout the day. By meditating before bed and possibly throughout the day, we can get much better sleep.

Good night and sleep tight; don’t let the mosquitoes bite.


Sources:

What Is Meditation? | Very Well Mind

Mindfulness, Interoception, and the Body: A Contemporary Perspective | National Institutes of Health

Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis | Complementary and Alternative Medicine | JAMA Network

Why and How to Do a Mental Body Scan for Stress Relief | Very Well Mind

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