Can Meditation Improve My Sleep?
For centuries, meditation has been practiced as a path to better self-reflection and groundedness and innovated as a tool to deepen our well-being. There are countless benefits to meditation including creating connection, relieving stress, clearing the mind, providing clarity, etc. While all of these benefits have enormous effects on our health and well-being, how does meditation impact our sleep patterns? Let’s take a look!
There are many everyday factors that can interrupt our sleep- the stress from the day, chronic insomnia, racing thoughts, depression, hours spent in front of blue screens… The list goes on and on. While all of these factors actively prevent us from getting the sleep we need, stress seems to be the #1 inhibitor. We’ve all been there. Our busy schedules, multiple errands, and tight deadlines at work seem to creep into our lives at home. We are constantly thinking about that stressful meeting at work today and what we have to get done tomorrow in order to stay ahead and our kids’ sports practices that they have to get to on time and the other million things on our to-do lists. By the time we finally get in bed and try to sleep, all the stress from our day keeps our minds racing and keeps us from falling asleep or getting adequate sleep.
So, how do we stop this endless cycle?
Meditation and incorporating mindful practices into our daily lives are excellent ways to combat stress and improve our quality of sleep.
Know that meditation is not a quick fix to stress or guaranteed to help you sleep right away. Meditation is a consistent practice that can become a very valuable tool over time when it comes to your health and sleep patterns. Here are some of the benefits of incorporating meditation into your routine for better sleep:
Lessens anxiety and stress
Meditation is an excellent way to calm your mind and focus on what’s happening in the present moment. If you quiet your mind and only focus on the present, that leaves less room to worry about the future. Even if you want to start out in guided meditation every day or if you prefer to do it alone, find a quiet place and take 20-30 minutes to meditate before bed to release your stress and encourage peace into your night of sleep.
Increases melatonin and relaxes the body
Countless studies have shown that meditation actively increases melatonin in your brain- the hormone that helps you naturally sleep. Focusing on your breathing during meditation and calming your mind helps release a relaxation response throughout the body- lowering your heart rate, slow and controlled breaths, and reducing cortisol levels (stress hormone).
Helps fight other diseases
Did you know that sleeping for less than 6-7 hours regularly can increase your risk of heart disease, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and bad eating habits? Not getting enough sleep every night produces short-term and long-term effects and can lead to a number of different illnesses. Practicing meditation for sleep can improve your sleep quality and can also help your body fall asleep faster which helps remediate insomnia, depression, and even fatigue levels during the day.
Consistently practicing meditation every day reaps countless benefits. It promotes self-discipline, self-awareness, and helps us achieve a clear mind and connection with ourselves. Creating a clear mind and relieving stress through meditation helps train your body to sleep more soundly and fully.