After suffering with lack of sleep for several years I started looking for alternative ways to get some shut eye. After trying all sorts of things I was recommended to try meditation, I was sceptical to begin with and wondered 'does sleep meditation work?'
It sounded too easy but in this article we'll go through some of the reasons for insomnia and show you why you might want to consider using meditation instead of or alongside more traditional remedies.
Causes of Insomnia
At the end of a long exhausting day, all you want to do is lay down in your bed, close your eyes, and fall to sleep, right? It might sound easy, but that's not the case for over half of the world’s population.
Even those who can get to sleep quickly have a tough time staying asleep.
Yet, insomnia isn’t only defined by the difficulty people face when falling asleep, waking up too early and having difficulty falling back asleep also falls under the term.
There are a number of causes of insomnia that include (but are not limited to):
Insomnia is such a frustrating condition that both laymen and medical professionals alike are always looking for different ways to treat it.
Current mainstream advice mainly includes a combination of the following:
For anyone trying to deal with insomnia, these are all great options but sometimes it takes a little more than basic lifestyle changes.
So, What Else Can You try?
The stress of insomnia can be so acute that it results in some people turning to unhealthy and often desperate methods such as overdosing on sleep medication, downing a cocktail of over-the-counter supplements, or even illegal substances.
Unfortunately, these choices can have some disastrous results. They can have long lasting side effects, lead to hospitalization or even death. Fortunately, there is an option with no side effects, it needs very few resources, and is a highly effective complement to the above listed healthy lifestyle changes: meditation for sleep.
What Is Meditation?
So, does sleep meditation work to help insomnia? Isn't it just for buddhist monks and long haired, sandal-wearing hippie types?
When you think of meditation, you probably think you need to be sitting on the floor with your legs crossed. Whilst that is a common position for meditation, that isn't all that meditation is.
Meditation encompasses different options, from simply sitting in silence, to following a voice-guided meditation or even listening to white noise or nature sounds whilst practicing mindfulness.
Stress and Meditation
Reducing stress is one of the main intended outcomes of meditation. It makes a lot of sense when you understand that many of the root causes of insomnia are linked to stress.
Meditation and mindfulness can:
While it’s easy to find a quiet area and sit down to practice mindfulness, it can be even more effective to try a variety of meditation options to help you get to sleep and stay asleep.
Voice-Guided Meditation For Sleep
When you’re suffering from anxiety or stress, sometimes sitting down in a quiet place isn’t enough because your mind tends to wander, especially if you are new to meditation.
Fortunately, voice-guided meditation takes the pressure off of trying to collect your thoughts and achieve a state of mindfulness.
Voice-guided meditation takes the stress away from trying to clear your subconscious mind and lets someone talk you through each step.
Adults who achieve a state of mindfulness through guided meditation not only have an easier time falling asleep at night but benefit from an improved quality of sleep.
Relaxing Music Meditation For Sleep
It’s no secret that music has stress-reducing effects. That’s because, when listening to relaxing music, the body flips the switch on for its parasympathetic nervous system (this is the system responsible for calming your body’s stress response).
Listening to relaxing music in the background can help enhance meditation for sleep. I find it especially helpful to enhance the meditation experience by adding aromatherapy candles.
This well-rounded approach of appealing sounds and smells really help to calm the nerves, reduce stress, and improve the meditation experience for sleep.
White Noise Meditation For Sleep
If you don't want to have relaxing music in the background but still want to mask distracting background sounds, then you should try white noise to help keep your mind focused during meditation for sleep.
White noises help us wind down at the end of a busy day and can focus our brains instead of letting them wander off in different directions to cause unnecessary stress.
Even in hospitals, white noise can help improve patients' sleep quality, so it's not surprising that it's effective as a background sound for meditation. Much like hospital patients, meditation while lying down with white noise helps someone fall asleep quickly.
Try adding a weighted blanket when meditating in bed. This helps stimulate serotonin release, which also helps improve sleep quality after meditation.
Something else I personally use that really help are the Bose sleep buds. These are tiny, very comfortable earbuds that are designed specifically to help you sleep. There are absolutely fantastic for helping you to switch off.
Nature Sounds Meditation For Sleep
We live in a noisy world full of ringing phones, beeping cars, and screaming children.
Sometimes it’s good to calm our minds with the relaxing sounds of nature.
In fact, listening to nature sounds helps lower your blood pressure and your overall stress levels.
Nature sounds vary from the chirping of birds in a forest to the crashing of waves against the beach.
Listening to these sounds during a meditation session reduces insomnia and leads to a better quality of sleep.
So, does sleep meditation work?
Does sleep meditation work? In my experience, I can say absolutely yes it does!
Practicing meditation and mindfulness are the perfect complement to healthy lifestyle changes in an overall program towards improving the quality of sleep and beating insomnia. I highly recommend you try it today!
Our Favourite Meditation and Sleep Resources
So if you are worried you don't have time for meditation this is perfect ! The best part is... it's FREE!
MeditATION & Sleep Tech:
You might think that technology and meditation don’t really mix, but there are some great tools out that that really can help.
At first glance, the MindPlace Kasina DeepVision device looks like an old school IPod with VR glasses... but don't be fooled!
This is probably THE best device to help you get into a deep meditative state.
I’ve found that using specially designed tech such as the Bose sleepbuds have helped me to fall asleep quicker.
Whilst there are cheaper options, I personally use the Bose sleepbuds as they are unrivalled in their design and quality.
Lumie SAD Lights:
In our house we have 3 of the ‘Lumie’ bodyclock’ lights (one for myself, my wife and my daughter).
It’s a specially designed clock that imitates the colours of sunrise and sunset. This is fantastic for helping you to unwind before going to sleep with its fading sunset feature.
Even with blackout curtains I still had trouble with slivers of light seeping in through the edges.
This used to wake me up too early, especially in summer. To avoid this I now wear this sleep mask. It’s very comfortable, doesn’t put pressure on my eyes and keeps me in a deep sleep until I naturally wake up.
Magnesium is an amazing supplement for sleep as it helps to calm your nervous system and gets your body ready for sleep.
I personally use these supplements from ‘Together’ as they are Vegan and use natural marine magnesium with no artificial additives, preservatives or processing aids.
You can also use bath salts with magnesium for a relaxing sleep-inducing bath before bedtime. Try it for yourself with these Epsom Bath salts.
One other thing that really helps to get me off to sleep is this Yogi Bedtime Tea.
I’m not generally a fan of herbal teas, but this one does taste amazing and most importantly it really does help you to get to sleep.
Since trying it for the first time several years ago I have been drinking it every night since!
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