Quality sleep is essential to our health and wellbeing, and mediation is an effective way to improve your sleep — here’s why
For those who have been suffering from sleepless nights, tossing back and forth with worry or insomnia, you may have heard of meditation is an effective and natural solution. However, what exactly does meditating do that improves our slumber?
Honestly, I never had the patience to try meditating for my sleep. However, once I researched its benefits and put on music that encouraged peaceful rest after meditation, I was astounded. It left me sleeping straight, with a calmer mindset and a fresher morning.
It isn’t magic!
Here are 5 benefits of meditating before sleep:
1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety disorders are known to increase the risk of insomnia and other sleeping problems. As a result, one won’t be able to rest well, either tossing and turning all night or waking up at odd hours. After all, who can sleep peacefully if you’re thinking of many negative thoughts or feeling nervous over random things from your day?
One of the things I appreciate most about meditation is that it puts your mind to rest. For even just a couple of minutes before resting, I’m able to calm both my mind and body, preparing for sleep. The practice is also known to trigger your parasympathetic response, which encourages deep sleep.
Furthermore, meditation has also been known to reduce stress, because it separates you from the day and the bad things that happened. By letting go and focusing on your presence rather than stressors, you can sleep peacefully without nagging thoughts.
2. Strengthen Your “Sleep Brain Region”
For those who are sleepy throughout the day or never get enough rest at night (despite having eight hours), it’s most likely because you’re not getting the QUALITY sleep you need. Your body isn’t in the REM stage for long enough to provide the proper energy your body needs to function.
The power switch of your brain to the REM stage is called “Pons,” which also regulates melatonin and neurotransmitter production. Stronger neurotransmitters result in better mental health and energy, which can indirectly affect your quality of rest.
So, what is one of the things you can do to help build “Pons?” Meditation! Half an hour to 40 minutes per day (preferably before bed), encourages improved function not just in the “Pons,” but in other areas of your brain, such as the posterior cingulate cortex (for memory) and the reduction of the amygdala (stress).
3. Boost Melatonin Production
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts have shown that women who meditated had higher levels of serotonin than those who haven’t. However, how important is melatonin?
Melatonin is best known as the sleep hormone, which regulates our sleep and wakefulness. It’s what helps our minds control our sleep-wake cycles every day, with our bodies’ internal clock influencing the amount of melatonin produced.
There are various factors which can make or break our melatonin production, from natural light down to what we eat. However, its number one enemy is stress, with many reports showing how stress and other mental disorders can cause lower melatonin levels.
While meditation isn’t directly involved in increasing melatonin levels, it kills off the hormone’s rival. The practice will also help rebalance your biological markers each night, providing deeper and natural sleep without the need for supplements or medication. Meditation is a more effective long-term solution!
4. Remove Insomnia Brainwaves
A study made by the University of Massachusetts Medical School shows that up to 58% of their insomniac participants have experienced improved sleep. Even better, 91% of thosewho have suffered from the disorder reduced or stopped their medication for it completely.
Furthermore, more studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can be a viable treatment for insomniacs, an alternative to medicine. Why?
Well, let’s first talk about why insomnia happens in the first place. Our brains end up having an excess of beta brainwaves, which is the mental state when one is going through anxiety and depression. These are what create negative thoughts that encourage insomnia and delays the process of falling asleep.
With meditation, the calming brainwaves of meditation would cancel out those that encourage insomnia. It increases brainwave patterns which are especially helpful in having you sleep faster and staying asleep the entire night, with improved REM sleep for more energy in the morning.
5. Lessen Daytime Fatigue
In a study by JAMA Internal Medicine, it shows that older people (over 55 years old) who have suffered from moderate sleep disturbances have reported improved sleep quality with less daytime fatigue. This is after six weeks of following a mindfulness meditation program, which lasted for two hours weekly (and 5 to 20 minutes of mindfulness practice daily).
The reduced daytime fatigue and sleepiness is a result of straight sleep, thanks to improved brainwaves that put you in the deep sleep stage for a longer time. That way, you can wake up feeling more refreshed and energetic, compared to waking up during random times throughout the night.
Moreover, because you are not sleepy during the day anymore, you’ll avoid taking naps in the afternoon. In turn, you will feel sleepy at the right time.
Note: If you want to practice mindfulness meditation to reap these benefits, there are many online resources. Here’s a guided ten-minute meditation video to help get you started:
Wrapping It Up
There is a substantial connection between meditation and sleep, with this peaceful practice providing many advantages that affect the way you doze off. Through meditating a few minutes every night, you will be able to reap these health benefits!
Through learning these benefits, you and I get encouraged to start adding meditation to our nightly routine. The importance of determining what the practice has to offer is a great beginning to your journey of a peaceful mind and slumber.
If you still experience struggles in sleeping, I do recommend that you improve your sleeping environment. Have a good mattress and ensure you have ergonomic pillows on it. I have a list of highly recommended options that you can check out on my blog. It can help you have some peaceful time for your mind and body to relax.
Did you find this list on the top five benefits of meditation to make sleep better helpful? Then do share your thoughts below or give it a share!
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You may also enjoy reading 5 Ways that Sleep Improves Your Mind, Body & Happiness, by Edie Ainsworth