If you’re having difficulty falling asleep or are experiencing restless sleep, meditation before bed may be your answer. Restless nights can be the result of insomnia, sleep apnea, stress, or anxiety. When you have a rough day, it’s hard to let go of everything when it’s time to sleep.
Your mind is occupied by hundreds of thoughts and you can’t turn it off. However, sleep deprivation will only add to the stress and make you groggy during the daytime. Meditation before bed or trying to relax will clear these thoughts away and encourage you to fall asleep.
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What Is Meditation For Sleep?
Meditation is the practice of gaining mindfulness, redirecting your thoughts, and developing mental clarity. Through meditation, you can train your brain to stay focused and to remain calm.
Before bedtime, when all of the day’s problems come racing quickly - meditation before bed will allow you to feel relaxed and temporarily let go of your problems. By resting your mind, your body will eventually follow - putting you in a peaceful mental and physical state. It is a natural sleep aid that anyone can do, which doesn’t require any tools or effort.
Meditation has a lot of health benefits as well so it is recommended to try and meditate whenever you get the chance. You don’t need to meditate before bed every night, but once you get into the habit of it - you’ll notice mental and psychological changes in your daily life.
What Are The Benefits Of Meditation Before Bed?
Meditation was scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, slow down heart rates, reduce stress and anxiety, and help the brain eliminate distractions. Here are all the benefits of meditation before bed:
Helps with Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
Almost 40% of Americans aged 50 or older suffer from symptoms of insomnia and get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.
Sleep meditation has been proven to help those who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea. A study was conducted, specifically targeting older adults with sleep disturbances, testing the effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality. The results showed significant improvement in insomnia and depression symptoms as well as daytime fatigue and impairment. Meditation improves the quality of sleep as well as the duration - everyone needs a good night’s rest, meditation can help you get that.
Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Meditation is one of the most common methods used to reduce stress. A high level of stress can lead to mental and physical health issues, like insomnia, diabetes, and heart disease. It is important to always keep your stress levels in check. Sleep can affect your sleep quality and daytime productivity. Studies have shown that meditation reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, and as a result, psychological distress and physical symptoms as well.
Alternatively, mindfulness meditation and yoga can reduce anxiety and depression, even in those with generalized anxiety disorder. However, the outcomes were mostly psychological, relative to physical or medical outcomes. Meditation works on eliminating negative thoughts and promoting emotional wellness.
Improves Memory and Attention Span
Since meditation is training your brain into developing new habits, it overall works on improving your cognitive functions, memory, and extends your attention span. One study found that those who meditated before performing a visual task were able to do better and complete the task faster than a control group. They had a greater attention span and were more focused.
Furthermore, different meditation styles can improve memory loss and provide mental clarity. This is especially beneficial for older adults who suffer from dementia or age-related memory loss.
Enhances Sleep Quality
Getting better sleep is vital for the elderly, it can improve your immunity system and even help prevent chronic illnesses. For example, Harvard Business Review states that quality sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease - emphasizing the importance of quality sleep.
Meditation is a mind-calming technique that, when effective, works on lowering your blood pressure, reducing your heart rate, and triggering the parts in your brain that control sleep. It naturally increases serotonin and melatonin levels to promote more restful sleep.
Different Styles Of Meditation
There is no right or wrong way to meditate, it depends on what you’re comfortable with and what works for you. It can be lying down on your bed with your eyes closed or doing yoga stretches. Here are the most popular meditation styles you can try:
Mindfulness meditation before bed is the most common technique in the United States. This is due to its simplicity and positive results. Mindfulness meditation is gaining awareness of your mind, breathing, and body.
It includes doing breathing exercises, like counting your breaths by slowly inhaling and exhaling. When you inhale, your body will tense and when you exhale, it’ll loosen up. Consider repeating this exercise ten times for the best results. Focus on the pattern of your breathing, and eventually, it will lower your heart rate and make you relax.
Mindfulness meditation focuses on the present state but while welcoming random thoughts that come to your mind. For example, when something comes to mind - like your list of work tasks - acknowledge how it makes you feel and then let it go. This is easier said than done, but it becomes easier with practice. Sometimes, something as simple as counting up to 100 can put your mind at ease.
Body Scan Meditation
Also known as progressive relaxation, this is the practice of purposely releasing tension from your body. In this technique, you need to focus on each body part separately and focus on making it relax. The goal is to gain physical awareness by noticing your face, neck, arms, and legs, and softening your muscles.
You can start from your face or your feet, then slowly move in the opposite direction - making sure each body part is loose and relaxed. This is a great way to reduce strain and tension so that you’ll sleep better.
Guided meditation is when someone walks you through the steps of meditation, whether it is in person, by audio, or video. This can be an online video showing you stretches or a meditation podcast giving you steps to relax. A lot of meditation apps or podcasts will ask you to visualize a scene or image that puts you in a happier mental state or to focus on things that make you feel grateful. Guided meditation is a good option for beginners new to meditation and looking to improve sleep quality.
Concentration or focused meditation is concentrating on an object or sound to center yourself and help you stay focused. This is specifically useful for those with short attention spans and those who can’t focus on just one thing. The center of your focus can be a candle flame, white noise, or a mantra, which is a repetitive word you will say quietly or out loud.
The goal is to strengthen your attention span, if you find your mind wandering - make yourself go back to your focus object. This technique will help you practice getting rid of other thoughts when you need to sleep.
The most popular technique for movement meditation is yoga, which is the practice of a series of poses and exercises to promote relaxation and flexibility. However, yoga isn’t all there is to this type of meditation. It can include any type of movement like going for a walk, cycling, or even doing the dishes.
This is ideal for the people who seek a distraction from their crowded minds, in the form of movement. This type of meditation will encourage you to stay in the moment. If you’re interested in learning basic yoga stretches, you can find many videos online that can teach you.
How To Meditate Before Bed
The first step to meditation before bed is setting a proper environment for yourself. You won’t be able to meditate if you’re surrounded by distractions like loud noises or a lot of movement. Make sure to set at least 30 minutes before bedtime to set your environment and meditate. You can dim the lights, light a scented candle, or do whatever you need to create a comfortable atmosphere.
When ready, choose a meditation technique you’d like to do. Please note that you can try one or all of these styles, you don’t need to limit yourself to just one thing. Meditation before bed is a relaxation technique that can be done in 5 to 10 minutes per day. When you’re comfortable with this duration, you can add an extra minute, and so on.
What Are Other Times You Should Meditate?
Ideally, setting an hour before your bedtime for meditation will help you reap the maximum benefits of it. However, you can meditate any time during the day. It can be the first thing in the morning to promote concentration or it can be mid-day to re-energize and get back to your tasks. Instead of piling up all of your worries at night, try taking a break mid-day to loosen up.
Other Bedtime Rituals
Practicing healthy sleep hygiene is very important to achieve better sleep, meditation is just one step in that direction. Your sleep environment is a big deal as well. Make sure your room is dark and cool. Many times bad sleep quality can be the result of night sweats. You can sweat a lot if you’re sleeping in a poorly aired room or your mattress is trapping heat. A cooling gel-infused memory foam mattress can be the solution to this problem.
Additionally, eliminate any distractions like bright lights or loud noises. Another sleep habit to practice is staying away from your phone or TV at least an hour before you sleep. The blue light emitting from the screens reduces the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Lastly, make your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime so your body has time to digest it. If you get the late-night munchies, opt for a lighter snack like fruits, almonds, pistachios, or a piece of dark chocolate.
Is it good to meditate before bed?
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, meditation is a natural sleep aid that can help. You can meditate anytime during the day, not just before bedtime. Meditation will fight restless sleep or insomnia, clear your mind, and make you relaxed.
How long should I meditate for?
There isn’t a specific duration for meditation, you can take as long as you need - whatever works for you. However, experts recommend meditating from 30 to 45 minutes a day to get the most out of it. This can be split throughout the day and doesn’t necessarily need to be before bed.
Is it okay to meditate in bed?
You should meditate wherever makes you feel comfortable, including your bed. Meditation starts with being in a relaxed and quiet environment where you can clear your mind and recharge yourself. Meditating in bed before you sleep is worth trying out and can make meditation easier.
Do you meditate before you sleep? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.