I love to sleep. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. However, it hasn’t always been easy for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I remember so many nights where I lay there staring at the ceiling getting frustrated because I knew I knew I had a busy day coming up and it was already 2 or 3am.
That’s when I started to investigate some natural ways to help improve my sleep patterns and put an end to my insomnia. This led me on a journey of discovering exactly how the mind and body worked when it came to sleep. It also revealed the optimal internal and external conditions to help with switching off and falling asleep.
How Does Meditation Help Get Better Sleep?
Before we get into that, let’s look at why sleep is important. Firstly, it helps our brain to get rid of metabolic waste which helps restore our brain to normal brain function. This happens when your brainwaves slow down and prepare for deep sleep. Secondly, sleep helps to your body to repair muscles and regulate metabolism so that your body can rejuvenate overnight.
Sleep also helps to your body to repair muscles and regulate metabolism so that your body can rejuvenate overnight. Most of all, if we don’t get a good nights sleep then the cost to our mental, physical, and emotional well-being can be disastrous.
From headaches and mood swings through to poor performance at work and memory loss, there’s no upside to sleep deprivation as every part of your mind-body system needs to worker harder just to stay on top of things. That’s why people who don’t sleep well often find that they suffer more from stress and anxiety related issues.
How exactly does meditation help?
Meditation helps with recovery. It is one of the ways that you can rest the mind and rejuvenate your body and best of all it can be done anytime and anywhere. It helps to reduce stress and anxiety while clearing the mind and giving your brain a chance to slow down for awhile.
During meditation, your brainwaves slow down, just like they do when it’s preparing for sleep. The only difference is you are still awake and alert. Think of it more like you are stepping back from the busy mind which is depleting your energy reserves into a space of calm and stillness.
In this space, the brain recognizes that it is no longer required to keep performing the high level of functionality that it was just doing and instead starts to switch off. It doesn’t matter whether you do a breath meditation, a moving meditation, or even a mantra meditation, they can all take you to the same space.
When we meditate before going to bed, or even when we are in bed, it helps us to start unwinding the mind from the busyness of the day so that stress and tension can start to dissolve. As this happens, the thoughts or feelings that may have been keeping us awake begin to subside.
5 Additional Ways To Sleep Better
1. Give your mind and body time to power down at least 1 hour before going to bed. That mean turn off the TV, stop trolling the internet, leave your work alone, and disengage from anything that would prevent your body’s sleep hormones from being produced.
2. During this hour focus on using relaxation tools or techniques to help reduce the levels of stress and tension in your body. This can include things like meditation, yoga, Tai chi, journaling, or even exercise.
3. Keep your room dark, cool, and cozy. Too much activity, noise or light in a room can be detrimental to falling asleep. Do your best to keep your room free from electronic devices and perhaps even only use candle light beside your bed so that the lighting stays soft and warm until you are ready to fall asleep.
4. Avoid stimulants. Things like caffeine, soda, sugary foods, smoking or even drinking alcohol is not conducive to having a good nights sleep. If you drink coffee then it’s best to have your last one before noon so that you give it time to move out of your system before bed.
5. Resolve any emotional issues before going to bed. I have a rule of thumb that before I go to bed I will do everything in my power to resolve any emotionally charged situation that occurred during the day. Obviously, it’s best to deal with it when it happens, but that’s not always going to be practical depending on the intensity of the moment. It may be as simple as saying ‘sorry’ to someone or reaching out to extend a hand of forgiveness.
Lack of sleep is not fun and worse than that it accumulates over time. It’s far better and healthier to nip it in the bud now than to wait until fatigue or depression has set in because you have no energy left to bounce back each day. That’s why if you give yourself some quality time to unwind before you go to bed it’ll make falling asleep a breeze.
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