If you have trouble sleeping, there's no doubt you're ready to try just about anything. And while there are plenty of other methods to consider, one of the top things on your list to check out should be meditation.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation has proven to help people's sleep. Even those who don't suffer from sleep issues find that they sleep better after meditating regularly. So, for those who do have sleep issues, you can imagine the benefits it'll bring to your life — not just your sleep.
Ready to hear more? We'll go through the advantages meditation offers and discuss some tried-and-true techniques that'll have you saying bye-bye insomnia in no time!
Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We encourage you to consult your physician if you are experiencing severe insomnia or pain.
If you have chronic pain, you know it can be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. The pain keeps you up at night, and when you're finally able to drift off, you wake up as soon as you move an inch. But meditation changes that.
With regular meditation, you can significantly reduce chronic pain. In fact, one study found that just eight weeks of meditation could help reduce chronic lower back pain by 57%! That's because meditation helps release muscle tension and eases your mind's pain signals without engaging your brain's naturally occurring opioid chemicals.
Improves Mental Health
Sleep and mental health are closely linked, to the point where insomnia is often a symptom of mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Those racing thoughts keep your brain from shutting off at night. But with meditation, you help calm your mind and lower your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) by promoting a sense of inner peace.
Studies have shown that regular meditation acts as an antidepressant that treats anxiety and depression disorders. It has even proven to help people deal with PTSD and its related symptoms.
Balances Nervous System
Another way meditation helps with your sleep is by balancing your autonomic nervous system. Your nervous system has two parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight or flight response. It kicks in when you're in danger and need to either run away or fight.
The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the relaxation response. It's what helps you rest and digest, and it's what allows your body to heal and repair itself.
When you're stressed, your nervous system becomes out of balance and keeps your body in the alert phase. Meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the sympathetic nervous system — creating the balance you need for restful sleep.
Puts Body into Sleep Mode
When you meditate, your body goes into what's known as the "relaxation response." This is the opposite of the "fight or flight" response your body goes into when you're stressed, which is often what you feel when dealing with insomnia.
The relaxation response is a state of deep rest that helps your body heal and repair itself, which is the perfect state for falling asleep. Meditation slows down your heart rate, produces theta brainwaves, and increases your serotonin and melatonin levels. It even decreases your norepinephrine levels, which is a stress neurotransmitter, and helps put your body further into sleep mode.
How to Meditate Before Bed
Now that we've gone over some of the advantages meditation brings, let's talk about how to do it. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a comfortable mattress to help keep your body relaxed. You'll need a mattress that you can feel comfortable in no matter your meditation position so that you can focus on your breathing. But if you find that you can't focus on your breathing because your bed isn't comfy, it might be time to upgrade to a new one.
Once you have your ideal mattress, prepare a calm environment by turning off the lights, changing into loose pajamas, and getting into a comfortable position in bed. Don't forget to find soft, cool bedding so your body doesn't get too hot. And if you're using your phone for a guided meditation, turn off your notifications, lower the brightness, and set the volume to low.
Pro Tip: Upgrade to an adjustable bed so you can find the peak meditation position that works for you at the press of a button!
There are many meditation techniques, so it's best to experiment to see which method works best for you. Some methods to consider include:
- Mindfulness Meditation is about being present in the moment, focusing on your breath, and controlling your thoughts. Remember to feel your breath, and pay attention to each inhale and exhale.
- Body Relaxation Meditation involves tensing and relaxing different parts of your body. Start with your toes and work your way up to your head. As you tense each muscle, breathe in. As you relax the muscle, breathe out, and then rest.
- Box Breathing is a great meditation technique for people who have trouble sleeping. So, breathe in for a count of 4, then breathe out while counting to 4 again. Set a timer for the duration of your meditation, or keep doing it until you fall asleep.
- Guided Meditation is what you need if you find it challenging to quiet your mind on your own. With guided meditation, you listen to a recording of someone leading a meditation, which helps you focus.
- Body Scanning is similar to body relaxation, but all you do is keep stock of your body. As you focus on each part of your body, breathe into that area and see how it feels. This meditation is excellent for helping you relax your whole body.
Remember that meditation is about letting go of judgmental thoughts, so don't worry if you don't get the hang of it just yet.
Sleep is Calling
Meditation is a great way to improve your sleep and overall health. And while it might be difficult to start the habit, you won't regret learning how to calm your mind and be present in the moment. But if you still have trouble sleeping even with regular meditation, you might need to find a mattress that suits how you sleep at Westco Home Furnishings!
Have questions about mattresses? Please don't hesitate to give us a call or stop by! We'll help you find the mattress that gives you the sleep you need!