How often do you feel tired or stressed out because your brain is working overtime? Maybe you need help on how to fall asleep when your mind is busy… There are times when our minds won’t shut down – even during sleep. Have you ever had insomnia?
Sleep is crucial for your overall well-being. The average adult sleeps around 8 hours each night. Sleeping too little or too much can cause serious health problems. In order to get quality sleep, it’s important to stop thinking about work, worry about the future, and let go of negative feelings that might be keeping as up at night.
Sleep quantity is important but quality of sleep is of utmost important and when we feel stressed our sleep quality deteriorates exponentially.
Stress and poor sleep – how to fall asleep when your mind is busy
When you are anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed, your body produces adrenaline, cortisol, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These chemicals activate your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) response, causing your heart rate to increase, breathing to become shallow, muscles to tense, blood pressure to rise, and energy levels to drop. If you are unable to calm your SNS response, you may experience insomnia. This article shows you how to fall asleep naturally when your mind is busy.
How you might ask? With the help of deep sleep meditation.
How does sleep meditation help to fall asleep?
The first thing we need to understand is that stress affects our adrenal glands, which release hormones into our bloodstream that cause our nerves to be alert. It also causes our immune function to weaken, affecting us in many other ways such as making us more likely to catch a cold. When we are constantly under stress from worrying about money, work, relationships, etc., this can lead to anxiety and panic attacks. Sleep deprivation has been shown to trigger these episodes of anxiety by stimulating the amygdala.
If you think that having an anxious, busy, or noisy mind can prevent you from falling asleep then practicing meditation might be of benefit to you.
When the body becomes still and relaxed as we go to bed our mind seems to ramp up. All these thoughts can be very overwhelming and it can be very difficult to shut our brains off in order to get restful sleep.
So the trick is not to address insomnia but rather address the stress causing the insomnia. Meditation can have a hugely positive effect on our stress levels. Studies show us that people who deal with their stress through meditation tend not to suffer from sleep disorders later on.
According to one study, adults who meditate regularly were less likely to report feeling depressed or anxious which leads to them sleeping better at night.
You don’t need to be religious to meditate. Even just 10 minutes of sitting quietly every day is enough to make a difference. Try and use it whenever you can. Meditating in bed can help you calm your mind and allow you to drift off into a deep sleep.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction, in the form of meditation, helps you relax your body and calm down your mind. You learn how to control your emotions and be aware of them through self-observation and detachment of thought. Meditation helps you sleep better by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. You learn how to deal with anxiety and depression.
Meditation also helps people relax and focus better as well as helps them deal with stressful situations by reducing the amount of cortisol in their bodies. This in turn helps people sleep better because it calms their minds and produces more melatonin (sleep hormone) before bedtime.
Meditation causes lasting changes in the brain that help you fall asleep faster. You’ll also be less likely to wake up during the night.
Meditation techniques for insomnia tend to be very similar to other mindfulness practices. You can talk to a licensed practitioner, download an app, or look up videos online to find an exercise that works for you, but most of the research on meditation has been done on mindfulness. Mindfulness includes focusing on the present and being aware of your thoughts and feelings without judging them.
Meditation for sleep can come in many forms of mindfulness and can involve other techniques alongside meditating such as, guided imagery, breathing techniques or relaxing music.
Insomniacs could also try body scan meditation. Deep breathing is an important part of meditation. It helps relax the body and mind. Yoga and Tai Chi are other forms of mindfulness that bring on similar effects in the mind and body to improve sleep. These meditations or mindfulness practices can be practiced regularly to improve mood and health.
If you plan to use meditation to help improve your daily rest, daily meditation practice is usually suggested. However, it’s alright to start small and work up to daily practice. If you’re feeling intimidated as a beginner, you could start out with some brief mini-meditation sessions throughout the day if you feel the need to relax your body and to calm yourself in general.
How can we practice meditation for better sleep?
6 tips for Deep sleep meditation – meditation for chronic insomnia
1. Lie in bed, in a dark room with relaxed limbs. Turn off your phone and other electronic devices so they don’t keep waking you up at night. Even better try and out technology in another room while you sleep. Use earplugs if needed. Remove any clocks from the room as these will disturb the circadian rhythm that regulates your sleep cycle.
2. Focus on your breath. Breathe deeply into your belly, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth while making a sound “AhhhHh.. AhhhHh…”. Repeat this mantra several times until you feel calmer and more focused. Make sure not to hold your breath. This technique helps relax your mind by allowing it to focus solely on your breath without being distracted by thoughts or noises.
3. When you feel ready, close your eyes gently. Allow your awareness to expand beyond your physical boundaries and connect with everything around you. Let go of all judgments and just be present with whatever comes up. Don’t force anything. Take in as many sensations as possible without having thoughts about them. Notice what happens, notice everything that arises in the present moment. Watch emotions come and go. Observe thoughts arise and pass away. Just observe the whole experience without trying to change or control anything.
4. Try repeating mantras such as Om Shanti Om, I love You, or Namaste. You can repeat any mantra that resonates with you. It is less about what you are saying but more ab out the single word repetition that focuses our mind and blurs our other thoughts into the background. We start to realise words are only words here; empty language. Emotions aren’t neccesarily good or bad. They are simply an experience. As you repeat these words silently, imagine that they are a bridge between your mind and the infinite universe.
5. If thoughts still arise during deep sleep meditation, acknowledge them. Simply say ‘thinking’ or ‘thought’ without reacting or attaching to these thoughts. Allow these mental objects to fade away one after another. Keep returning back to your breath whenever thoughts distract you.
6. Once you feel sleepy, take some time to doze. Enjoy the feeling of peacefulness inside. Even though you are drifting toward sleep, know that you can wake up anytime you want. Let yourself go deeper and deeper into sleep.
meditation for sleep 10 minutes – sleep meditation youtube
There are so many options for guided sleep meditation on youtube too. Make it a habit of meditating before bed and you will see how it positively impacts the quality of your sleep.
Try this guided 10 min sleep meditation
Music for sleep meditation – Delta brain waves
Studies have shown that music at certain frequencies can also help us sleep by bringing our brain into a Delta brainwave state. When our brain transmits delta brainwaves we enter into a deep ‘dreamless’ sleep or meditative state.
Listening to these frequencies along with meditation can be hugely beneficial to our sleep health.
5 other tips to calm your mind for sleep:
1. Progressive muscle relaxation technique
2. Breathing exercises and techniques
- Box breathing technique
- 4-7-8 breathing
- 2-to-1 breathing
3. Sleep Diary – Keep a journal next to your bed do jot down everything that might be worrying you. This can also be used as a dream journal to record your dreams and keep track of your subconscious thoughts.
4. Have a proper sleep schedule that sticks to the same amount of hours of sleep every night (go to bed and wake up at the same time) for good sleep hygiene.
5. Go see a sleep specialist to receive therapy for insomnia and improve sleep efficiency.
6. Listen to white noise
7. Use meditation apps
8. Adjust body temperature – being too hot or too cold can cause sleep disturbances as our body’s stress response kicks in.
9. Reduce blue light exposure by decreasing screen time during the day and especially limiting it 1 hour before going to bed.
For many people, falling asleep can be difficult. There are many reasons why we struggle to get to sleep but lack of sleep has been shown to cause depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. These conditions can lead to poor concentration, irritability and mood swings.
By meditating, you can train yourself to become more balanced and relaxed. This means you’ll be able to go to sleep feeling more peaceful than ever before. Benefits of meditation are endless to our mental, emotional and physical health so not only will you find improvement in sleep quality by combating sleep issues but you will benefit your overall health in so many other ways too!