Meditation for sleep free guide and resources alongside which proves its many benefits
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How Meditation can be used as a sleep aid – Meditation versus sleep
Meditation is a practice that can be done anywhere and anytime to help you relax your mind and body. It’s not just about sitting or lying down. You don’t have to do it at home either. There are many different types of meditation techniques out there that will suit everyone’s needs. Many people suffer from sleep disorders in the fast-paced and busy lifestyle of the modern-day.
What are sleep disorders – meditation for sleep free guide?
Many sleep disorders exist and many adults with sleep disturbances might not realize how important sleep is.
The 5 most common sleep issues are:
- Insomnia: One struggles to fall asleep, stay asleep or go back to sleep.
- Excessive Sleepiness: When one should be awake, daytime sleepiness can include falling asleep or brain fog.
- Sleep Apnea: The obstruction of the upper airway leads to reduced or absent breathing during sleep. Most people have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
- Narcolepsy: Falling asleep during the day involuntarily
- Various Movement Syndromes: A long-term disorder that causes an unpleasant crawling feeling in the legs and a sudden urge to move them which occurs in the late afternoon before bed or at night. eg. Restless Leg Syndrome.
What are the symptoms of sleep disorders?
Sleep is of utmost importance. It’s when our body and mind rest and recover from daily activities, in preparation for another day. Sleep helps us feel refreshed and ready to take on new challenges. But if you’re having trouble sleeping or waking up feeling tired, it can be hard to know what’s causing your problems.
There are different sleep disorders with different symptoms. Some symptoms are common.
- Take at least 30 minutes to fall asleep.
- Often waking up throughout the night.
- Awake very early
- Being sleepy during the day or taking naps all day.
- You are told you can’t breathe or stop snoring while you sleep.
- You’re told that you jerk while sleeping.
- You have dreams when you doze off.
7 common causes of sleep disorders?
There are a variety of factors that can lead to sleep problems. The body’s natural cycle of slumber and daytime wakefulness is disrupted or exaggerated by all sleep disorders. There are common factors that contribute to sleep disorders.
1. Physical illness/disorders or mental conditions
2. Environmental/Consumption of food or Substances (daylight hours or alcohol/drugs)
3. Night workers
4. Genetically passed on
Why is sleep important for our mental health?
Normal sleep patterns revolve around 2 sleep cycles:
1. Quiet sleep or deep, restorative sleep
Body temperature goes down, muscles relax, and heart rate is slow. The most healing and recovery takes place in the last stages of quiet sleep. Musco-skeletal repair takes place as well as immune system functioning.
2. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep
This is referred to as the dream state. The body is not active while the brain is. Research shows that REM sleep improves learning, memory, and emotional health.
Scientists and researchers have discovered that sleep deprivation or restless sleep has a huge affect on levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones, which creates huge chemical imbalance in the brain and results in impaired thinking and emotional dysregulation. Therefore not getting enough or sufficient sleep may greatly increase the effects of psychological disorders, and vice versa.
What happens when a person doesn’t get enough sleep?
Not getting enough sleep can lead to other problems. People who don’t get enough sleep have slower reaction times are at risk for accidents, and experience difficulties in making decisions. There is a correlation between sleep loss and the development of diabetes and heart disease as well as learning disabilities, memory impairment, personality changes, and depressive symptoms.
Poor quality of sleep could be a risk for physical and mental health.
A bad night’s sleep can affect our physical and mental wellbeing as well as our general quality of life if it becomes more frequent. Poor sleep can lead to several health problems.
How can meditation practice improve sleep and our daily life?
We already know that although meditation does not replace psychological therapy it greatly improves our mental health and so does a proper night’s rest, so it simply makes sense that these two would work together to increase our quality of life while we are awake. Meditation for sleep is highly beneficial.
Healthy sleep has more to do with quality of rest than quantity of hours. Sleep meditations help create the inner conditions needed for a truly restful night. Because when we settle the mind, we rest the body and that restfulness is what makes it easier to wind down and drift off. (headspace.com)
Sleep is one of life’s most precious gifts. It gives us time to recharge, recover from stress, and prepare ourselves for tomorrow. But if you struggle with insomnia, your days may be filled with anxiety, frustration, and exhaustion instead of peace and relaxation.
The good news is there are many ways to improve your sleep without resorting to medication – enter meditation.
The benefits of sleep meditation – Improvement in Sleep Quality
Research shows that Americans lack proper sleep: Most adults function best when they sleep 7-9 hours per night, but over 40% of Americans sleep fewer than 7 hours nightly, according to a recent Gallup poll. 30% of people report difficulty falling and staying asleep at least a few times per month; 6% experience insomnia on a near-nightly basis.
Almost half of us are sleep deprived but not because we don’t want to sleep. Sometimes we simply can’t fall asleep or stay asleep due to a range of biological forces and lifestyle choices.
The benefits of sleep meditation or a mindfulness practice include:
- improved mood,
- reduced stress levels,
- better memory recall and concentration,
- enhanced creativity, and greater energy.
The practice involves focusing attention inward while relaxing the muscles of the face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs, feet, abdomen, back, chest, and diaphragm. It helps quiet the brain and prepare the body for deep relaxation.
How Does Mindfulness Meditation Affect Sleep?
Research suggests through a trial of mindfulness meditation that various types of meditation can help improve insomnia, and may even improve sleep quality for those without existing sleep problems. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, appears to improve sleep quality and reduce daytime disturbance in people with chronic insomnia. Meditation has been shown to have many positive health benefits including improved mental well-being. These are all important factors when it comes to falling asleep at night. For example, if you’re having trouble sleeping because your mind keeps racing through thoughts about work or family issues, then being able to focus on something else during meditation will make it easier to relax into a restful sleep.
Meditation has the following effects on the body, which in turn allows our body to tap into a sleep state quicker and easier as we are as a whole more at ease:
- slows the heart rate and breathing
- lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Mindfulness relaxation reduces stress-related inflammation and oxidative stress
- improves insulin resistance
- increases the production of sleep hormone (melatonin) which increases the chances of a more restorative sleep
The exact interplay between meditation and sleep is still being investigated, but it appears that meditation provokes lasting changes in the brain that may affect sleep. Studies on people experienced in meditation have found that they display improvements in slow-wave sleep and REM sleep, as well as fewer nighttime awakenings. (sleepfoundation.org)
What’s more, research indicates that mindfulness training improves sleep by reducing anxiety and depression, two common causes of poor sleep.
What Are The Benefits Of Meditating Before Bedtime?
There are several reasons why meditating before bed might be beneficial. First, it gives you time to unwind from the day so that you’re ready to go to sleep. Second, it prepares your body for sleep by lowering blood pressure and calming the nervous system.
What Type of Meditation Will Work Best For Sleep?
All meditations! The state of acceptance and awareness invoked by meditation helps reduce psychological distress and improve rumination and emotion regulation.
There are many different types focused on improving sleep:
- focused attention through guided visualization and music,
- body scan or Yoga Nidra,
- loving kindness,
- deep breathing exercises or breathing techniques
- meditative movement (yoga or tai chi)
- and transcendental meditation.
Each has its own unique qualities and applications. Some studies suggest that certain forms of meditation work better than others for improving sleep. However, any meditation would naturally improve your sleep even if that is not the main intention.
Can mindfulness help my child’s sleep patterns?
Most definitely! In fact, children need more sleep than adults (about 9 – 12 hours) as their bodies develop and grow so rapidly that they need more time for rest and recovery. Many children have fears and anxieties towards nighttime or going to sleep and therefore could have issues falling or staying asleep.
There is evidence that includes using mindfulness as a tool to sleep train toddlers and create healthy routines in children. Teaching a child about mindfulness from a young age has so many benefits, beyond sleeping, as it teaches them many life lessons or ways of approaching situations that will serve them into adulthood.
Recommended resources for guided sleep meditations:
Meditation music for sleep or Deep Sleep Music:
Yoga Nidra for sleep:
Apps for sleep meditation:
- calm.com (specifically aimed for sleep meditations)
- dreamykid.com (specifically for children)
In short, meditation is a practice of focusing the mind on one thing. It’s been used to treat everything from insomnia and anxiety to depression and pain.
It can also help you fall asleep faster. Key takeaways:
1) Get enough sleep.
The more tired you feel during the day, the less likely it is that you’ll be able to relax at night.
2) Meditate a few minutes before bed to guide yourself into a restful and deep sleep state.