Meditation techniques to improve your sleep

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How Meditation Improves Sleep(NaturalHealth365) Many people have trouble falling or staying asleep because of stress, wireless technology overload, worries running through the mind and many other causes. A lack of sleep has become such a problem for American citizens that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classified it as a ‘public health epidemic’.

The reason this problem is so serious is that it can cause extensive health problems, trouble being productive and dangers like car accidents. If you’re looking for natural sleep remedies, meditation is an alternative to medications that can greatly improve the quality of your sleep.

How can meditation help me sleep better at night?

Numerous studies have found meditation techniques beneficial as natural remedies for insomnia and other sleep problems. A study in BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine found that mindfulness meditation helped participants fall asleep quicker and fall back asleep. The study also explained that meditation can ease stress and anxiety – which are two causes of sleep disorders.

Here’s the best part: Meditation, like all other natural remedies for sleep issues, will never harm the body like pharmaceutical medications. Keep in mind, meditation can help at bedtime, but it will be more effective if you practice it during the day as well. To practice meditation, shift your focus away from your body and toward your mind, and then relax and quiet your mind.

Meditation can be difficult, especially for beginners, so try to find the method that works for you. There are many ways to meditate – don’t give up on your first try, if things don’t work out, because the willingness to improve has great rewards.

Meditation tips for great results

Deep breathing: Breathing deeply calms down your nervous system to help your whole body relax. In addition, focusing on your breathing can quiet your mind.

Lie on your back, in bed or on the floor, and put your hands on your belly. Breathe into your belly so that your hands rise and fall, with slow and steady breaths. Allow yourself to ease into a peaceful state, focusing only on your breathing.

Visualization: Visualizing something in your mind is another tool to facilitate meditation. Imagine a location that is calming to you, such as the beach, a path in the woods or a meadow.  Never underestimate the power of the mind.

Think of everything your senses are experiencing and allow yourself to fully relax in that place of peace. Another option is to visualize that you are calm and relaxed, and imagine yourself drifting off into sleep.

Progressive relaxation: This method can be very helpful for sleep because it calms the body and mind, gives your mind a focus and slowly eases you into sleep. Start at your feet and imagine deeply relaxing each part of your body moving upward.

When you reach your head, remember to relax your face, including your jaw and brow. Then, imagine your thoughts floating away and let your body and mind relax.

One final thought: Use resources like classes, books and audio recordings dedicated to meditation to guide you and help you learn additional meditation techniques. As strange as this may sound, some people find a gentle ‘walking meditation’ to be a great way to calm the mind – before going to sleep.

The main point here is to experiment and see what works best for you. Sweet dreams.

References:
http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep
http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/insomnia
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/14/50

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  • Christiane

    It’s wonderful that you are sharing this article about the benefits of meditation. And, in this pluralistic world, it’s understandable that you like to give options as regards meditation techniques.

    However, scientific research on brain wave coherence and other parameters has shown that not all meditation techniques are created equal in their effects, which is not surprising, in view of the variety of mental practices.

    The most widely researched meditation technique is the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM), as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In 2013, the American Heart Association stated that TM effectively reduces high blood pressure; research studies showed that heart attacks and strokes were cut by nearly 50% in at-risk patients. Over 360 peer reviewed published studies, including over $26 million of NIH funding, show TM’s benefits in all areas of life.

    Hoping it’s ok to give some web references, here are some links where readers may find useful information (especially in the scientific research sections):
    www. tm. org
    http://www.doctorsontm. org
    www. tm-women. org
    http://tmwomenprofessionals. org
    http://www.tmforwomenshearthealth. org

    Wishing the best health to all Natural Health 365 readers!

  • Kathy

    Christiane, thanks for the tips and references. Its great to see other readers post useful information .