Meditation for sleep? Can’t Sleep? Meditation for Insomnia – How To Stop Worrying About Sleeping and Get Rest.
*I have a free video for you with eight hours of sleep support, below- but first read this article for optimal results*
Are you struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep? It’s common for people who suffer from insomnia to worry about their sleep. They may even feel anxious about whether they can sleep tonight.
Many studies have shown that meditation reduces stress and improves sleep quality. This article and video will help you relax and focus on breathing while falling asleep.
Have you ever seen a stressed-out Buddhist Monk? Probably not; they have the same stressors as we all do, maybe more, but they also have trained themselves to meditate and prioritize rest and sleep. I’m not a monk, but I am Buddhist and can share some tips.
Today, I also happily share my experience with meditation as a treatment for insomnia. I also explain how to use mindfulness techniques to help you get better nights of rest.
This article is perfect if you’re looking for ways to stop worrying about sleeping and start getting better nights of rest. You’ll learn how to meditate using simple instructions and visual cues.
Meditation is one of the most effective treatments for insomnia. Research shows that people who practice meditation regularly report fewer nighttime awakenings and improved sleep quality.
Meditation is a form of relaxation therapy that involves focusing attention on a single object or thought. The goal is to clear the mind of distractions and focus on what’s important.
Decades ago, I experienced three stressful life experiences. My mother had passed away from cancer, I was divorcing, and I was transitioning into a new career.
At the time, I thought I was balancing these stresses reasonably well, and so did everyone else. I constantly had people remark how they didn’t know “how I did it” and how I “accomplished so much.” The truth was, I was running on empty.
I was drinking sugary coffee all day, balancing motherhood, a career, mourning, starting a new life, and transitioning my business, all with a smile. I even volunteered at the school PTO!
I’d be exhausted; I’d go to bed, and suddenly, all of the realities of life were running through my mind. I’d go to bed around midnight, wake up at three or four, and finally decide to stay up because I could not fall asleep. This continued for months until I finally went to the doctor; I had already given up the coffee with sugar and even sugary sweets. I used eye pillows, had essential oils spritzed on my pillow, and turned the screens off (in that era, it was mostly just the television). Still, nothing.
The doctor ran bloodwork, and everything was normal, so they wanted to prescribe me medication, and I refused because I felt there had to be a better way to address this. This was when I returned to my meditation practice; it was something I needed dearly but let fall by the wayside during my mother’s passing and my divorce, which were within weeks.
It began to work. I’ll share with you more about the why and how of meditation for sleep.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep quality, there are many things you can try, and I suggest making sure you are healthy physically; even a slightly overworking thyroid can create issues.
But one thing to try if your health isn’t the culprit is meditation. There are many different types of meditation, but one of the most popular forms is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR is a meditation that brings awareness to our thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Doing this teaches us to be present in the moment rather than being lost in our thoughts. I completed rigorous training and am certified by The Benson–Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, in MBSR. There, I learned that not everyone should attempt meditation all of the time; there IS a time and a place, and if you’ve had trauma, you want to make sure you are working with someone who can guide you safely.
- reduce stress levels
- increase focus
- improve overall health.
When done correctly, it can also help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The key is finding a method that works best for you. For instance, while I am certified in MBSR, it is a specific framework but there are many styles I teach my clients because it is important to find the path that fits your needs, not try to force yourself into something that will cause more stress or make you feel you’ve somehow failed if you don’t feel successful.
Some people find that listening to music helps them relax before bedtime. Others prefer to meditate quietly while lying in bed. Still, others find that reading a book or journal entry helps them unwind before falling asleep. Whatever technique you choose, make sure you stick with it consistently. While some are more mindfulness-based, they are entryways into meditation and can be very helpful.
Meditation is a powerful tool for improving your sleep quality.
It’s easy to incorporate into your daily routine and doesn’t require much effort. To get started, follow these steps:
1) Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
2) Sit comfortably on a chair or couch.
3) Close your eyes.
4) Take three slow deep breaths.
5) Focus on your breathing.
6) Let go of thoughts and worries.
7) Repeat step four until you naturally fall asleep.
8) When you wake up in the morning, remember what happened during your night of restful slumber; meaning, take note of your progress. It is normal to struggle a bit initially and then slowly see improvement. It is not a failure to have a few dotted nights of insomnia while you learn meditation recovery for insomnia; healing is not linear.
Meditation has been used for centuries to treat insomnia.
There’s a reason it’s been around for such a long time; it works.
The practice involves focusing on one’s breath while sitting quietly. Research shows that people who meditate regularly report fewer nighttime awakenings than those who don’t.
Understanding meditation and mindfulness for insomnia
If you’re struggling with insomnia, try using mindfulness techniques to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Mindfulness helps us become aware of our thoughts and feelings without judgment. When we learn to be mindful during the day, we can apply that same awareness at night. For example, if you notice yourself thinking about something stressful earlier in the day, you can bring your attention back to your breathing instead of letting your mind wander off into worry.
Meditation is a powerful tool for helping people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It’s easy to integrate into your daily routine, but it requires consistency.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when practicing meditation:
When I first started meditating, I often woke up late in the morning, groggy, because I couldn’t fall asleep.
My mind would be racing, and I’d think about everything from work to relationships to what I ate for dinner. The problem was I didn’t know how to calm my mind enough to fall asleep again.
I learned that meditation helps me relax my body and quiet my thoughts. I could fall asleep much more effortlessly if I practiced meditation before bedtime.
Who should not meditate before bed?
If you are in active trauma or have some disorders such as schizophrenia, check with your psychiatrist or medical professional. If it is active trauma, you might be trying to jump in when you are not ready, and if you have some disorders, you need to make sure this doesn’t worsen.
If you are in any of these situations, refrain from a new meditation practice before bed, as that can create a cortisol jump, increasing insomnia. This is partially why so many people who do not meditate, who try to do so in active trauma, express discomfort.
You do not have a monkey mind.
Continuing the conversation regarding trauma, I want to state that if someone tells you that you have a “monkey mind” because you can’t seem to release, relax or unwind in meditation, they are incredibly unskilled and out of line. First, it is a practice; everyone is always learning, especially well-known gurus. So, if someone is daft enough not to realize that you are in trauma or might have an underlying condition or disorder, they are not someone you want to have as a guide.
I never understood the strange shaming that some self-proclaimed experts feel the need to engage in, but you do not need that. Your hyper-arousal is a standard coping strategy that you should not immediately address with meditation, nor should you address it alone.
Meditation has been proven to reduce stress levels and improve overall health.
It will benefit you in numerous ways, not just by falling asleep! It’s also been shown to increase focus and concentration, which makes it an excellent tool for people who struggle with insomnia. Try practicing meditation (I will connect a sample below) before bedtime if you’re looking for ways to beat insomnia. You’ll learn how to clear your mind and relax your body, allowing you to drift off into dreamland.
The first step towards getting a good night’s sleep is to stop thinking about what you should be doing during the day. When stressed out, our minds race with thoughts of work, school, family, friends, and everything else that needs to be done.
We become anxious and agitated, and our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol, both of which keep us awake at night. By clearing our minds of these thoughts, we can calm ourselves and prepare for sleep.
Research shows that people who meditate regularly sleep better than those who don’t.
You don’t have to meditate long; that idea of lengthy meditation sessions scares many people off of meditation. Begin with one minute, and even with a maximum of just ten minutes is going to be beneficial.
If you’d like to try guided relaxation, I made this for a client a few months ago who was dealing with post-trauma; it has minimal but targeted spoken word, eight hours of gentle music that slowly encourages a slower heart rate, and intended to offer comfort. Even if you wake in the middle of the night, “I” will still be with you. Focus on deep, slow breathing and listen to the nuances and layers of music.
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