Meditation may be one of the most popular sleep hacks around. Meditation can help you sleep better by relaxing your body and mind at night; it lowers stress levels, often the main factor in keeping people awake. It has also been shown to increase sleep quality among people with sleep disorders.
However, meditation comes in many forms–some may not directly promote sleep. For example, some types of meditation focus on keeping thoughts at bay, while others keep you alert for hours at night. So how do you know if meditation is suitable for inducing sleep? To start, let’s explore what sleep meditation is and what isn’t – so that you don’t waste your time trying techniques that won’t work for sleep purposes!
What Is Sleep Meditation?
Sleep meditation is a type of sleep therapy that involves quieting one’s thoughts and focusing on sleep, breathing exercises, or mantras. It aims to relax the mind and relieve insomnia for those with sleep problems. Generally speaking, sleep meditation works best as part of a sleep routine that includes things like exercise and avoiding caffeine before bedtime.
Sleep meditation is a sleep therapy that combines sleep strategies with relaxation techniques to help people sleep. It can be done either lying down or sitting up, and the sleep meditator gives their undivided attention to sleep processes such as breathing and relaxing muscles.
It’s usually done for 15-20 minutes at a time, and it does not involve using any devices or taking medication. An arousal device may be used to awaken the sleep meditator if they fall asleep.
The person conducting sleep meditation can also use mantras and guided imagery to focus on sleeping better. Meditation is part of many different therapies, including yoga, hypnosis, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), progressive muscle relaxation therapy (PMRT), and sleep restriction therapy.
It is often used as a sleep aid for sleep problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea, sleep deprivation, and delayed sleep phase syndrome. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), sleep meditation can also help people fall asleep faster when they have trouble sleeping at night or when they want to be more refreshed in the morning.
What Isn’t Sleep meditation?
There are many misconceptions about sleep meditation out there. Some people believe it means sitting in bed wide-eyed until you feel tired enough to doze off (which is not beneficial for sleep). Others think sleep meditation can only be done lying down with eyes closed (this will make you more alert instead). Therefore, clear your head of all these false sleep meditations.
What about sleep meditation music?
This is not sleep meditation – it’s just relaxing music that may help you sleep better but won’t put your mind to sleep. Sleep meditation includes quieting or shutting off thoughts and focusing on sleep instead.
How Does Sleep Meditation Work?
One of the main benefits of sleep meditation is mental relaxation, which improves sleep quality by lowering stress levels. It also helps ease persistent thoughts that can keep you up at night. When done correctly (while lying down), it provides a soothing ritual for drifting off to sleep while blocking out intrusive noises around you, like snoring or traffic outside.
Sleep meditation trains your brain to shut down at night without relying on sleep aids for sleep paralysis.
There is no one-size-fits-all sleep solution, and sleep meditation is a great tool to use as part of your night routine before bedtime. Try sleeping mantras within a sleep ritual that includes sleep music and sleeping hygiene to help you drift off faster and sleep better every night! Though, this is for beginners only. Once you reach a stage where you can calm your mind, you will not need any outer instrument to fall asleep.
Meditation is often promoted as a sleep aid, but what’s the best way to meditate for sleep?
Elena Varshavsky, PhD, clinical director at Cambridge Health Alliance and assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, says sleep meditation practices are “designed specifically to sleep better.”
Yoga Nidra, or yoga for sleep, is one popular form of meditation for people who struggle to rest at night.
Yoga Nidra is “a series of practices that permit sleep,” he explains. Most of it involves intentional relaxation of the muscle groups and ultimately finding a space of calmness.
He advises practising Yoga Nidra when trying to sleep, unlike other meditative practices: “The best way to describe it is a body scan.”
You can practice sleep meditation by lying down in your bed and closing your eyes, allowing yourself about half an hour for the experience. If you feel restless or need more time, that’s okay too. You don’t have to clear your mind completely—focus on breathing deeply from the bottom of your lungs and drawing out each breath as slowly as possible.
“This helps create a sense of deep relaxation around sleep,” he explains. “We find that many people fall asleep because it becomes a habit.”
If you’re looking for a sleep-specific guide, try one from yoga instructor and sleep coach Bedros Keuilian.
How should you meditate for sleep?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Meditation can take many forms, and it’s best to explore the different options and find out which ones work for you before expecting sleep to be a byproduct. “When people come to see me as a sleep specialist, I recommend different techniques,” Mehta says. “Yoga Nidra is one of them.”
So if traditional meditation doesn’t work, don’t feel like you’re alone or that you should keep looking—there are plenty of sleep-specific types of meditation that could yield results. Remember that the best way to get better sleep is to sleep better, which requires a lifestyle change.
“This isn’t something that happens overnight,” Mehta says. “It’s really about sleep hygiene, sleep habits, sleep physical activity, sleep environment.”
That means you’re best off practising sleep meditation for five minutes before bed each night instead of hoping it will magically help you sleep all night long—if you can manage that with your particular practice, more power to you. But don’t lose sleep over not getting enough sleep! Just keep trying different techniques until you find one (or more than one) that works for you.
-sleep meditation practices are designed to help people meditate while they are sleeping
-Yoga Nidra is a sleep meditation practice that relaxes your body
-Meditating for sleep requires a change in sleep habits and lifestyle before it can be effective
-It’s best to try different sleep meditations until you find one that works for you.