It goes without saying that quality sleep is so important for your overall health. Unfortunately, restful sleep isn’t always easy to achieve. If you’ve tried everything from counting sheep to scrolling through Facebook and it just doesn’t work, you might want to consider meditation for a better night’s sleep.
Perhaps you’ve never tried meditating because you thought it was too spiritual or New Age-y; if that’s the case, you’ll be thrilled to know that meditation is easy, simple, and anyone can do it, no matter how far you think you are from “enlightenment.” Besides, regular meditating before sleep just might be the key to cure your nighttime woes. #Winning.
If you’re looking for a break from your phone altogether, though (we don’t blame you!), you can also do a self-guided meditation in bed using music, candles, or simply dimming the lights and closing your eyes — the great thing about meditation is that you can make it your own. There are no rules.
“Keep it simple. You don’t need any fancy techniques, though for some people they can be helpful.”
“To get the most out of your meditation practice the most important thing is consistency,” Cruikshank tells HG. “The frequency is more important than the duration, so I generally recommend starting with 3-5 minutes a day and not increasing until you feel you absolutely want to and then increasing just a couple minutes every so often.” Doesn’t sound so bad, right?
Here are seven reasons you should give it a shot and make meditation a part of your routine every single night.
1It helps prepare your mind and body for rest
“Meditating before sleep is a great way to trigger the parasympathetic response to help the body and mind wind down in order to optimize your body’s ability to move through the sleep cycles which helps us get a deep restful sleep,” Cruikshank says.
2It allows you to mentally separate from your day
Many people have a hard time letting their thoughts go at the end of the day, and this can be even worse if you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, insomnia, or are under stress. Meditation provides you with a space to collect your thoughts and feelings, whether you’re hung up on the rest of your to-do list or a fight you had with a friend. You can give your brain permission to let these thoughts and worries go, which is something we all need from time to time.
3It helps you find calm and focus
“A lot of [recent] research revolves around the effects on the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates the internal organ function and influences so many parts of the body and brain,” Cruikshank agrees. “It’s critical for things like sleep, energy level, digestion and immune function. There’s also a lot of positive research around meditation’s capacity to help with cognitive function, meaning our memory, concentration and learning capacity.” These are all things that even the most naturally Zen people can benefit from.
4It is a great natural sleep aid
But meditating is totally natural, and it won’t come with any of the weird side effects that can come with medication and supplements. It’s also much healthier for you than other pre-bed rituals, like watching TV or scrolling Instagram (sorry, guys).
5It relieves physical tension
6It doesn’t take up much of your time
7It can benefit you throughout your day — not just at bedtime
So whether you’re struggling with insomnia or simply looking for an easy way to improve sleep quality, give meditation a try. A few minutes of deep, mindful breaths can do wonders for the mind, body, and soul.