If you are part of the 30% of people who suffer from insomnia, you’ve likely tried many strategies to help you fall asleep. However, your thoughts and worries take over, and you spend the night laying in bed only wishing you could relax. Insomnia then leads to daytime sleepiness that affects your productivity and harms your health. So, what can you do to help yourself get the restorative rest that you need?
What does it mean to meditate?
The goal of meditating is to slow down the mind and bring you to a state of thoughtless awareness. This state of deep peace brings calmness to the mind, which can then help to relax your body and get the rest you need.
One study reported in JAMA International Medicine focused on 49 adults who had trouble sleeping. Half of the people in the study learned how to meditate by completing a mindfulness-awareness program. This program also taught them how to focus on moment-by-moment thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The other half of the people in the study completed a sleep education class, teaching them various other ways to improve their quality of rest.
After this six-week study, the people who learned how to meditate had less trouble with insomnia, depression, and fatigue than those who learned other sleeping tactics.
The Link Between Meditation and Quality Rest
Intense meditating can create a harmony between your body and your mind. These practices can have a great influence on brain functions, prompt intrinsic neural plasticity actions, regulate endocrine, autonomic, and immune functions, and induce a proper night's rest.
Studies have demonstrated that those who are well-practised meditators spend more time in the deep, restorative sleeping stage than those who are not familiar with the meditative practice.
Furthermore, meditative practices have shown to increase one's level of melatonin, which plays a critical role in the physiological regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. This hormone helps to reset the body's internal clock so it knows when to shut down and when it is time to wake up.
If you are able to control your stress levels during the day, you will be more likely to be able to rest better at night. So, while meditating is important to do when you are actually trying to fall asleep, it can also be very helpful to do throughout the day. Here are some tips to meditate effectively.
Because everybody's body is shaped differently, it is best to find a meditation cushion so your body can absorb the shape of the surface where it is resting. Otherwise, your legs, spine, hips, shoulders, and head are likely to become strained, which will result in discomfort. Meditation cushions can help to improve both your posture and your comfort while you meditate.
You may choose the posture that is most comfortable for you while you meditate, such as the half-lotus position or the savasana position. The position you choose will likely depend on the flexibility of your hips, knees, and ankles.
If you are meditating while you are sitting, the spine should be straight to naturally support the body. Having the proper equipment, such as a meditation cushion, allows you to have the greatest comfort while also reducing the stress on your spine.
Doing sitting meditation throughout the day and towards the end of the night right before going to bed can help you get the full night's rest that you need by calming your body and your mind.
Buckwheat Hull Sleeping Pillow
Once you are in bed, it is important to have proper support of your body so you can fully relax. A buckwheat hull sleeping pillow is great for this because they provide both support and adjust-ability. This helps to relieve and prevent neck pain. The also do not sink in throughout the night, so you will maintain your level of comfort until you wake up fully rested the next morning.
A buckwheat hull sleeping pillow is also very mould-able and conforms to the contours of your head and neck. This helps give even distribution to your joints and results in ultimate support. Once the pillow is moulded to your specific shape, there is no need to turn it around throughout the night.
These pillows also often have a zipper, allowing you to remove or add hulls. This lets you adjust the loft and firmness of the pillow to suit your personal preference. Before going to bed, try some of these tricks to help you fall asleep faster.
Meditate in a Mindful Way
Before going to bed, focus on the various aspects of your life and try to let go of the things that may be stressing you out. Focus on one thing at a time, which will help you to calm your mind. Focus on one issue, and then let it go. The ability to let the issue go is what will help you relax.
It may be helpful to write down your thoughts so you stop ruminating on them. Having your thoughts down on paper can be helpful in getting them out of your head so you don't feel like you need to focus on them when you are trying to rest.
Take a Warm Bath
Taking a bath can help to relax your muscles and prepare your body to rest. While you are in the bath, meditate to get rid of all of your thoughts from the day and clear your head. It may also be useful to add essential oils to your bath, such as lavender oil, to calm you down.
If you make this part of your normal bedtime routine, it will help to signal to your body that it is time to get ready to sleep. Getting in a regular routine can help train your mind to calm down when it is supposed to do so.
Also, maintain your routine at the same time every night. If you go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time each night, your body will get used to the routine. Once you have done this enough, you will not even need an alarm clock to wake up, because your body will be so used to waking up on its own. Try to stick to this schedule even on the weekends as to not disrupt your sleep-wake cycle during the week.
If you are unable to fall asleep, here are some tips you can do while you are laying in bed.
Guided imagery is used by many people to help them take their mind off of any stressors going on in their life and drift off to sleep. To do guided imagery, imagine a calm scene to help you wind down after a long day. Some common images to think about are clouds, ocean waves, and mountain, but you can focus on anything that you find to be particularly calming.
Dr. Kathy Doner, a hypnotherapist in Sebastian, FL, says that your brain can not always differentiate between reality and pretend. This is why guided imagery can lead to deep relaxation.
Taking slow, deep breaths from your stomach can help you relax during the day and at night. Focus on your breath by inhaling for three seconds and then exhaling for three seconds. Feel the air fill your lungs and then release it. If you are doing this during the day, it may be helpful to dim to lights and put on some calming music. If you are lying in bed, place your hands on your stomach, allowing them to move with your breath. Focusing on the movement will help clear your mind and distract you, bringing yourself to a calm place.
Not being able to get the rest you need can certainly result in several health problems, including an increased risk of high stress, depression, weight gain, and chronic disease. To maintain your health and wellness, it is important to explore all avenues of finding what works for you when it comes to getting proper rest. Meditation is a great way to help harmonise your entire body so it can restore itself throughout the night.