Meditation, Mindfulness, and Sleep

Dr. Dan JensenLifestyle, Meditation, Research, Sleep, Tips & Tricks

Meditation, Mindfulness, and Sleep
Dr. Dan Jensen

Do you struggle to get to sleep at night, and find yourself worrying about a million things instead of getting the rest you need? You’re not alone. Many people report that stress keeps them awake at night, and that they spend valuable minutes or hours worrying rather than sleeping. At Sound Sleep Medical, we’re committed to helping you find ways to sleep, so we’d like to share some tips on how meditation and mindfulness could be the key to falling asleep easily.

Understanding Meditation

What is meditation? Many people think that meditation is complicated, but meditation and mindfulness are simply the practice of intentionally calming the mind, and relaxing, whether during the day or the night. Meditation can be used to combat insomnia and fatigue, and help you fall asleep easily. When you meditate or practice mindfulness you mind and body become still, mimicking the body in the early stages of sleep. When you meditate, even for 10 minutes before bed, your heart rate and breathing slows, your blood pressure drops, and you feel less stress. The more you meditate, the easier it will become, and if you can tap into this meditative state every evening as you wind down for the night, you’ll have no problem drifting off to a deep, calm sleep.

Types of Meditation

While all meditation follows the same principles, and works to calm your body and mind, there are a few different types of meditation, and not every style will work for everyone. Wondering what type of meditation is right for you?

Mindfulness Meditation: One of the most common forms of meditation is mindfulness meditation. During this practice, you simply tune in to your body, pay attention to the sensations you feel, and notice any changes. You might feel the weight of your body resting on the chair, floor, or bed, or feel your belly rising and falling as you breathe. When your thoughts wander to the things you forgot to do today, or what you want to get accomplished tomorrow, simply observe that your mind has wandered, and with no feelings of judgment or frustration, bring your awareness back to your body and your breath.

Concentration Meditation: Another common form of meditation is concentration meditation. This type of meditation directs you to focus all your attention on one thing. This could be something visual, like focusing on flame of a candle for a few minutes. You could imagine an image, like the tree in your childhood backyard, or focus on a mantra or phrase, such as “I am at peace” or “I am breathing in, and out”. This will give your mind something to concentrate on, and push out all the distracting and stressful thoughts, allowing you to relax and prepare for sleep.

Guided Meditation: If you’re new to meditation, there are hundreds of guided meditations to get you started. From podcasts to meditation apps to YouTube videos, you can easily access an instructor who will lead you through a meditation and help you relax before bed. They’ll lead you through a mindfulness practice, either focusing on your breath, your body, or some guided visualization designed to help you relax and feel calm and peaceful.

Don’t Get Discouraged

When you first start meditation or mindfulness practices, you might find that you are easily distracted. Don’t get discouraged, that’s completely normal. Commit to practicing 10 minutes every day, just before bed, and soon you’ll be able to easily calm your mind. Not only will this help you sleep, but you’ll be able to tap into that calm feeling whenever you need to throughout your busy day. Whether it’s during your lunch break at work, or after a crazy afternoon at your children’s school, you can find some peace of mind whenever you need to.

Sound Sleep Medical

Are you struggling to sleep at night, and feel like nothing you can do is helping you fall asleep or stay asleep? Visit us at Sound Sleep Medical where our team of specialists are waiting to help. We have lots of tips to help you sleep, and we will perform some sleep tests to discover if you have any underlying sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea that are keeping you from sleeping well at night and waking up refreshed every morning.