There’s a lot of beauty and tranquility in our everyday lives. But seemingly often, the positive aspects can be overshadowed by stress, anxiety, and inundating feelings.
This can lead to restless sleep, lack of sleep, or difficulty falling asleep. And not enough sleep can lead to stress, which leads to less sleep. See the catch?
Getting out of that cycle can seem overwhelming in itself, but achieving a good’s night rest is just as easy as it is necessary. There are many different remedies for getting a better night’s sleep, but perhaps the most well known is meditation.
Sleep meditation is only growing in popularity, but does it really work? Let’s take a look at the effectiveness of sleep meditation, as well as some other ways to catch as many zzz’s as possible.
Why is Sleep Important?
It is recommended that adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night, but a CDC study revealed that one in three Americans are not reaching that quota on a daily basis.
So if you struggle getting seven hours, the good news is that you’re not alone.
The bad news? Not getting enough sleep can have significant impairments on your physical and mental wellbeing.
A lack of sleep can have an impact on your alertness, which can make you less productive and more sleepy throughout the day. It can also impair your memory and cause stress, as hormonal balances can shift your mood into unnatural territories.
Not to mention, it can decrease your overall quality of life, making you less inclined to participate in activities or socialize with friends. Sleep is just as important as being awake, so it’s imperative to ensure that you’re getting enough of it.
What is Sleep Meditation?
Sleep meditation has many similarities to regular meditation, in that it focuses on relaxing the brain and body. However, sleep meditation specifically refers to a state between being awake and being asleep.
When you fall asleep, you may notice that thoughts become less linear. Your dreams often have little relation to your actual life and you have no control over their outcome. This is called “Yogic sleep,” and it is thought to be the unlatching of your unconscious.
When sleep meditating, the goal is to find a middle ground between being cognizant and being unconscious. The goal is to feel as relaxed as possible while still maintaining a sense of consciousness.
How To Sleep Meditate
Sleep meditation or yoga nidra are practiced at yoga studios all across the country, but you can try it out yourself right from home.
- Lie down on the floor or in a bed with your arms at your sides. You want to be comfortable but well-supported, so prop yourself up with pillows or blankets if need be.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Take longer exhales than inhales, putting your hands on your belly to help focus if need be.
- Repeat positive intentions to yourself to keep yourself awake. Remember that the goal of yoga nidra is not to fall asleep, but rather become as relaxed as possible while remaining awake. Recite affirmations in your head “I am peaceful and calm” or “I trust myself” to keep yourself awake while entering a relaxed state.
- Starting with your toes, work your way up the body, relaxing each body part that you notice. Become aware of each body part and move along to the next as slowly as you are comfortable.
- Visualize yourself in a beautiful place, such as a favorite glowing beach or a lake with rustling trees. Allow yourself to explore the location for as long as you like.
- Repeat the positive affirmation to yourself a few more times before returning to your surroundings.
Most people will practice yoga nidra for about 20-45 minutes at a time, but you can do it for as long as you’d like. If you don’t mind falling asleep afterwards, you can even do this right before bed.
Does Sleep Meditation Work?
If you’ve ever tried meditation for yourself, you already know that it is able to relieve stress and give you a sense of calm that is unmatched. Based on the fact that it helps to clear your mind with relaxing breathing techniques, meditation definitely works.
And the science is there to back it up. In a study, people who practiced meditation before going to bed had less insomnia, fatigue, and depression at the end of the trial. Many participants noted that it allowed them to focus on individual experiences, thoughts, and emotions.
This is because meditation elicits a relaxation response, which is the opposite reaction of the body’s stress response. The physiological changes that occur help to relieve pain and decrease blood pressure, which all aid in better cognitive function during the day and more enhanced sleep at night.
Other Ways To Support Healthy Sleep
Mindfulness meditation is great, but it’s not for everyone. If you need something that works just as well, there are many other options that might work for you.
Essential oil diffusers are a great way to get a better night’s sleep because of their natural ability to elicit your body’s relaxation response. Lavender is one of the most common aromatherapies because it has been found to promote calmness. You can put a few drops into an oil diffuser or rub a few drops on certain parts of your body (just make sure you properly dilute it into a carrier oil first as needed).
CBD oils are another great option, as these have an assortment of benefits that go beyond restful sleep. CBD oil helps support the body’s response to stressful stimuli, helping to put you back in balance so you have less barriers to a restful sleep.
Try putting a few drops under your tongue and holding for 30 seconds, or even put a few drops into a nightly tea. Regular use can lead to a more peaceful headspace, which might be exactly what you need to wake up feeling rejuvenated.
Turn Off Electronic Devices Before Bed
Cell phone and laptop screens emit a blue light that can have a negative effect on your sleep. It’s a color wavelength that is associated with daylight, so your body actually inhibits melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that controls your sleep cycle, so when that becomes unbalanced, it can make for restless slumber.
Not to mention, cell phones can be distracting and can keep you up longer than normal. It’s a good idea to ditch the phone at least a half hour before getting shut eye. Opt for reading a book, writing in a journal, or practicing sleep meditation for some time before finally laying down in bed.
Avoid Caffeine Later in the Day
Caffeine is actually more beneficial than once thought, as it can increase focus and provide an energy boost. However, when consumed late in the day, it might prevent your body from being able to relax and wind down.
Caffeine should be avoided at least six hours before bedtime in order to avoid nighttime interference. If you want a cup of coffee later in the afternoon, go with decaf.
You can also try to energize yourself through alternative means, like CBD oils, which can give you an instant boost without the intrusiveness of caffeine. Some CBD oils can lift your mood and increase cognition, so it’s the perfect pick-me-up for a mid-afternoon bog.
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for healthy living and holistic well-being. Sleep meditation is a powerful tool in helping to achieve a solid sleep that will keep us energized the next day.
You can practice meditation at any time of day, but it might be best used right before bed. It has proven effective against insomnia and other sleep inhibitors, so there’s no harm in taking some time to be with yourself.
You can even supplement yoga nidra with CBD or essential oils to get the most out of your rest. Be sure to turn off electronic devices before bed so the harmful blue light does not affect your sleep patterns.
Proper sleeping habits can improve our moods and increase productivity. Sleep meditation is a beautiful way to de-stress, which is definitely something worth smiling about.
Catch some zzzz’s with Smile. Our Unwind CBD Oil is infused with 5-HTP amino acids and melatonin to take your meditation practice to the next level and ease you into a chiller headspace. It’s nature’s lullaby!