Insomnia. Is there anything worse?
More people than ever are finding it difficult — if not impossible — to turn off their brains and get regular, quality sleep.
Some of us are turning to meditation for insomnia and are finding it the key to a good night’s sleep, as well as a heap of other health benefits.
Before you imagine hippies sat with their legs crossed chanting and decide to stop reading, we can assure you that meditation is only as far out as you make it.
Thousands upon thousands of people are realizing the tangible health benefits of a regular meditation practise — and if you’re suffering from insomnia, it could be a real life saver.
Let’s find out more…
Meditation to Help You Sleep: Does It Work?
We’ve all gone to bed worrying about a problem or a busy day ahead, but an insomniac will often have racing thoughts that rob them of a good night’s sleep. If this sounds like you, then you’ll know how lousy and irritable it can make you feel the next day.
Research shows that regular meditation can improve sleep patterns because it directly relieves both the body and mind from stress.
Meditation is a calming practice that focuses on the one most basic and essential part of being alive: breathing. By focusing on the breath, people who use meditation to help sleep find themselves in a unique position to separate their thoughts and worries from the basic needs of their body — sleeping.
Just 10 minutes a day of meditation can be enough to encourage better and faster sleep.
How Does Insomnia Meditation Work?
The goal of meditation is different for everyone, but for most people it boils down to achieving clarity of thought and a present state awareness.
For many of us, insomnia is caused by a racing mind full of worries and anxiety, and of being totally swept up in our thoughts — so much so that we cannot relax enough to fall off to sleep.
By meditating every day, we learn how to detach ourselves from our thoughts — both positive and negative — while being acutely aware of our bodies in the moment.
The proven results of meditation include a reduction in anxiety, brain distractions and negative thoughts. But that’s not all.
Meditation also helps to boost your health and happiness, improve digestion and the quality of your sleep, lower blood pressure and overcome stress and depression. It’s all about enhancing your physical and emotional well-being.
No wonder that for so many people it’s a way of life!
Different Types of Meditation for Insomnia
Now that you know meditation has lots of benefits, you’re probably wondering which types of meditation for insomnia are best. There are a huge number of different forms of meditation that range anything between simply practising mindfulness while walking outside to humming a repetitive mantra in transcendental meditation.
Feel free to experiment with various forms to hit on what works best for you.
There are a few meditation practises that are particularly well suited to those looking for a good night’s sleep. Try these on for size:
- Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation encourages you to fully experience the present moment instead of being wrapped up in your thoughts. A 10 minute practise might see you going on a walk and recognizing what you see, hear, smell, touch and feel — as well as identifying any passing thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness can ease anxiety so make for a clearer mind when going to bed.
- Abdominal breathing meditation: This type of insomnia meditation focuses on slow breathing from deep within the abdomen. Taking deep breaths for a specific amount of time will help you to become more relaxed and calm, and put you in an ideal state of mind to sleep soundly.
- Visualisation meditation: This one is more goal specific. You must visualise a positive scenario to help deal with the stress in a specific situation. For example, a wife having problems with her husband may visualise a calm and happy future to help deal with the current stress. Again, a reduction in stress and anxiety will have a positive impact on your sleep.
Tips for Insomnia Meditation
Many people are nervous about meditation when they first begin.
There’s something quite nerve wracking about sitting by yourself with just your mind to occupy you for 10 minutes.
It is nerve wracking. But it’s worth it — especially if you’re suffering from insomnia. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
It will be difficult at first. Meditation isn’t a quick fix, but rather a long term way to improve your physical and mental health.
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
How long should you practice meditation for?
You should commit to a length of time that you will be able to do every day. Consistency is the most important attribute of a mediation practise — 5 minutes every day is better than 30 minutes once per week.
Your best bet is to start small and then increase the time you spend meditating as you become more comfortable with the practise.
What is the best time of day to meditate?
Some experts will say that the morning is the best time for meditation as your mind is clear after sleep and it can lead to a mindful day ahead.
Others prefer afternoon meditation as it helps to relieve the tension from a busy morning and keeps you relaxed for the rest of the day.
Evening meditation is more beneficial if you have a busy work life and want to clear away the stresses of work by giving yourself time to unwind.
Again, it’s best to choose the same time everyday and stick to it.
How can you stay focused?
Staying focused on the breath or whatever it is that you’re doing is the hardest part of meditation, and you’ll find that your mind frequently wanders and gets wrapped up in thoughts.
You can’t avoid this, but you will get better at focusing the more you practise. There are a few techniques you can adopt that can help you too.
Firstly, you should establish a routine that supports your focus. Get into the habit of reviewing your goals for each day and before you meditate. If at any time your mind starts to wander during meditation, focus on something in front of you like your feet to help bring yourself back to the present moment.
When you hear distracting noises, focus on your breath and breathe towards the noise so it seems natural. Your breath should always be your point of focus during meditation and you should treat distractions as a test to see how good you are at not getting drawn away.
Where should you meditate?
Anywhere you like. Many people think that meditation means sitting in a silent room in a folded leg position but that’s not the case. You can also meditate standing up, walking and absolutely anywhere you feel comfortable.
Is it more effective to meditate alone?
Not necessarily. Some people prefer meditating alone, but meditation can be greatly enhanced when two or more people meditate together. It’s something you’d have to try to see if you like it.
The Best Guided Meditation to Help you Sleep
Guided meditation is great for helping you to fall asleep quickly and stay in a deep sleep. Many people use them by getting ready for bed, popping in a pair of sleep headphones and playing a meditation track as they ready themselves for sleep.
Here is a list of recommended guided meditations for insomnia that you can find online and occasionally as an app.
- Freebird Meditations
- The Honest Guys
- Jason Stephenson
- Headspace App — read our Headspace review
- Relax and Sleep Well App
When you can’t change the external issues affecting your life, your best bet is to change the way you react and relate to those issues. The best way to do this? Meditation.
Instead of letting your anxiety and worries disrupt your sleep, as well as your physical and mental health, try out some meditation for insomnia. There’s no better way to break the chain of negative thoughts and get some quality sleep.
Have you tried meditation to help you sleep yet?