Published on May 15, 2023 – Last Updated on May 15, 2023
A lot of people struggle to sleep, and it’s actually hit a point where it’s one of the most prevalent issues faced by various age groups. Studies on sleep deprivation have noted that longer work hours and extended exposure to television and the internet have directly contributed to the pervasive problem. In fact, almost a fourth of adults aged 25 to 45 consistently get inadequate hours of sleep.
Even though it is often disregarded as a “minor” concern, there are many significant reasons why sleep matters. Even short-term deprivation affects your health, but long-term lack of sleep is worryingly linked to loss of cognitive function, dental issues, decreased collagen production, increased anxiety, risk of depression, and heart disease, among many others.
If you are having trouble getting a good night’s rest, one of the things you can do is meditate. Meditation is a simple yet effective solution that helps you sleep in a number of ways.
1. Reducing Stress
One of the most common reasons for not just sleep loss but also poor quality of sleep is stress. A survey from the American Psychological Association revealed that 43% of U.S. adults have lied awake at night because of stress. The irony is that a lack of sleep has also been shown to cause more stress as you have a higher tendency to feel irritable, overwhelmed, and unmotivated.
Meditation is a good way to lower your stress levels and relax you in preparation for your sleep. The act of meditation allows you to focus on yourself emotionally, and it employs physical actions that help your body regulate its stress response. In fact, researchers from UC Davis have found that individuals who meditate regularly have 50% lower cortisol levels. With regulated levels, you are less likely to get mood and sleep disturbances.
2. Promoting Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a major part of self-care, as it allows you to develop your resilience and feel more present in every moment. At the very least, mindfulness helps you regulate your emotions and let your mind relax. Mindfulness and meditation go hand in hand because the latter helps you develop your mindfulness.
A major part of mindfulness is being able to focus on a single aspect and allowing you to bask in it in a non-judgmental way. It also helps you tune out distractions. These skills can come in handy when it’s time to settle down for bed.
3. Developing Better Sleep Habits
Aside from improving your well-being, regular meditation also helps you develop other habits that improve your sleep. The discipline and calm that comes with meditating can aid you in adhering to a proper sleep schedule.
You can also develop a relaxation technique that allows you to be free of common sleep disruptors like laptops or cell phones when in bed. The more aware you are of your own sleep habits, the better you can tackle what changes need to be done.
4. Regulating Sleep Patterns
Meditation can do more than get you to sleep in the first place. It can help you regulate your sleep to the point where you actually hit your REM cycle, and you get a healthy number of hours every night.
This is because the practice enhances your self-awareness and actually cools down your sympathetic nervous system. This system triggers a lot of unrest in poor sleepers because it increases your heart rate, makes you feel more alert, and releases stress hormones. When you meditate, all of that hits a calm. In turn, your parasympathetic nervous system is enhanced, and your body is more equipped to enter a restorative state of rest.
5. Relieving Issues Like Insomnia
Many individuals actually have deep-rooted sleep issues that go overlooked. Many don’t realize that they have chronic problems, but data from the Sleep Foundation shows that more than 50 million people in the United States alone have ongoing sleep disorders.
Of course, the proper course of action is to get an official diagnosis to ensure that you get proper treatment. That said, meditation is a great natural method of alleviating many symptoms tath inherently manifest when you have these conditions. Studies have shown that the practice of meditation can increase your body’s production of melatonin, which is a hormone responsible for your circadian rhythm and ensuring that your sleep-wake cycle is regulated.