How and Why Meditation Can Help You Get Better Sleep
A good night’s sleep eludes many of us, but the good news is that there are numerous all-natural ways to relax so that we can get to sleep and not have to rely on chemical-filled medications to do the trick. Meditation is one of the best ways to relax, and when you’re relaxed, you’re naturally going to have an easier time getting to sleep each night.
Today’s world is very stressful, and between work, family, and personal obligations, it is easy for your mind to be so cluttered that you can’t get to sleep because you’re too tense. One of the biggest advantages of meditating is that it works quickly, so you don’t have to meditate for hours at a time just to be able to enjoy the effects it brings.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is simply the art of relaxing your entire body and your mind so that you can concentrate and focus better, feel better both physically and emotionally, and enter a realm of consciousness that will have both your body and mind in tip-top shape. With meditation, you can escape from the world and learn to block everything negative from your head so that you can get rid of all of the distractions that cause you stress and prevent you from enjoying life to the fullest. Let’s face it, stress takes a huge toll on the body and mind and prevents us from living our lives to the fullest. It also causes us many sleepless nights, but practicing meditation regularly can eliminate a lot of the stress you’re feeling and allow you to sleep soundly night after night.
When many people hear the word “meditation,” they think it’s a complicated and drawn-out process, but it is definitely not that. In fact, meditation is so simple that you’ll likely be surprised that it works so well. Easy to learn and even easier to practice, it involves getting comfortable, sitting still, and intentionally clearing your head of all the clutter that is there. This, in fact, is the hard part for many people because the things you are stressing over are extremely powerful. But the fact is that it can be done with a little practice, and the more you do it, the easier it will be for you.
The Physical Effects of Regular Meditation
Now that you know that meditation helps both your body and mind to relax and get more out of life, let’s take a look at some specific examples. When your mind is clear and your body is relaxed, you can think more clearly and respond to stress a lot better. If you’re curious about the physical effects of meditating on a regular basis, here are a few of them:
- You can experience overall better physical health. Regular meditation can help lower your blood pressure, reduce anxiety, help keep your heart rate a little steadier, and improve both your breathing and your respiration. It puts your body in a state of total relaxation, and with that you can do some amazing things.
- You can ignore minor problems at will. Most of the things that people worry about never happen, but that doesn’t stop people from worrying anyway. With regular meditation, you’ll learn to refocus negative thoughts so that you end up worrying less often, enabling you to be happier day after day.
- You experience better concentration. Your mind can easily become overcrowded, making it difficult to stay focused. Meditation not only helps clear your head, but it also helps you to channel your thoughts in the right direction so that the things you are thinking about are the things that really matter.
If you spend the day at the hair salon and get your nails done as well, think about how much better this “me” time makes you feel. The fact is, when we feel better physically, we feel better emotionally, and the same goes for when you meditate. Meditation provides tons of physiological benefits, but it also helps us feel better psychologically, enabling us to handle stressful situations at home or at work much better in the long run. You don’t just feel better while doing your meditation exercises; you feel better 24/7 once you start meditating on a regular basis.
How Do You Meditate?
Although it can sound simple, meditation can take a long time to master. Does this mean you’ll have to wait a long time to feel more relaxed and more in control? Of course not. In fact, the first time you meditate, you’ll feel a little better about everything, and it only gets better from there. Still, clearing your mind for 10 minutes can be very difficult, especially since most people experience at least some stress in their lives. But each time you meditate, it gets a little easier on you. If you’d like to learn the basics of proper meditation, just follow the steps below:
- Sit in a quiet space, and make sure you are sitting up straight. Some places people have found best to meditate in include the bedroom, a living room or den, and even outside in the garden.
- Get rid of distractions such as kids, pets, and even the TV set or radio. Remember, you want the space to be quiet, although you can listen to soft music if that helps you relax more.
- Fold your legs as you sit up straight and keep your hands resting on your knees.
- Breathe in very deeply, feeling your entire diaphragm expand. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, and make sure each breath is slow and steady.
- When you first get started, try the deep breathing for one minute, then slowly increase it to five minutes, then 10. This may not happen right away, and you only count the minutes where your head is completely devoid of thought. True, that’s the hard part because negative thoughts tend to creep back into your head when you least expect it. Still, keep trying it until you make it up to 10 minutes without thinking of negative thoughts – or any thoughts, for that matter.
How long should you meditate? That’s up to you, but you should definitely aim for a straight 10 minutes of meditation at a time in the beginning. After you achieve that, you can work up to 20 and then 30 minutes of deep breathing at a time. If you practice this daily, you’re going to be surprised by how much better you feel both physically and emotionally.
Some Tips for Better Meditation
If you’re just starting to meditate and need a few practical tips, below are some that can easily make each meditation session a lot more productive:
- You do not have to sit on the floor. You can sit on a bed or even a chair, but you still have to keep your back straight as you meditate.
- Never eat anything heavy before you meditate. In fact, you should only eat light foods and try to eat them an hour before you start your meditation session.
- After you meditate, hydrate with some cold water, and try to drink about two to four cups of it. You can add some lemon to it if you like so that it tastes better and helps you detoxify your body.
- You can meditate any time of the day that you feel most comfortable doing so; however, if you pick a time that is quieter – which means not meditating during rush-hour traffic or when it’s the kids’ bedtime – it will be a much more productive session. You should also pick a time when your mind is the freshest.
- Decide if total quiet is what you want or would prefer to add some soft music. Either is fine, so you’ll have to choose the option that works best for you and helps you relax.
- As you meditate, don’t move or fidget too much. If you find yourself getting fidgety, take a few deep breaths then continue what you were doing earlier.
- Don’t expect miracles. When you meditate, you will have both good days and bad days, so have some patience with yourself. If you have a less-than-productive day, don’t let it get you down but just brush it off and try again the next day.
Most importantly, don’t give up on your efforts to have a great meditation session. Even if you decide one day you just don’t feel like meditating, do it anyway. Meditation is learned and has to be practiced to be successful, and it’s one of the easiest ways to fall asleep each night because by the time you’re finished, you’ll have a clear mind and you’ll be completely relaxed.
If you’re having trouble sleeping but don’t wish to take sleeping pills, learning to relax before you go to bed is a great alternative, and one of the best ways to do this is to meditate. You don’t need fancy books or expensive CDs to meditate correctly. All you have to do is learn how to breathe and learn to get better at it with each passing day, which means meditating daily and mastering the slow breathing that is at the center of every meditation session.