Our world is fast-paced. We have deadlines, traffic, stress around every corner, and our lives are scheduled minute by minute. Consequently, our bodies are under a constant state of stress, and this does not bode well for our waking or sleeping lives.
Thankfully, there is something we can do to help erase some of that frantic energy. There is something we can do to better enrich our lives, both mentally and physically, and that is sleep meditation. But could it really help our lives all that much? Yes!
Here are those sleep meditation benefits you probably didn’t expect!
1. Soothes Stress
When you meditate you help reset and activate your autonomic nervous system. You tell your body you are no longer in fight or flight mode so that you can finally relax and take a break from that constant state of survival stress puts us in. Dr. Herbert Benson, director emeritus of Benson-Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine, a Harvard affiliate, even claims that such meditation is one of the ways people can easily engage the relaxation response, a physiological alteration in the body that directly opposes the stress response. In other words, meditation before bed helps put you in a state that is the exact opposite of that of stress.
2. Brings a Sense of Peace:
When we lay our head upon the pillow, we often use that time to recap our day, mostly focusing on what went wrong. We also use that time to worry about tomorrow, examining all the stresses we are to encounter in the future. However, sleep meditation can help you focus on the present. Essentially, meditating before sleep will help ward off all those worries that consume your thoughts, allowing for peace instead of chaos to reside in your thoughts.
3. Helps with Insomnia
One study conducted by the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that meditating before sleep was more effective than focusing solely on helpful sleeping tips. Such meditation showed significant sleep improvements for 58% of participants, and of those on sleep medications, 91% were able to stop taking their medications to sleep! Meditation before bed also helps produce more brain waves responsible for relaxation and fewer beta waves/those responsible for active thinking; thus, meditation enables our brain to take us into deeper, restful, less-fretful sleep.
4. Lessens Fatigue
When we don’t sleep well, we simply don’t feel well-rested the next day. Sleep deprivation ravenously eats into our day, making us less productive and feeling fatigued. However, meditation has been linked to increased melatonin production and enhanced REM sleep, all of which allow for us to feel more energetic in the morning and throughout our entire day.
5. Mood Enhancement
Lack of sleep and being in a constant state of stress can wreak havoc on our mental health, often worsening depression and anxiety. With meditation allowing for greater quality rest and a more present state of mind, many find that meditation before sleep leaves them feeling both energetic and happier in the waking hours.
6. Helps Ward off Disease
Sleep deprivation often goes unnoticed or at least unspoken of in our society, yet both sleep deprivation and stress are responsible for increasing risk of many diseases, including cancer, obesity, and heart disease. Simply allowing yourself better rest and peace helps lower your risk of such diseases.
7. Better Digestion
With many of us stressed and eating poorly, our digestion suffers. Yet, when we allow for the autonomic nervous system to be reset through meditation, we allow for our digestive system to better do its job, leading to a happier and healthier you.
8. Lower Blood Pressure
One of the reasons sleep meditation can help bring about peace and relaxation is that it helps lower blood pressure and slow down your heart rate.
9. Pain Relief
Inflammation is responsible for all sorts of ills in the body, pain being one of them. Because meditation can help decrease inflammation at the cellular level, those who meditate often find they experience less pain upon waking. In fact, in some clinical trials, more than 50% of participants reported less pain just from engaging in meditative practices.
10. Helps Hormone Regulation
Our hormones are responsible for so much, from how much we eat to our sex drive; and when our hormones become unbalanced, we can experience many unpleasant side effects. Meditating before sleep, however, can help reset those hormones, better balancing our bodies as well as our minds.