“Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.” – Matthew Walker (Neuroscientist, Ph.D. Sleep)
The mind and body can greatly benefit from sleep, that’s why Mother Nature intended we get it. It is as essential as water and air, yet, as a society, we don’t always treat it this way. This regular lack of sleep has increased our chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, lower performance at work, memory issues, and many other health issues.
Most of us are sleep deprived and are looking for ways to get high quality, restful sleep. However, when we put our head down on the pillow, our mind goes into overdrive or we end up mindlessly scrolling through our phone or watch tv until we fall asleep.
So if you are looking to settle your mind and get restful quality sleep, a night meditation might be the answer for you. Read on to understand the benefits of meditation and some helpful techniques.
What happens when you meditate? The science behind it:
Although the practice of meditation is thousands of years old, research on how meditation plays a crucial role in stimulating your vagus nerve is relatively new. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body and It connects your brain to many important organs throughout the body, including the gut (intestines, stomach), heart, and lungs. The more we stimulate the vagus nerve by deep breathing etc, the more we decrease the sympathetic nervous system — a.k.a. the “fight or flight response’. By lowering your breathing rate via meditation and deep breathing, your Vagus Nerve notes that things must be calm therefore balancing the nervous system by promoting a relaxation response, a critical component of good sleep. There are many different types of meditation to choose from. Below is a description of three of the most popular techniques to help you get you in a better state for a good night’s sleep.
Technique 1: Mindful Meditation
Mindful Meditation helps bring awareness to all the thoughts that are buzzing around in our head all the time. These thoughts are usually ignored as we go on with our day. Mindful meditation simply allows you to quiet the mind and acknowledge these thoughts and reminds you to be in the present by focusing on your breath.
Mindful Meditation made easy:
- Find a quiet space and sit comfortably
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in to relax
- Focus on your inhalation and exhalation
- Thoughts will keep passing by, notice them without judgement and gently return to focusing on your breath
- Practice daily before sleeping for maximum benefit
Time: Anywhere between 5-20 minutes
Technique 2: Gratitude meditation
As the name suggests, gratitude meditation is a type of meditation where you express gratitude for the things in your life. Research has shown that incorporating a gratitude practice can not only increase your sense of happiness and wellbeing but can also improve anxiety, lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system.
Gratitude meditation made easy:
- Find a quiet place and sit comfortably
- Close your eyes and start by taking a few deep relaxation breaths
- Take a moment to reflect on your day and mentally note three things you are grateful for. It can be anything from a task completed, people you interacted with, food etc.
- Continue deep breathing.
P.s Once you are done meditating, you can jot down the things you are grateful for in a journal.
Technique 3: Guided Meditation
If you are meditating for the first time, guided meditation might be the easiest way to get started. During guided meditation someone talks you through the different steps. This way you can focus on meditation instead of worrying about your technique and form.
Guided Meditation Made easy:
- Find a quiet place
- Turn on your app/podcast/ audio of a guided meditation for sleep
- Follow the directions from the audio
A few general tips for when you start your night meditation practice:
- Set your intention
- Start with 5 minutes and build it up to 20 minutes or longer.
- If you fall asleep while meditating, it’s okay.
- Try building it into your night-time routine
- Have fun with it, try different meditation techniques, see what works best for you
- Keep a meditation journal to document your sessions and to help you gain some insights about your practice
Here is a 5-step-guide to get you started.
While meditating before sleeping can be a powerful way to help you drift off to sleep, there are others things you can do to help you fall asleep quickly:
- Maintain the same sleeping time every night – Having a schedule helps set your internal body clock. Once your body has adjusted to the schedule, it will be easier to fall asleep and wake up at the same time.
- Turn off your digital devices 2 hours before sleeping. The blue light from these devices can disturb your circadian rhythm. Consuming Setu Eye Max helps protect you against blue light exposure
- Take Setu Melatonin – Minty oral dissolving strip that is a non-habit forming sleep solution.
- Find the best sleeping position suited to you.
What is the best Sleep Meditation App?
There are a lot of good meditation apps available. Headspace, Calm and Simple Habit are the most popular ones.
Is it normal to fall asleep while meditating?
Initially you may fall asleep while meditating. However to reap the benefits, it’s better to remain awake. The more you practice, the easier it will be to relax and remain focused.