How meditation can treat insomnia and improve sleeping

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you’re not alone. About 35 to 50 percent of adults worldwide regularly experience insomnia symptoms.

Meditation includes a variety of mind and body techniques used to promote a state of relaxation. With a long history dating back thousands of years, meditation is now starting to gain popularity worldwide. In the U.S. is currently practiced by almost one in six American adults.

Meditation may help you sleep better. As a relaxation technique, it can quiet the mind and body while enhancing inner peace. When done before bedtime, meditation may help reduce insomnia and sleep troubles by promoting overall calmness.

Can meditation treat insomnia?

In a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015, researchers analyzed how mindfulness meditation affected 49 adults with moderate sleep issues. The participants were randomly assigned 6 weeks of meditation. At the end of the study, the meditation group experienced fewer insomnia symptoms and less daytime fatigue.

According to the researchers, meditation likely helps in several ways. Sleep problems often appear from stress and worry, but meditation improves your relaxation response. It also improves control of the autonomic nervous system, which reduces how easily you are awakened.

Other benefits of meditation might include:

  • increase melatonin (the sleep hormone)
  • increase serotonin (precursor of melatonin)
  • reduce heart rate
  • decrease blood pressure
  • activate parts of the brain that control sleep

How can The WOW Healing meditations improve your sleeping?

Meditation is a simple practice that can be done anywhere, anytime. You don’t need special tools or equipment. In fact, the only thing you need is a few minutes. However, establishing a meditation routine takes practice. By making time for meditation, you’ll be more likely to enjoy its benefits.

Here are the basic steps of meditating:

  1. Find a quiet area. Sit or lie down, depending on what feels most comfortable. Lying down is preferable at bedtime, while sitting is preferable at daytime.
  2. Open our Meditations section and choose from the variety we offer, whatever you resonate with at that particular time.
  3. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Inhale and exhale deeply. Focus on your breathing. For a more relaxed state, you can use the breathing exercises we provide in the More Section -Breathing Exercises.
  4. If a thought pops up, let it go and refocus on your breathing.

As you try meditation for sleep, be patient with yourself. A meditation practice is just about including it in your daily routines. Start by meditating for 3 to 5 minutes before bed. Over time, slowly increase the time to 15 to 20 minutes. It’ll take time to learn how to quiet your mind, but once you achieved this state, you will simply love it.

What kind of meditation techniques to improve sleeping you can find on The WOW Healing APP?

The WOW Healing Mindfulness Meditations

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present. It’s done by increasing your awareness of your consciousness, breathing, and body. If you notice a thought or emotion, simply observe it, then let it pass without judging yourself.

How to do mindfulness meditation

  1. Remove all distractions from your room.
  2. Put your phone on silent mode.
  3. Lie down in a comfortable position.
  4. Focus on your breathing. Inhale for 10 counts, then hold your breath for 10 counts. Exhale for 10 counts. Repeat five times. (You can find this technique, in the Breathing Exercises area, In More Section.)
  5. Inhale and tense your body. Pause, relax, and exhale. Repeat five times.
  6. Notice your breath and body. If a body part feels tight, consciously relax it.
  7. When a thought comes up, slowly return your focus to your breathing.

The WOW Healing Guided Meditations

The guided meditations are those where you are led through each step of meditation. You might be instructed to breathe or relax your body in a certain way, or you might do visualizations. At bedtime, is even more recommended to listen to a recording of a guided meditation.

How to do a guided meditation

  1. Pick a recording. Dim the light of your phone or device you’re using to listen to the guided meditation.
  2. Start the recording. Lie down in bed and breathe deeply and slowly.
  3. Focus on the person’s voice. If your mind wanders, slowly return your attention to the recording. You can opt out to add music on the background of the meditation, for an even more powerful effect.

The WOW Healing Body Scan Meditations

In body scan meditation, you focus on each part of your body. The goal is to increase awareness of your physical sensations, including tension and pain. The act of focusing promotes relaxation, which can help you sleep.

How to do body scan meditation

  1. Remove all distractions from your room.
  2. Put your phone on silent mode.
  3. Lie down in a comfortable position.
  4. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Notice the weight of your body on the bed.
  5. Focus on your face. Soften your jaw, eyes, and facial muscles.
  6. Move to your neck and shoulders. Relax them.
  7. Continue down your body, moving to your arms and fingers. Continue to your stomach, back, hips, legs, and feet. Notice how each part feels.
  8. If your mind wanders, slowly shift your focus back to your body. If you feel the relaxation inside your body, you can repeat in the opposite direction, from your feet to your head.

The WOW Healing Deep Breathing

Deep breathing while engaging the diaphragm is often used in combination with other meditation techniques to enhance relaxation. You can also find this technique in the More Section, in Breathing Exercises area.

How to practice deep breathing

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. This is one breath.
  5. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Are there any drawbacks to meditation?

Meditation has few side effects, but they are very rare. However, some people may experience the following:

  • Physical Effects: Certain meditation poses may cause muscle stiffness. Movement-based meditation, in particular, may not be possible for people with physical limitations.
  • Psychological Effects: In rare cases, certain types of meditation may exacerbate anxiety and depressive symptoms.
  • Won’t Cure Sleep Disorders: Meditation is not a cure for sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apneea.
  • May Not Work For You: Meditation takes practice, and you may find it takes some time to see the benefits. Moreover, several studies have found measures of increased arousal during sleep after meditation, indicating that perhaps not all types of meditation are appropriate for improving objective sleep quality.

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