Jan 31, 2019
Guest article by Lisa Smalls
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, but only recently has the Western world really explored the science and mental health benefits behind this practice. In fact, there are a plethora of research studies readily available that explain the health benefits of mindful meditation. One of the most fascinating? Mediation is a great natural remedy to sleep.
If you find yourself tossing and turning on a regular basis, here are three reasons you may want to incorporate meditation into your nightly wind-down routine:
Lower Stress and Anxiety
Reducing stress and anxiety levels are one of the greatest reasons to meditate. Meditation helps to lower cortisol levels by promoting a relaxation response in the body. Cortisol is the hormone that directly impacts stress levels. At night cortisol levels should naturally decrease so your body can relax and fall asleep. But when under constant stress, cortisol levels stay elevated, which leads to a whole slew of health-related problems.
Another reason meditation can bring your stress and anxiety levels down is that the whole point of mindfulness is to focus on the here and now. Rather than stressing over the past and worrying about the future, the practice of meditation gives your mind the opportunity to not focus on past or future problems that arise by inviting you to remain in the present, freeing yourself of those stressors.
In relation to focusing on the present, meditation helps you direct your awareness on your current thoughts and emotions. The discipline of practicing living in the present helps you gain understanding and control over yourself. This, in turn, can help you to understand how you relate to others as well.
Understanding and accepting yourself for who you are can lead to a greater sense of confidence and self-image. Being able to know yourself and what triggers different emotions in you can be a great starting block for other positive health changes.
When you have more confidence, it allows you to have more kindness and empathy towards those around you because you do not have that negative energy pulling you down. When you love yourself, it becomes much easier to love those around you!
Increased self-awareness not only leads to greater confidence but also peace of mind. Taking time to reflect inward prevents feelings of anxiety and insecurity from creeping into the mind. This sense of peace allows you to rest easier at night.
Do you ever have trouble sleeping? If you do, meditation could be a perfect tool for you to use to overcome those nights that you just can’t seem to fall asleep! PubMed came out with a study that concluded mindful meditation can be extremely helpful for allowing people to have a restful night’s sleep and combating insomnia.
To start, as stated above it helps to relieve stress and anxiety. When you are able to escape from those ailments and quiet your mind, it becomes much easier to fall asleep and not toss and turn throughout the night.
Another reason that meditation is great for sleep is that it mimics our bodies’ natural sleep cycle. This helps to increase melatonin levels and allows us to enter a deep REM cycle sleep more quickly. Getting a great night’s sleep can benefit so many different aspects of your health, and having this resource to help can reap amazing benefits!
Now that you know the amazing benefits of adding meditation to your life, it is time you give it a try. Even practicing five minutes of mindfulness before hitting the hay can improve sleep and overall well being in more ways than you might think. Not to mention, what better way is there to end a long day than with the tranquility of intentional meditation? Your mind, body and soul will thank you.
Featured image by Simon Migaj on Unsplash