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. Meditation may help increase melatonin (the sleep hormone), increase serotonin (precursor of melatonin), reduce heart rate, decrease blood pressure and activate parts of the brain that control sleep. 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.

Steps of basic meditation:

  1. Find a quiet area. Sit or lie down, depending on what feels most comfortable. Lying down is preferable at bedtime.
  2. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Inhale and exhale deeply. Focus on your breathing.
  3. If a thought pops up, let it go and refocus on your breathing.

As you try meditation for sleep, be patient with yourself. Meditation practice is just that — a practice. 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.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present. It’s done by increasing your awareness of your consciousness, breathing, and body.

How to do mindfulness meditation:

  1. Remove all distractions from your room, including your phone. Lie down in a comfortable position.
  2. Focus on your breathing. Inhale for 10 counts, then hold your breath for 10 counts. Exhale for 10 counts. Repeat five times.
  3. Inhale and tense your body. Pause, relax, and exhale. Repeat five times.
  4. Notice your breath and body. If a body part feels tight, consciously relax it.
  5. When a thought comes up, slowly return your focus to just your breathing.

Guided meditation

Guided meditation is when another person leads you through each step of meditation. They may instruct you to breathe or relax your body in a certain way. Or, they might have you visualize images or sounds. This technique is also known as guided imagery. At bedtime, try listening to a recording of a guided meditation. 

How to do 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.

Body scan meditation

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

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