Meditate Your Way to Better Sleep

Exhaustion and fatigue are caused by a number of factors including stress, bad diet, lack of exercise, strain, and our physical health. But the most common cause is the lack of good, quality sleep.

You can get your eight hours a night and still wake up groggy and tired just as easily as you can struggle with insomnia and not get any sleep at all.

In today’s world, we dismiss proper sleep as a luxury. It is all too easy to combat our drooping eyes and constant yawns with caffeine and sugar, or a shock of cold water to our faces. This only worsens the problem and makes it more difficult to solve it at its roots.

Sleep is a complicated biological process, but getting enough of it is as simple as incorporating meditation into our daily routines.

The reason for this is simple:

Meditation relaxes the body and calms the mind, which makes it easier for us to fall (and stay) asleep.

The Proof is in the Pudding

In a study by JAMA Internal Medicine, 50 mature adults with moderate sleep problems were split into two groups and assigned routines that would hopefully influence the quality of their sleep.

In the first group, subjects were taught good sleep habits to do with their hygiene, diet, and night time routines. The second group underwent a mindfulness meditation programme for six weeks.

The study concluded that those who meditated showed greater improvements in their sleep. Furthermore, the subjects also yielded fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia and stress.

Although this is just one example, numerous studies continue to show that those who meditate get better sleep.

Most assume that meditation is purely spiritual and therefore cannot have any observable physical effects on us, but this is simply not true.
Effects of Meditation on the body

Meditation is Good for Your Brain- We have all heard of REM sleep- most commonly identified as dream time. REM sleep is the deepest stage of sleep, and is critical to our wellbeing, both physically and psychologically. Most of the time, if you are not sleeping well or enough, the reason why you don’t feel rested is because your REM sleep is disrupted.

REM sleep is bought about by a region of our brains named the Pons- Therefore, if your pons is malfunctioning, healthy sleep will not come easily.

The fantastic news is that neuroscientists have proven time and time again that meditation strengthens the pons, and thereby makes REM sleep easier and longer lasting.

Fun Fact: This also means that meditation makes Lucid Dreaming easier.
Meditation Is Like a Sleep Drug- There is a reason why the pons is responsible for REM sleep. It’s because it’s also responsible for the regulation of melatonin: the sleep chemical. When struggling with insomnia, the most likely reason is that your brain is not producing enough melatonin making sleep physically impossible.

It goes without saying that since meditation strengthens the pons, it increases our levels of melatonin. In fact, a study by Rutgers University revealed that melatonin levels in meditation practitioners increased by a minimum of 98%!

But the benefits of meditation go much further. Stress is one of the biggest reasons why we don’t produce enough melatonin. It has been proven many times that meditation decreases our cortisol (stress hormone) levels too.

Meditation Alters Your Brainwaves- When we are worried, anxious, stressed, depressed or restless from insomnia, our brains radiate something called Beta Brain Waves. The potential for beta brain waves to become a cycle of never-ending negativity is astounding.
These beta brainwaves interfere with our REM sleep, because logically speaking; negativity causes stress which floods us with cortisol which in turn blocks our melatonin.

But meditation has shown to eliminate our negative thought trends and replace the pesky beta brainwaves with much healthier waves (alpha, delta and theta brainwaves).

How to Meditate for Better Sleep

Now that you know how meditation helps us sleep better, it’s time to put it into practice. Meditation is by far the simplest, healthiest, and most inexpensive means to achieve healthy sleep. Some insomniacs don’t realise that prescription tablets, tranquilizers and other sleep medications and supplements only replenish our supply of melatonin, and why medicate when you can achieve the same results the natural way?

To maximize the benefits of meditation, not only in sleep but in daily life as well, it is recommended that you incorporate good dietary practises and frequent exercise into your routine.
That said, apart from investing in a good mattress and offering a few minutes each day to practise your meditations, healthy sleep is within reach at no cost at all.

Here are simple meditations you can try right away.

The Two Step Meditation

Focus. Choose something pleasant to focus on. This can be a mantra, a power word or sound, a happy memory, or even your breaths. Concentrate on this and only this for as long as you can (or want to).
Let go. When your mind begins to wander, let your thoughts go by breathing deeply and relaxing. You can repeat this process as many times as you like, and it’s perfect for when you are already in bed.


You might think that counting and sleep meditation are two different things, but they don’t have to be. If you are struggling to sleep, focusing on numbers can be just as powerful as Concentration and Mindfulness meditation techniques.

It’s all to do with focusing your attention on a specific detail and so this counts (no pun intended). A very effective technique is to count backwards, in multiples of 7 (or any other challenging number). This is very calming and will trick your mind into blocking out all the noise and stress that prevents you from falling asleep.

Breathing Exercises
Practicing yoga breathing is a great way to relax before bedtime. It’s easy.
Inhale and exhale through your nostrils only, focusing on how your breath is your life force. Allow your breaths, as they pass through your throat, to emanate a soft sound- almost like the ocean. Try this combined with square breathing: Inhale for four counts, hold for two and exhale for four.

Naturally, these are meditations you can try right before you sleep, but keep in mind that Concentration meditation and Mindfulness meditation can be practised anywhere, anytime, as long as you have peace and quiet, or room to really focus on your meditations.
Have a Bedtime Routine

Lastly, to make the most of your meditations, it’s important that you practise them routinely. Make your bedtime a sleep ritual. Practise good hygiene, switch off your electronics, and set a time for your night meditations. Once you get a rhythm going, good, deep sleep will become a routine in itself.

The meditations listed above may yield instant results, but to sleep better in the long run, consider daytime meditations for longer lasting calm and relaxation.

Author's Bio: 

Founded in 2003 by Vishen Lakhiani, Mindvalley Academy works with the best authors and the most innovative technology to provide learning experiences on personal growth, health and fitness, spirituality, productivity, mindfulness and more.

We serve over three million students, subscribers and followers worldwide, empowering our audience to lead healthier, happier lives and fulfill their greatest potential.We are ambitiously determined to change education globally and provide innovative, holistic education at all levels of life - from infancy to high school to late adulthood.

Our ultimate goal? To launch a school of growth and humanity for a billion people, unleashing the extraordinary in everyone, with the adamant belief that we can and will impact the world.