If insomnia is at the root of your sleepless nights, it may be worth trying meditation. The deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, improve sleep quality, and make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep.These are some key facts about the practice that may help you get over any hesitation about trying it.
- It’s safe. Meditation can be a great tool for those looking who are for an all-natural, medication-free way to treat insomnia. In fact, meditation has even been shown to help reduce the use of sleeping pills. The practice likely improves insomnia symptoms by reducing measures of arousal in the brain. And there are no associated risks or side effects to trying meditation.
- It can be used with other sleep techniques. Combining cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) with mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve sleep better than CBT-I alone.
- There are multiple health benefits. Not only can meditation improve your sleep quality, but it may also help reduce blood pressure and ease pain, anxiety, and depression.
- It’s easy. Meditation is an accessible, budget-friendly practice that everyone can try—insomnia sufferers of different ages respond well to the practice, including older adults. Though you can pay for meditative classes and books that teach you the practice, you can also search online for free apps and YouTube videos if you'd like to try it before you spend money on it.
The basics: Start by finding a comfortable place to sit or lie down, and then close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply, directing your attention to your breath as you inhale and exhale. If your mind starts to wander, simply bring your attention back to your breath. You might try doing it for, say, five minutes at a time at first and gradually increasing the amount of time as you get more comfortable with the practice.