Meditation can improve most parts of your life. It can help with migraines, it can help with depression, it can help with social anxiety, and more. But what about sleep?
Sleep is something that everyone needs to live and function at full capacity yet everyone struggles at some point to get enough of it. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had at least a few nights in a row spent staring at the ceiling counting down the hours until the alarm goes off.
So what can we do?
We can meditate of course!
Meditation for Sleep
Studies have been done to find out if meditators had better short wave (the deep and restful part of) sleep than non-meditators. And guess what? The meditators got way more deep sleep. The study compared amongst three age groups and the results were fantastic. Meditators showed 17.95%, 11.3%, and 10.63% of short wave sleep among younger (30–39 years), middle (40–49 years), and older (50–60 years) age groups respectively. On the other hand, the corresponding non-meditating controls showed a significant reduction of SWS with increasing age, i.e., 11.29%, 6.65%, and 3.94%.
So the older group is getting 3 times as much deep sleep while the younger group is still getting 60% more than their non-meditating counterparts. That’s a huge difference!
Short wave sleep is the part where your body truly relaxed and repairs it self so if you get a full nights sleep and still wake up tired it’s likely because you didn’t get enough short wave sleep. So regular meditation practice will have you sleeping more deeply and waking up easier.
Can Meditation Help You Fall Asleep Faster?
But what about for those nights when you just can’t seem to drift off… is there a way to fall asleep quickly using meditation?
I found a breathing technique that can help you fall asleep in under a minute. In my experience it doesn’t work every single time, but about 1 in 4 times I’ve fallen asleep within a minute or two, and other times it’s helped me calm down so I can fall asleep normally. Definitely worth trying out either way!
The 4-7-8 breathing technique
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is great for falling asleep and for generally de-stressing and calming down. I’ve actually got an infographic to show you how to use it.
(The infographic was originally posted on this article on natural sleep aids if you’re looking for more ways to get a better sleep naturally.)
So you place the tip of your tongue behind the teeth, breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, then blow air, quite forcefully, out through the mouth for 8 seconds.
Repeat that 4 times then breathe normally.
I’ve had times it in the past where I’ve done it four times and though “oh well, I guess it didn’t work this time,” and then suddenly I was waking up the next morning.
Let me know in the comments if it’s worked for you!