Tossing and turning at night, trying to get to sleep. You look at the clock and will yourself to get some rest, which makes you more agitated and unlikely to fall asleep. It’s an awful cycle. For many people, this is a common reality and you may be looking for a solution.

Meditation is the healthiest, most natural, and often most successful way to start getting better sleep. Meditation is a centuries-old practice that is designed to calm and focus the mind. Often we have racing thoughts that it seems we have no control over. In reality, through a meditation practice, we can learn how to calm and quiet our mind so that getting to sleep is easier and sleep itself is more restful. Implementing a meditative practice can improve your sleep by establishing better hormonal balances in your mind and body, creating a more restful bedtime routine, and encouraging more mindfulness in your awake state as well.

Hormonal balances
When you meditate, it helps your body balance the stress and alert hormones with the rest and sleeping hormones. Brain scans and research have shown that when you meditate, your body’s release of stress hormones decreases and calming hormones that help you relax and sleep increase. This happens very quickly even in one session of meditating. What this also does is help your body learn to regulate these hormones on a regular basis as you create and maintain a regular meditation practice. In other words, your body learns to regulate itself and its hormones in a healthier way when you give it the tool of meditation to work with. With an increase in relaxation and sleep hormones, you will feel sleepier making is much easier to fall asleep.

Creates a restful routine
Because a meditation practice is a very conscious and intentional one, you are more likely to create other healthy rest habits. When meditating becomes part of your sleep routine, you are more likely to start intentionally calming down and relaxing even before your meditation session. The longer and more mindful your sleep routine is, the more restful your mind will be when you lay down to go to sleep. Just like starting the day with a healthy breakfast makes you more likely to make healthy food choices the rest of the day, when you start meditating that is often the first step in an all around better bedtime routine which will lead to more restful sleep.

Encourages mindfulness
Meditation is a powerful resource for your mind both consciously and subconsciously. A sustained and improved meditation practice has the ability to change the pathways of your thought patterns in your brain. When you commit to a meditative practice, you will likely notice a difference in your wakeful states as well. You may be calmer and not get upset or stressed out quite as easily. You may let things go easier and choose not to argue as much. When we make calmer choices during our day, that also means less stress hormones are released into our body. At bedtime, this means less stress to try to get out of your body, thus making for a smooth transition to sleep.

There are many ways to get started with a meditative practice. There are physical and online classes and tutorials and several smartphone apps that help you to get started. Sometimes starting to meditate can be overwhelming but remember: you know you have been successful at meditation when you sit down and do it. Good luck and sweet dreams!