woman sleeping next to her phone in bed

Meditation Before Sleep: Achieve Deep Sleep

Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is an issue that plagues a number of Americans. In fact, by some estimates, 50 to 70 million Americans experience difficulties relating to sleeping. However, more and more people are turning to meditation to help. Not only can meditation before sleep help people achieve deeper and more restful sleep, but it can also provide a number of other benefits, including a calmer mind and a brighter mood while also supporting a number of the brain’s most critical processes.

The Science of Meditation Before Sleep

Meditation before sleep has been shown to be beneficial in a number of ways. For example, a study from 2015 found people who practiced meditation before sleep had deeper and more restful sleep than those who did not practice meditation. A 2012 study also showed during periods of deep sleep, meditation practitioners exhibited decreased levels of stress hormones when compared to those who did not meditate before bed.

But how exactly does meditation help you sleep better? Well, there are a few different mechanisms at work.

First, meditation can help to calm the mind and reduce stress levels. This is important because when you're stressed, your body releases cortisol, which can interfere with sleep. Meditation also helps to promote relaxation and create a sense of peace before bed.

Additionally, during deep sleep, the brain undergoes processes that help to restore and rejuvenate the body. Meditation can help to facilitate these processes by inducing deeper and more restful sleep cycles. These processes include protein synthesis, cell repair, cognitive function, and memory consolidation.

How the Brain Helps Your Body Restore and Rejuvenate During Sleep

So, we know deep sleep is necessary for allowing the brain to undergo restorative and rejuvenating brain processes. To highlight the importance of getting a good sleep as often as possible, let's look at each of those processes in greater detail and why it's so important to facilitate them with deeper sleep.

Protein synthesis and sleep

Protein synthesis is the process by which cells create new proteins, and sleep is necessary for optimal protein synthesis. In fact, research has shown when people don’t get enough sleep, their muscle protein synthesis rates drop by as much as 18%. So,  if you’re looking to optimize your muscle growth, you need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

Along with meditation, there are a few different ways to improve your sleep for protein synthesis. One way is to make sure you’re sleeping in a dark room, as exposure to light can disrupt your sleep cycle. You should also avoid using most electronic devices before bed because the blue light they emit can also disrupt your sleep.

Memory consolidation and sleep

Along with protein synthesis, sleep is also necessary for memory consolidation.

Memory consolidation is the process by which memories are converted from short-term to long-term storage, and it’s essential for learning and retaining information. Research has shown sleep plays a critical role in memory consolidation, which means getting sufficient sleep is also crucial for learning and retaining new information.

There are many ways to improve your memory consolidation during sleep. One is to make sure you’re getting enough deep sleep. Deep sleep is the stage of sleep that’s most important for memory consolidation, and it’s characterized by slow brain waves. You can increase your chances of getting deep sleep by making sure your sleeping environment is dark and relaxing, as well as by avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed.

You can also improve your memory consolidation during sleep by practicing some form of memory training. Memory training involves practicing different tasks that improve your memory, and it’s been shown to be effective for improving memory consolidation during sleep. 

Finally, you can also improve your memory consolidation by getting enough exercise. Exercise has been shown to increase the number of slow brain waves in the brain, and this can help improve memory consolidation.

Sleep and cognitive function

Sleep is also critically important for cognitive function. This mental process refers to what allows us to think, learn, and remember information. Many studies have shown deep sleep is essential for cognitive function as well as how getting enough sleep is critical for boosting cognitive performance.

Cell repair and sleep

And finally, deep sleep is also incredibly useful for cell repair. Cell repair is the process by which cells heal and regenerate themselves, and it’s vital for maintaining optimal health. Sleep is the best time for cells to repair themselves which means getting enough sleep is critical for keeping our cells healthy.

Meditation Before Sleep: Tips and Tricks to Get You Started

If you're looking for an easy way to get started with meditation before sleep, the following tips can help.

  • Start by finding a quiet space where you can relax without interruption.
  • Sit or recline in a comfortable position. You may want to use a pillow or cushion to support your spine.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly, letting all the tension drain from your body.
  • When thoughts enter your mind, simply acknowledge them and then let them go. Do not try to suppress or control your thoughts. Instead, observe them as they come and go.
  • Continue meditating for five to ten minutes. You can increase the length of your meditation sessions as you become more comfortable with the practice.
  • When you're finished, slowly open your eyes and take a few deep breaths before getting up.
  • If you stick with it, you'll likely find that meditation before sleep becomes easier and more effective over time. And, who knows? You may even find yourself looking forward to your nightly meditation practice!

7 Reasons to Try Meditation Before Sleep

Now, if you need a little further inspiration to kick start your meditation journey, we think these seven reasons to try it will help.

1. It can help you fall asleep more quickly.

If you have trouble falling asleep, or find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night, meditation may be able to help. 

2. Meditation before sleep can help you stay asleep longer

Not only can meditation help you fall asleep more quickly, but it can also help you stay asleep throughout the night. 

3. Meditation teaches you how to focus on one thing at a time

In our busy lives, it can be difficult to keep our minds from racing. This is especially true when it comes to sleep! So, if you often find your mind is racing at night and it keeps you up, meditation before sleep is worth giving a try.

4. It can boost your mood

A good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining a positive mood, and meditation can help to improve your mood overall. When you are feeling stressed or anxious, it can be difficult to fall asleep. However, by meditating before bed, you may be able to alleviate some of these negative feelings and make it easier to relax and drift off to sleep.

5. Meditation can increase your overall sense of well-being

Meditation has a plethora of benefits, and one of those is an increased sense of well-being. When you feel good, it’s easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

6. Meditation can help you get in touch with your body

In order to achieve deep sleep, it’s important to be in tune with your body and know when you’re truly tired. Mediation can help you do this by teaching your body to learn how to listen to its own signals. This can make it easier to fall asleep when you are truly ready for bed, rather than forcing yourself to sleep when your body is not yet ready.

7. Meditation before sleep can help you manage Anxiousness

Meditation has been shown to be an effective tool for managing anxiousness, and it can also help to reduce stress levels as we mentioned. When you're feeling calm and relaxed, it's easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night

Other Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Along with meditation before sleep, transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation can also be a powerful tool for helping you achieve better sleep. Click here to learn more about Xen by Neuvana vagus nerve stimulating headphones and their many benefits.