Meditation helps us recenter, recharge, and refocus our attention.
However, meditation can also aid us in winding down, helping prepare us for sleep rather than overthinking at night.
It’s no surprise, then, that the practice of meditation has more than tripledin recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Guided meditation, sometimes called visualization, provides guided imagery that offers both mental and physical benefits.
Meditation Relieves Stress and Improves Sleep
One of the most common reasons people choose to incorporate meditation into their daily routines? Stress management and reduction.
In fact, recent researchhas proven that meditation programs result in small to moderate reductions in anxiety, depression, and psychological stress.
Stress is typically caused by increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that helps us prepare to fight or flee from a perceived threat.
Our bodies can’t tell the difference between the stress associated with a life-threatening event and the stress caused by being stuck in traffic.
As cortisol levels rise, inflammatory chemicals called cytokines follow suit. If left unchecked, the release of cytokines and elevated cortisol levels leads to disrupted sleep, high blood pressure, fatigue, brain fog, disrupted sleep, depression, and anxiety.
An eight-week studytracking mindfulness meditation found that inflammatory markers such as cytokine levels decreased after meditation.
Moreover, meditation is thought to evoke a more hopeful and positive outlook on self-image and life in general.
It’s even known for helping with sleep.
This is a huge benefit, since up to 50 percentof the adult population reports dealing with insomnia at some point or another.
One study took a closer look at meditation’s impact on sleep by comparing sleep duration among participants who practiced meditation and those who did not.
The study concluded that those who meditated stayed asleep longerand experienced less severe insomnia when compared to those without a daily meditation practice.
Since meditation helps to focus or redirect thoughts, it may help to control racing thoughts and worries that keep us up at night.
Aside from relaxing the mind, meditation is also known for helping to relax the body by releasing tension, easing you into sleep.
A variety of meditation techniques exist. So what type is best for getting started? Guided meditation offers a gentle and easy way to get started with establishing a daily practice.
How to Establish a Meditation Practice
Many different forms of meditation exist, including body scanning that involves progressive muscle relaxation or transcendental meditation that requires a repeated mantra or affirmation.
Much like you may want a tour guide on vacation, you may want a guide for meditation if you’re just getting started.
Guided meditation brings your thoughts to the here and now. It may sometimes include visualization, imagery, or other instructions that allow you to set intentions, feel gratitude, or be calm.
Another voice to help guide the way through your thoughts helps to prevent the mind from wandering during your meditation practice.
Typically, guided meditations include meditation music, guided sleep instructions to promote relaxation, breathwork, certain white noise or sounds, or periods of silence.
What’s more, guided meditations aren’t difficult to find and follow. Many are available online for free on sites like YouTube, including Jason Stephenson’s guided meditations on his channel.
Guided Meditation on YouTube
When starting a meditation practice, YouTube offers many guided meditation videos for free.
Jason Stephensonoffers guided meditations on his YouTube channel, which has amassed millions of subscribers and video views.
Jason Stephenson’s affirmations, mindfulness exercises, meditation music, guided sleep meditations, and relaxing white noise videos are some of the most popular on the site.
His entire library is sure to offer something to help you relax and de-stress before bed, and the guided imagery offers a simple way to dip your toe into the world of meditation without feeling overwhelmed and intimated.
No matter the type of meditation you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it on Jason’s channel or somewhere else across the site.
The Meditation Vacation channel, for example, features guided meditations for pain relief, sleep, body scanning for progressive muscle relaxation, and more.
If you’d prefer a specialized app for the practice of guided meditation, you may benefit from a specialized meditation app.
Guided Meditation Apps
Smartphone applications that offer guided meditation practices help many turn their interest in meditation into a habit, mostly due to their ease of use and daily push notification reminders.
Calm, for example, offers a large library of music meditation, guided sleep practices, and more.
Sleep meditation stories in the app offer visualization to help you ease into sleep. In fact, when using Calm for sleep, 78 percent of adults reported a better mood, while 74 percent said they woke up feeling more refreshed.
There is a free version of the app with a limited selection. To unlock the paid version, you’ll need to purchase full access.
Insight Timer, on the other hand, features a full collection of more than 100,000 guided meditations for free.
An add-on premium membership, however, is available for $5 per month, which allows for offline listening, courses, and more.
Meditation music, guided sleep practices, and more can be found in the free version. Some are led by familiar voices like Russel Brand.
If you’re ready to dive a bit deeper than regular guided meditation, try out Non-Sleep Deep Rest, or NSDR.
Go Further With Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR)
Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR), sometimes called Yoga Nidra, is often used by many who want to recharge but are short on time.
The term “Yoga Nidra” refers to the state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep, usually reached via guided meditation.
Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman refers to it as a vital part of his daily routine, stating:
“[NSDR] can access states of deep rest for the sake of falling asleep more easily and reducing stress, but also for enhancing rates of learning.”
With NSDR, your body is guided into deep relaxation in order to soothe the nervous system. Most NSDR practices feature a state of rest followed by a period of focus and/or breathwork led by guided instruction.
Dr. Andrew Huberman offers his own guided NSDR practice, which offers guidance and breathwork to de-stress and re-energize.
Although sleep can be difficult to obtain, we can always obtain rest. While NSDR can be used at any point during the day, it provides a gateway to shift into a restful mental state required for healthy sleep.
If you’re experiencing insomnia, NSDR offers guided meditation that can help you let go of worrying about or trying to control the onset of sleep.
As a result, your brain can quiet down and, in turn, you doze off.
Regardless of the meditation music, guided sleep meditation practice, or NSDR meditation you choose, make sure your airway is open once you fall asleep to prevent further sleep disturbances.
Prevent Sleep Disturbances With SomniFix
Much like meditation is a tool for relaxation and the onset of sleep, mouth tape is a tool for improved airway health and snoring prevention.
The way we breathe while we sleep is connected to our overall health, energy levels, sleep quality, and more.
When we mouth breathe at night, as many of us do, the airway collapses, causing snoring, gasping, and choking. Over time, this can even lead to sleep apnea.
Nasal breathing, however, prevents open-mouth snoring and allows the airway tissues to remain in place. As a result, snoreless nights and deep sleep follow.
Moreover, mouth breathing places the body in a state of fight or flight, while nasal breathing activatesour parasympathetic “rest and digest” response.
When you tape your mouth at night, you’ll nasal breathe all night long, achieving all of the health benefits the nose has to offer, including lowered anxiety, better oral health, and improved blood pressure.
SomniFix offers a gentle lip seal free from harmful, irritating chemicals.
Moreover, our Mouth Strips are created from recycled materials and feature a breathing vent that allows for emergency mouth breathing overnight.
Tape your mouth before your pre-bedtime meditation to re-center your mind, body, airway health, and sleep quality tonight!
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