Meditation doesn’t always come naturally, but with a little practice it can help calm your mind and lead to better sleep at night.
Why meditation may help you sleep
A major cause of sleeplessness is arousal in the brain triggered by the release of cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress-related hormones, according to Deirdre Conroy, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic at the University of Michigan.
Meditation targets this primal fight-or-flight response that causes our hearts to pound, minds to race, and muscles to tense.
With the help of deep, slow, and controlled breathing that accompanies most meditation techniques, as well as the calm environment and general stillness you create when meditating, you can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with resting and digesting rather than fighting or fleeing, Conroy told BuzzFeed News.
“Often we're just going, going, going. We're not really focused on our heart rate until we get into bed at night and learn that our heart is racing and that we’re very tense,” Conroy said. “If we practice meditation more often, we're training our brain to be able to calm itself, like a self-management strategy.”