Portrait of woman with closed eyes lying in flower meadow

Sleep meditation: 3 tips

Sleep meditation: 3 tips for a peaceful and restful sleep

Sleep Meditation is very popular: more and more people are using meditation apps to help them fall asleep better. But do mindfulness exercises really improve sleep? A study from the USA clarifies the issue.

Everyone knows it: the first half of the day is not even over yet. Work is piling up on the desk and the eyes are getting heavier and heavier. This tiredness! You have to hold out somehow until the evening. An eternity later, it feels like bedtime - and maybe you don't even allow yourself to sleep because there is still so much to do. But now you are lying in bed and the carousel of thoughts picks up speed. Fall asleep? Totally impossible!

First of all: If you don't allow yourself any sleep, you should rethink. Sleep increases the quality of life. Good sleep should be a goal for everyone. However, those who simply cannot fall asleep should take the time to find rest.

Research shows: sleep meditation helps!

Studies show that most people get too little sleep. A survey of 196 business managers by the management consultancy McKinsey just recently came to the conclusion that 66 percent of managers suffer from a lack of sleep. This has fatal effects, not only on well-being, but also on health. The body's defences weaken and one is more susceptible to depressive moods. Moreover, we now know that staying awake for twenty hours has the same effect as an alcohol blood level of 0.1 percent. However, very few people voluntarily lie in bed sleepless. So what can you do to get better and deeper sleep?

A group of researchers from the University of Los Angeles set out to find out. For a study they published in April 2015, they looked at the effects of sleep meditation on bed rest using 59 adults over the age of 54.

All participants had problems falling asleep and staying asleep. Just under half of them were taught mindfulness exercises for six weeks. The rest took part in a sleep meditation and hygiene programme. All participants were asked to practise what they had learned in their daily lives. After six weeks, the researchers examined the sleep quality of both groups again and indeed it was found that the sleep quality had significantly improved in the participants who had meditated regularly in the meantime.

Daytime sleepiness was also reduced even more significantly. Overall, the effects were similar to those in studies with insomnia patients treated with medication and psychotherapy.

3 Tips for Sleep: Exercises, Technique and Habits for Optimal Sleep

First of all, all the tips and tricks in the world won't help if the mattress is not good. Therefore, the comparatively simple solution to the problem is often to first buy a proper, good mattress. Accordingly, sleep meditation can improve sleep in a natural way. However, it is usually not enough to sit in front of a white wall. Consciously directing one's thoughts has to be learned:

  1. More and more people are now using meditation apps to help them steer their thoughts towards relaxation.
  2. Through breathing exercises, mentally wandering through the body and progressive muscle relaxation, one becomes more and more tired quite quickly here. The thoughts wander into the dream world. And then suddenly: Zzzzzz. Good night! By the way, relaxation exercises are also suitable for integration into everyday life in order to continuously reduce stress. This makes it much easier to fall asleep at the end of the day.
  3. However, meditation alone does not lead to the goal; how one beds and nourishes oneself are important issues that in combination lead to long-term success.

Among the better-known sleep meditation apps are 7Minds, Headspace and Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson. We have tested them

Sleep Meditation App #1: 7Mind

At 7Mind, former PR manager and German Zen master Paul Kohtes teaches listeners the basics of sleep meditation. The first step in the short sessions is to bring the attention from the outside to the inside - for example, by observing one's own breath or wandering through the body with one's thoughts and noticing where tensions are located. The first seven sessions are free; if you want to improve your sleep and relaxation through meditation, you have to pay a subscription. In return, there are also courses that are supposed to help the user deal with topics such as stress, health and relationships and find a better way to deal with strong emotions.

Sleep Meditation App #2: Headspace

Those who speak English can also be guided to sleep meditation by Andie Puddiecombe. The founder of Headspace is now considered the Jamie Oliver of sleep meditation. The trip to the inner self lasts ten minutes at Headspace. Bit by bit, the Briton with the pleasant voice ensures deeper and deeper relaxation. For example, he teaches his listeners to observe their thoughts, to accept them and to let them pass by like clouds. The app illustrates the basics of sleep meditation with small animations before the actual exercise. Headspace costs money after the first ten sessions and then also offers meditations for various life situations - not only for falling asleep, but also for SOS stress situations, pregnancy or fear of flying, for example.

Sleep Meditation App #3: Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson

Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson is specially designed to help you fall asleep. You can download the app from the App Store for 2.99 euros. In the background you hear piano melodies and sometimes monotonous railway chatter, while the Scotsman instructs you in English: "Breathe in, breathe out! Tighten toes, relax toes." Using techniques from progressive muscle relaxation, his sleep hypnosis quickly helps you forget all thoughts of the past day and find your way to the land of dreams.