Here's How to Use Mindfulness Meditation to Sleep
Better Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing. When you don't sleep enough, you feel stressed. Stress can also make it difficult for you to sleep. When you're stressed, you may find it hard to relax at night. You may stay awake with anxious thoughts, or wake up in the middle of the night feeling stress or worry.
With sleep deprivation, stress only gets worse. You show more signs of stress and your body and mind struggle to recover from the stress of the day. With mindfulness meditation, you can relieve the effects of stress and get better, more restorative sleep.
Why You Can't Sleep When You're Feeling Stressed
Stress stimulates your mind and body, which is the opposite of the relaxation you need to calm down and drift off to sleep. When you're feeling stressed, your mind and body are in a state of hyperarousal, and higher levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released, while production of serotonin, a hormone that helps you feel tired, is reduced. You may feel agitated, find it difficult to control your thoughts, and experience anxiety, all of which can make it hard to sleep soundly.
How Meditation Can Help You Sleep Better
Meditation can be used to trigger the relaxation response. When you trigger the relaxation response, your mind and body feel calmer. It can counteract the effect of stress on your body, reduce psychological distress, decrease oxygen consumption, and reduce blood pressure. The relaxation response can also be used to mitigate the effects of insomnia.
You can support healthy sleep habits with meditation, using it as a calming practice during the day or before bed. Practiced regularly, mindfulness meditation can help to improve sleep quality while reducing insomnia, fatigue, and depression.
Using Meditation to Sleep Well and Relieve Stress
Mindfulness meditation can be used to promote relaxation and healthy sleep. It should be practiced regularly, but meditation is particularly helpful when you're feeling especially stressed or sleep deprived.
About the Author
Sarah Johnson represents Community Relations for Tuck Sleep, a non-commercial community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NBC News, Lifehacker, and Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.
1) When and how did you begin practicing yoga?
I was born in India and was instructed by my dad to do a headstand every day to help keep my eyes strong at a very young age. I dutifully did stretching every day and didn't know that all these were yoga exercises. I came to US at the age of 12.
Many years later when I started to take yoga classes in the US did I realize what yoga was and that I had done parts of it my entire life.
2) How has yoga benefitted you?
I find that the stretching built into yoga postures keeps my spine, neck and shoulders aligned. When I stop practicing yoga postures, my body gets tense and stiff very easily.
3) Tell us about yourself, i.e., your interests, inspirations, passions, etc.--anything.
Along with yoga, I practice tai chi, hiking, mindfulness and healthy eating. At the core of these activities is the fundamental basis of living a clean and healthy lifestyle. When I'm cooking, I am mindful of how this is going to taste and who my audience is and how I want to excite their taste buds and make them happy eating this. With that motivation I am excited to cook or create a new item with the end in sight. With yoga, my goal at the end of the session is to fully nourish my body and strengthen it.
4) How do you practice yoga beyond asana (or postures) and into daily life?
Every morning as soon as I get out of bed, the first thing I do is sun salutation, side bends and back bends to wake up my body. I practicing mindful breathing as I am standing at the train station, sometimes doing leg extensions and twists. As I run up and down the stairs getting to the next train, I am practicing mindful breathing so I am able to recover quickly. I practice half downward dog as a mid-day stretch or sometimes before I go to bed.
5) In what ways are you involved with Root 2 Rise Yoga community?
I have participated in activities organized by Michelle, one of them was the Costa Rica trip in 2014 which I highly recommend!! I also participated in musical events, potlucks, hiking, lunch and dinner outings. I enjoy meeting like-minded people and our R2R community is a wonderful group of people.
6) Anything else you would like to share with our community, such as insights from your practice, words of inspiration, etc.
I am very fortunate to have found Michelle. Over the years, I have taken numerous yoga classes and once I attended Michelle's class, I was hooked. Michelle has mastered the art of teaching and incorporating the principles of yoga. I have occasionally subbed for Michelle and taught impromptu yoga in Fiji and I ended up copying her teaching style. People would come up to me and say, "Are you a yoga instructor?" and I would say, "No, but I have a really wonderful yoga instructor whose style I copy naturally!!"
Practicing yoga and stretching is a way of life. Once it becomes a natural part of yourself, you don’t think about it as a class-only activity.
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REviews of Root 2 Rise Yoga with Michelle chua:
Michelle truly lives out what she teaches. She is so much more than a yoga teacher - I learned this when I went on her exquisitely curated trip that she organized to Costa Rica this past June 2018...Hopefully like me, you'll be delighted by her effervescent love of movement, nature, and all people!
Michelle clearly stands out with her beautiful and bright energy. I love how her practice and teaching encompass body, mind and spirit. She not only teaches yoga but lives and exudes it.
Michelle not only teaches 'yoga', she embodies it fully with her heart and soul...
Michelle is by far one of the best instructors I've ever had, period. Patient, clear in her explanations and demos, and so encouraging...
My first yoga class was with Michelle years ago. You can have the best (yoga pose) sequence and not teach from your heart. With Michelle, I also feel her passion when I'm in her class. I can see she loves what she does, and she inspired me to want to teach yoga, too.
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I'm so grateful to have met Michelle! Her kind energy opened up my interest in pursuing yoga and meditation. She is such an incredibly light and soul. She starts with grounding ourselves through mindfulness and breathing exercise. She brings the most authentic energy to the class by sharing the history and understanding behind poses, names, and techniques. I truly appreciate her work and impact on my well-being!
I’ve had dozens of instructors over the years, but Michelle is far and away the best yoga mentor I’ve ever practiced with. She epitomizes grace during these difficult times. Michelle has saved my sanity and my back while working from home, keeping me grounded with her sharing of yogic teachings and meditation techniques. Her repertoire of physical asanas is encyclopedic, and I’ve loved learning new poses and stretching my boundaries. Jump in, all. You’ve got this!
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