How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
What is Meditation?
How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
What is Meditation?
Benefits of Mindfulness: Mindful Living Can Change Your Life
Mindfulness 101: A Beginner's Guide
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to offer medical treatment or advice. If you struggle with chronic insomnia or other difficulty sleeping, you may consider consulting with your physician or with a sleep specialist.
Sleep is nature’s ingenious way of ensuring that we busy humans, like all mammals, get the downtime we need.
During those hours of slumber, our brains do vitally important work—from fighting the common cold to repairing damaged tissue; rebalancing essential biochemicals; clearing toxic waste from our cells; and processing memories and emotions, among many other tasks. We even learn while we sleep.
Simply put: Without a good night’s sleep, we can’t thrive. And when poor sleep is a chronic issue, it has far-reaching implications for physical health and mental health and can even result in death.
Unfortunately, trouble sleeping is a national epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 American adults get less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough healthy sleep is associated with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and mental distress including depression, among other problems.
So, if the body requires sleep, how is it possible to not sleep?
Our collective sleep problem has much to do with modern life. Sleep is controlled by circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycles of the body’s internal clock that are highly influenced by light. During daylight hours, biochemical changes in the body keeps us awake and alert. The diminished light of evening signals the production of melatonin, which helps us fall asleep.
Back when humans were more in sync with nature, our circadian rhythms were effortlessly in balance. We rose early, getting most of our natural light exposure in the morning hours, were physically active during the day, and come nightfall, we were ready to fall asleep and to stay asleep.
Nowadays, these rhythms are disrupted. Instead of rising early feeling fully rested, we jolt our sleepy selves awake with an alarm and stay that way with caffeine and sugar. Instead of filling up on early-morning light and moving our bodies, we spend our days indoors and mostly sedentary.
And at night, instead of quieting down as day turns to evening, we keep working, watching TV or binging Netflix, and get lost in our social feeds, all illuminated by disruptive bright and blue lights from our technology and devices.
Is it any wonder we have trouble sleeping?
So, is the solution to our collective sleep problems to get back into sync with nature? It’d be a good start.
When your personal space is peaceful, it’s far easier to relax and let go of the day and drift into sleep. Here are some simple ways to make your bedroom the perfect environment for a good night’s rest.
The temperature impacts both your ability to sleep and the quality of your sleep. Your body’s core temperature naturally cools during sleep, so supporting this process can help you to both fall asleep faster and to sleep through the night. Researchers found that room temps of 62-71 degrees F (17-22° C) were most conducive to quality sleep.
Noise is a major sleep disrupter. Earplugs can help if you’re kept awake from noise close by, like someone snoring. To block out atmospheric noise, you might try a white noise machine or a fan.
Clutter makes us feel unsettled. One study found a correlation between sleep disturbances and hoarding tendencies. For better sleep, keep your bedroom clean: clear surfaces, pick up items from the floor, put everything away in its proper place, and make your bed. Also, welcome in some fresh air. Your bedroom should invite ease.
Light, especially short-wave blue light like the kind emitted by tablets and smartphones, can disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycles. To minimize light disturbance, keep your bed area device-free, and if possible, avoid any bright light leading up to bedtime. If outside light is an issue, try light-blocking curtains or a sleep mask for a more restful sleep.
Relaxing aromas, including lavender, rose, and chamomile, can help the body and mind settle, and contribute to better sleep. Try using some natural scents—in the form of dried herb satchels or nonsynthetic aromatherapy oils or a diffuser—in your bedroom to help create a restful environment.
Sheets and blankets can make a difference in temperature control and comfort. Your bed should be a haven where you feel safe and can deeply relax. Make an investment in whatever bedding makes you want to crawl into bed and stay there. Zzzzz.
And get up even if you’re tired! You’ll be happy you did when you go back to bed later that night. A consistent sleep schedule helps train your body to know when to fall asleep and when to wake up.
It will help make your space feel more tidy and relaxing when it’s time to go to sleep. Also, wash your sheets and blankets regularly to keep them feeling clean and fresh.
A Mediterranean-style diet of high-fiber complex carbohydrates, healthy vegetable fats, and lean protein is recommended in general, but it can also promote healthy sleep. Eating a diet low in fiber and high in fat, on the other hand, has been associated with lighter, less restorative sleep.
Regular exposure to sunlight is important for sleep. It’s been shown to help you go to sleep earlier, help you sleep through the night, and to improve sleep quality. And early-morning light, between the hours of 6-8:30 am, appears to have the strongest effect on sleep later on. This may be due to the influence of sunlight-induced Vitamin D on melatonin production.
Moderate aerobic exercise is widely regarded as a natural sleep aid. After heating up from exercise, body temperature drops, mimicking lower body temps during sleep. Exercise also appears to rebalance disrupted circadian rhythms.
As day turns to evening, the body naturally begins its preparation for sleep. You can support this drive by following these tips.
Your body needs time to digest the food you eat. When you eat late, or eat a lot, your body is still working hard to process that food. Keep evening meals light and give your body time to digest before you head to bed.
We know that caffeine can give us a boost in the morning, but having it later in the day can interfere with sleep by blocking adenosine, a sleep-inducing molecule produced in the body. And it’s not just coffee: hot and cold tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate, may contain caffeine that can impact sleep.
This will support your circadian system, which controls appetite and digestion in addition to sleep. Research finds that sleep irregularity is correlated with cardiometabolic disease, obesity, and depression, in addition to daytime sleepiness, less daytime light exposure, and less physical activity. Even on the weekends, try to keep a regular sleep and wake schedule, varying by no more than an hour or so.
Do a relaxation technique, such as mindful deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or a body scan, to help move your body and mind into a restful state.
There are some nights that no matter what you do, sleep just doesn’t come easily. If you’ve been practicing good sleep hygiene and there are no outside distractions keeping you awake, it could be a passing thing. Even so, when you’re awake in the middle of the night, tossing and turning, it can feel like you’ll never sleep again.
When sleep is elusive, try these tips:
If your bladder is full, your body won’t let you sleep. Make sure to keep the lights dim as you make your way to the bathroom, and when you’re done, come back to bed.
This cools the temperature of the room. Strip down if you’re wearing night clothes that are making you too warm.
Instead of lying there trying to sleep, don’t try. That will only stress you out. Get out of bed and go to another room to engage in a quiet activity like reading, restorative yoga, listening to relaxing music, or working on a puzzle. Use just enough light to help you see, but try to keep a restful night atmosphere. And keep your devices put away; this isn’t the time to scroll your news feed. When you start to feel sleepy again, go back to bed.
Even if you feel tired, waking at your regular time will support your circadian rhythm and help you get to sleep the next night.
Explore our articles, expert tips, and guided meditations to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.
Free 7-Day Meditation Challenge
Enjoy better health, sharpen your focus, and become less reactive with a better sleep routine.
(Even if you don't have 8 hours.)
Email MissingWe couldn’t detect your email with the SSO provider you have selected.
We are here to make a positive impact on the world. We never want to sell you something that hasn’t helped you live a better life. That’s why if you’re unhappy with any purchase from us, you have 30 days to get a full refund and your money back.
If you subscribed to Mindfulness Plus+ and are unhappy with your purchase, please get in contact with us within the 30-day period and we’ll refund your purchase.
Learn more about our Mindfulness Guarantee.
We believe in a world where everybody has access to the life-changing skills of mindfulness.
Congratulations on taking the first step towards a more mindful life! As a token of our appreciation, we want to offer you an exclusive opportunity to upgrade to Mindfulness Plus+ for a price you won't find anywhere else.
Mindfulness Plus+ is our premium membership that includes everything you need to learn mindfulness and keep practicing throughout all stages of life.
Take this exclusive offer to further your mindfulness skills and experience deeper levels of well-being.
Just a small sample of the life-changing 5-star reviews we get on a daily basis.
Vidyamala’s tips on catching anger as it’s happening or about to happen are great - clear, practical, and doable.
The little talks before the meditations are priceless. It's like I've found my peeps. The topics, the quotes, the goals—it all makes so much sense to me, things I want to be thinking and learning about. Most importantly, the meditations are kindness-centered, which I love. It feels like a new way to approach meditation.
Incredible, easy to navigate app. I would highly recommend this app to anyone who wishes to reduce stress and anxiety or simply as an aid to improve overall mental health.
I love how the app gives me pointers to new things to explore.
So calm and soothing. I love the new bundle with Kelly Boys, she’s brilliant!
Better than Headspace. I've had the paid version of both apps, and I must say I enjoy this one better.
- Gina, Plus+ Member
I am very new to meditation, and am so happy that my first introduction to it has been through this app
The first session was fantastic. I feel safe. And supported. Almost like having someone helping me through my difficult time. I’m very grateful for this app.
You get a lot of useful tips for handling stress and anxiety in 'real life'.
Kelly Boys is hands down the best. Everytime I click on one of her guided meditations I get excited for the calmness that lies ahead.
Sleep Deeply at Night and Feel Refreshed and Energised in the Morning
Find an entire collection of our meditations specifcally design to help you sleep better.