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should you do it before bed and will it help you sleep better?

Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo explains why meditation is so helpful for sleep and the best way to do it.

Meditation – if there’s one thing that helps you sleep better, this is it.

A recent trial found insomniacs meditating 5 times a week for 30 minutes, over 6 weeks, were able to: fall asleep 31 minutes faster (from 41 minutes to 10 minutes), increase sleep efficiency from 31% to 70%, and spend 54 minutes more time asleep through the night (instead of awake).

Further research shows long term meditators have 4 times the amount of melatonin compared to non meditators – supporting sleep initiation and maintenance.

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The scientific evidence also notes on nights you meditate, melatonin is naturally higher. That’s not the only thing! Additional studies show after meditation, cortisol declines,which as you may remember, can reduce 3am wakings.

And for those doing it long term, another clinical study found long term meditator had 18% slow wave (deep) sleep – almost double that of non meditators, at 11%.

Evidently, meditation is king when it comes to sleep solutions.

But – should you do it before bed?

In the yes department:

If you find it relaxing, yes – it’s ideal.

Especially for those with bedtime anxiety, it can be the perfect antidote for you. Research found 60% of meditators experience less anxiety – e.g. less agitation, restlessness and rumination.

This is particularly pertinent to the sleep chronotype wolves: evidence shows you’re anxiety levels are typically higher, and overall, you sleep worse than bears and lions.

In the no department:

If you find it anxiety provoking, which can often happen for those who are new to the practice, no. Heightening anxiety is the exact opposite of what you want to do before bed.

But – if you don’t meditate before bed, make sure you find space somewhere else throughout your day for it – e.g. first thing in the morning, like yours truly.

Olivia Arezzolo is a sleep expert who holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology); Certificate of Sleep Psychology and a Diploma of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine); and Certificate of Fitness III + IV. Olivia is passionate about delivering straightforward, science-based strategies to improve sleep.

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