How can mindfulness meditation help with insomnia?

Insomnia impacts lots of people and the challenge is to try not to get into a struggle with being awake when you’d rather be asleep, because the more you resist it, the more it will agitate your mind and make getting back to sleep even harder. Meditation can be helpful when you have insomnia because when you meditate, you're building a muscle that helps you redirect your mind. One of the things you can do is practice meditation regularly, even for just a few minutes a day, not just when you're having trouble sleeping. And you can use it in moments of sleepless too! Here are some ideas.

  • If you’re lying awake, see if you can let the out-breath be slightly longer than the in-breath, which can help calm the nervous system. 
  • In the Sleep section of the Ten Percent Happier app we have lots of guided meditations to help you relax into sleep, or fall back asleep after waking in the night. Jeff Warren's Sleep River meditation is a fan favorite.
  • Some people find body scan meditations helpful practice for falling asleep, or falling back asleep. Anushka Fernandopulle has a Bedtime Body Scan and there are many other great meditations in the app.

When you're struggling to fall asleep it can also help to practice self-compassion. Self-compassion works as a reminder that you're not alone and that you can choose to be kind to yourself while you're awake in the night and it'll be more helpful than giving yourself a hard time. As you lay in bed you can try putting one hand on your heart and one on your belly as a physical reminder of kindness. This can also help settle the nervous system. If you want to practice ahead of time, explore our self-compassion meditations in the app, including:

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