Whether you're an insomniac, struggling with stress at night, or just trying to get more sleep, meditation can help. But it's important to know the best practices to make sure you're meditating for 5 minutes in a way that works for you.
How to Meditate for 5 Minutes
The simplest way to meditate is to sit or lie down, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Start by inhaling through your nose and feel the air rise up to your chest, then exhale through your mouth. This slow, conscious and specific breath pattern helps you focus on the present moment and relax.
Mindfulness meditation can also be effective for reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality. It involves focusing on the present, experiencing thoughts and emotions without judgment, and engaging in diaphragmatic breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
Guided meditation is another type of meditation that can help a person relax and reduce symptoms of insomnia. It may involve listening to an audio recording that guides a person's thoughts or provides instructions for breathing, movement, or visualization.
Qigong and yoga nidra are also effective sleep techniques that combine mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, and stretching-based postures. These yogic or tai chi practices are based on ancient Chinese medicine techniques, and they have been shown to improve sleep in people with chronic insomnia.
For more advanced meditators, there are meditation apps like Headspace that offer guided sleep meditations with music and visualization options. The app's "sleepcasts" are especially helpful for adults, but they can be used by children as well.