In a recent article for the Harvard Health Blog, executive editor Julie Cross reported on a study that shows mindfulness meditation can help to fight insomnia and improve quality of sleep.

Mindfulness meditation is a kind of meditation in which you focus on breathing and try to focus exclusively on the present. This helps to relax the body and the mind, and it breaks a cycle of stressful thoughts.

If you have trouble sleeping, one cause might from racing thoughts that keep you awake. You lie in bed thinking about the past day or about what you have to do tomorrow, and the business and stress of these thoughts can prevent you from sleeping. Mindfulness meditation can help you to clear your mind of these thoughts and to relax.

The study showed that practicing mindfulness meditation once a week resulted in less fatigue, insomnia, and depression.

For ideal results, you should practice mindfulness meditation once a day for about 20 minutes. This will help you to feel more relaxed regularly, and you’ll develop a habit of calming yourself. If you have trouble sleeping at night, you can use mindfulness meditation to clear your mind and fall asleep more easily.

Full Article From Harvard Medical School Here

To elicit the relaxation response, try these two simple steps:

Step 1: Choose a calming focus. Good examples are your breath, a sound (“Om”), a short prayer, a positive word (such as “relax” or “peace”), or a phrase (“breathing in calm, breathing out tension”; “I am relaxed”). If you choose a sound, repeat it aloud or silently as you inhale or exhale.

Step 2: Let go and relax. Don’t worry about how you’re doing. When you notice your mind has wandered, simply take a deep breath or say to yourself “thinking, thinking” and gently return your attention to your chosen focus.

Julie Corliss

Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter