If you don’t have the get up and go to start a morning mindfulness practice, consider meditating before bed. Meditating in the evening is a great way to unwind after a long day, calm the mind, reflect on what happened during the day, and let go of the day’s stresses and worries. It gives us a chance to clear our minds of any lingering thoughts or feelings that may have been triggered by the day. It also gives us a chance to connect with ourselves, to reflect on what we did well during the day and what we might want to improve upon next time around. Most importantly, meditation before bed helps us fall asleep faster and get better rest. Discovering the top reasons to meditate before bed might give you the motivation you need to establish a mindful evening routine.
1. Better sleep
If you struggle to fall asleep at night, meditating before bed may help you get some much needed rest. Research shows that a regular practice of meditation can improve sleep quality and duration by helping us to relax, destress and unwind. Practicing meditation before bed can improve sleep quality by reducing worry, anxiety and chronic pain.
Several minutes of meditation can induce a relaxation response in the body, which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to produce melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleepiness. Melatonin production peaks about an hour before we actually fall asleep, so practicing meditation right before bed can help us fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper, more restful sleep.
2. Soothes away stress
Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety. When we feel stressed out, our bodies release adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones that prepare us to fight or flee. When we stay stressed out for long periods of time, our body releases even more stress hormones, causing us to feel tired and anxious. An evening meditation practice is perfect for stress management, as we are often the most stressed at the end of the day.
Meditation helps to relieve stress by focusing the mind and calming the nervous system. Studies show that regular meditation decreases cortisol levels (a hormone associated with stress) and increases alpha brain waves (the relaxation state). By reducing stress through meditation, we can calm our nervous system and restore our energy levels. We can also focus more clearly and effectively during stressful situations.
Stress hormones cause us to act quickly and aggressively—sometimes against our own best interests. But meditation teaches us to notice and let go of those feelings before they escalate. When we meditate regularly, we train our brains to recognize when we’re feeling stressed and to help us relax instead of react. We also get the added benefit of reducing our risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other health problems associated with chronic stress.
3. Improves mood
When we’re stressed out, our emotions tend to run hot and fast. We are most likely to feel stressed out at the end of a frantic work day. An evening meditation practice can help clear out the stress of the day and bring you back into balance. Meditation also encourages more empathy, kindness, and compassion towards yourself and others. It helps you see things as they really are, without judgement, and allows you to respond to them with greater wisdom and understanding.
A regular meditation practice can create a kind and compassionate perspective of the outside world. When you meditate regularly, you’re able to control your emotions and respond to stressful situations more effectively. You may find yourself experiencing more positive emotions, such as joy, gratitude, and love, which will naturally lead to more positive interactions with others. In addition, you may notice that you have fewer negative thoughts about yourself and others, and feel better equipped to deal with difficult situations when they arise.
4. Strengthens relationships
Meditation teaches us to live from a place of non-judgment. It helps us to see ourselves as others see us, and to understand that there is no one right way to be. In meditation, we learn to accept ourselves and our experiences, including those that may seem negative or difficult. This acceptance allows us to open our hearts to others and to feel more compassion for them.
Meditation has been shown to better our ability to relate to others, by boosting the ability to identify and express emotions and by the regulation of anger and other negative emotions. It also helps us become more emotionally stable, which makes us less susceptible to being swayed by negative people around us.
Meditation can help you build stronger relationships with those closest to you. When you feel calm and relaxed, you tend to speak up more often and share your feelings. Studies have found that regular meditation can increase oxytocin (the “cuddle” hormone). Oxytocin makes us happier and calmer, and reduces aggression. Since we spend most of our weekday time with our partners in the evening, it is ideal to carve out some meditation time before interacting with your friends and partner at night.
5. Boosts creativity
Creativity is often thought of as a trait that only artists possess. However, research shows that creative thinking can benefit anyone. A study investigated the impact on creativity of two different types of meditation: focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM). They found that OM meditation was associated with enhanced divergent thinking, while FA meditation did not have any significant effects. This suggests that there may be something about the openness of OM meditation that makes it particularly effective for promoting divergent thinking–a type of thinking that allows the creative generation of many new ideas. If you spend weekday nights on creative projects, then consider adding an open monitoring meditation to your evening routine.
6. Relieves pain
Meditation has been used effectively against pain. A large meta-analysis of nearly 3,500 studies found that meditation was associated with lower rates of chronic pain. It also found that people who meditated were better able to cope with pain than those who didn’t. In fact, the researchers found that people who meditate experience less pain overall.
Mindfulness teaches you to step back from thoughts and feelings, which can then influence how you respond to pain. Meditation can help you manage pain through its effects on the mind.
7. Improves memory
Neuroscientists have shown that eight weeks of consistent mediation practice can literally change the brain. As we grow older, an area in the frontal cortex that is associated with memory and decisions shrinks in size. Research has shown that meditation slows down—and can possibly reverse—changes in the brain due to ageing. Researchers believe this is because meditation increases blood flow throughout the body, especially in the hippocampus area of the brain.
8. Encourages self care and insight
Meditation helps us to clear our minds, which allows us to focus on what matters most. It also gives us the opportunity to prioritize and practice self-care. When we meditate regularly, we become better able to manage stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. We can also use meditation as a tool to reduce pain, improve sleep quality, and increase overall well-being. As our awareness increases, we can learn to better take care of ourselves and know what is best for our wellbeing.
Meditation helps us slow down enough to notice what’s happening around us, whether it’s a thought, feeling, or physical sensation. It allows us to pay attention to the present moment without judgment or distraction. This practice gives us the opportunity to observe our thoughts and feelings as they arise, which helps us gain insight into ourselves. An evening meditation practice is perfect to encourage self-reflection and introspection at the end of your day.
9. Enhances willpower and self-discipline
Meditation develops the mental discipline needed to avoid bad habits. It can give you the strength to resist temptations and urges, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, eating junk food, etc. This is especially helpful at the end of your day when you have less energy to resist these unhealthy behaviors. Improved will power means that you are less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior and have the strength to create and maintain new healthy habits.
Meditation helps us to step back from the thoughts that can drive us to act impulsively and stay focused on what matters. It teaches us to become aware of our own impulses and emotions, and to recognize when they arise. It gives us the opportunity to pause before acting, to consider whether we really want to take that action, and to choose instead to do something else.
10. Reduces anxiety and depression
Meditation increases your emotional well- being, refocuses your attention, and reduces the negative thinking that can fuel depression and anxiety. Mindfulness practices also improve stress reactivity and coping skills, which can help ease the negative impact of these thoughts.
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that meditation may help ease high anxiety. Other research has shown that 8 weeks of mindfulness practice helps reduce anxiety symptoms in people who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This is important because GAD is often associated with chronic worry and rumination, which can lead to increased anxiety.
11. Improves self-confidence
Through daily practice, you can build a stronger sense of awareness, vitality, and positivity into your life. You can also practice noticing when you’re thinking about something that isn’t serving you well, whether it’s a relationship, a job, or anything else. When you catch yourself doing this, you have the opportunity to pause and ask yourself what you’re really feeling. Then, you can choose to either let those feelings go, or take action to change them.
You may notice that when you feel yourself slipping into negative thoughts about yourself, you can catch yourself before they become ingrained habits. You can also use these moments as opportunities to remind yourself of who you really are—a person who has strengths and qualities that make you unique and valuable.
Meditation builds your resilience by filtering out the negative self- talk that often clouds our true self and reenforces a negative self image. You can experience a greater sense of awareness and vitality in your practice, which will naturally boost your confidence. This boosts your self-esteem and helps you feel better about yourself.
Why evening meditation is important
Meditation has been found to have a wide range of benefits; however, the time at which you choose to meditate has a role to play in how much you benefit. Meditation can be practiced at any time of day, but meditating before bedtime is best for people with busy lives or if you struggle with getting a good night’s rest. You can greatly benefit from dedicating as little as five minutes at the end of your day to quiet your mind and reflect on the stillness this practice brings.
A consistent morning meditation practice calms the mind and allows us to gain greater insight into life’s important lessons. One of the great things about yoga and meditation is that they’re endlessly adaptable to individual needs and lifestyles. There are many different meditation techniques you can explore and implement at the start of your day to boost your sense of wellness, reduce your levels of stress, and increase your energy levels.
It’s important to note that meditation isn’t a quick fix. You need to dedicate time to practicing it regularly. But once you start meditating, you won’t want to stop!