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.

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.

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 judgment, and allows you to respond to them with greater wisdom and understanding.

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.

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 the 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 aging. 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.

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 willpower means that you are less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior and have the strength to create and maintain new healthy habits.

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 in 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.

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.

Courtesy / Credit: Yoga Basics

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