Hardly anything beats a good night of sleep, but it doesn't come easily for everyone. While some of us can drift off within minutes, others aren't so lucky, instead spending far too much time tossing and too little time snoozing.
Perhaps you've tried everything – you've dimmed your lights hours before sleep, you've put away your phone and you've swapped Netflix for a book. Still, as soon as your head hits the pillow and you turn out the lights, you find yourself going down a rabbit hole of thoughts and emotions.
Should you sleep on your left side, right side or on your back? Put your arm under your pillow, around a stuffed animal, or across your loved one? Blanket on or off? Was that joke you made earlier inappropriate? Did you forget to send an email at work?
Next thing you know it's 3 AM, you haven't slept a wink, and you can feel the next day approaching. The stress continues to build – how will you possibly make it through the workday?
Sleep: A common struggle
If you struggle with nights like these, you're not alone. According to the Center for Disease Control, 35% of American adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night. Likewise, according to the Great British Sleeptime Report, one-third of people in the UK sleep only five to six hours a night. That's much less than the seven to nine hours of sleep that doctors recommend.
How did we get to this point? Any number of reasons could be the cause – it could be anxiety about the next day, having too much caffeine before bedtime, eating dinner too late, or spending too much time looking at your laptop screen.
Solution: Guided sleep meditation with 8fit
Before we get into the benefits of guided sleep meditation, we have an exciting announcement to make: 8fit has joined forces with buddhify to bring you guided sleep meditations right alongside your meal plan and HIIT workouts! Available for all Pro users as well as 8fitters on a 14-day trial, the sleep meditations offer solutions for the sleepless and sleep-lovers alike.
Six different guided meditations for sleep await you on 8fit Pro's home screen, each with comforting names like Cradle, Release and Fade. The programs last between five and 13 minutes and provides listeners with a mantra dedicated to giving you a restful night's snooze. But what is guided sleep meditation, you may wonder? We're glad you asked.
What is guided sleep meditation?
Chances are, you know a little something about meditation – after all, it's made its mark in recent years as wellness apps like 8fit have entered the tech world. Sure, you've probably heard how meditating can give you a sense of calm and clear your mind, but did you also know it can help you fall asleep and stay asleep?
People have been practicing meditation for thousands of years. It provides us with a way to calm the mind and be present by using breathing techniques, movements and mantra repetition. One common misconception is that you should meditate to empty your mind completely, but that's incorrect. Instead, the goal is to observe your thoughts – without judgment – and connect both mind and body to the present moment.
The difference between non-guided sleep meditation and guided sleep meditation is pretty easy to explain. Guided programs lead you through the motions every step of the way, while you practice non-guided meditations on your own – in other words, there's no soothing voice to guide you through. If you're opting to meditate without a guide, you're probably already an advanced practitioner, or maybe you're learning to meditate using a different route, like with a book.
Sleep meditation vs. regular meditation
But what makes sleep meditation any different from regular mediation? The techniques are similar, but guided sleep meditation differs in that you can:
Practice it shortly before bed.
Perform it while laying down.
Focus on various bedtime themes or mantras.
It's similar to regular meditation in that it may use the following techniques:
Body scanning, which slowly brings your mind's focus to the sensations in the body rather than getting carried away with thinking.
Deep breathing to relax the body, lower the heart rate and refresh the body.
Visualizations that can take the mind to a peaceful, calm state.
Does guided sleep meditation work?
The research results are promising. According to one 2015 study in JAMA's – the Journal of the American Medical Association – Internal Medicine edition, a sample of 49 people over the age of 55 took part in a six-week mindfulness awareness program for over two hours a week. In the end, the participants saw short-term improvement in sleep quality as well as daytime issues like fatigue and depression.
Every person is different, and some people will find that they get the results they're looking for after just one sleep meditation. For others, it may take weeks or months of regular practice until they find themselves in a rhythm that works for them. Guided sleep meditation does work for those who are consistent – the lasting benefits of meditation tend to occur after constant practice.
8fit and buddhify: What else is there to know?
As we mentioned before, we're thrilled to partner with buddhify to bring our Pro users six guided sleep meditations. buddhify has been changing the meditation app game with its on-the-go programs made for busy lifestyles. Now, you can enjoy their sleep meditations in the 8fit app right alongside your favorite workout courses, meals and grocery lists.
Wondering how to access the guided sleep meditations on 8fit? You'll find the six different programs directly on your 8fit home page. Available exclusively for Pro users and those on the 14-day trial, the sleep meditation program rounds out 8fit as a one-stop-shop for holistic wellness.
There's a whole lot more where that came from – 8fit is expanding its exercise, nutrition and mindfulness offering to bring holistic wellness that you can take anywhere, right in that palm of your hand. Stay on the lookout for what's next!