Health care is one of the issues that most concerns society today. But there is an aspect that is of great importance and to which we do not usually pay too much attention: sleep. Sleeping well is essential to keep the body in perfect condition and to gain quality and life expectancy. During the night the brain carries out various functions that help our body rest and wake up with energy.

Sleep is responsible for everything in the body to function properly, various functions of the central nervous system to self-regulate and the energy reserve centers to be restored. If this is not of quality, certain errors occur such as lack of concentration, worse mood and a decrease in general performance and, even, in the long term, diseases that have been associated with insomnia.

Does it sound familiar to you to see how the hours go by and you keep tossing and turning in bed? Or that frustration of knowing that there is less and less time until the alarm clock rings and thinking about how tired you will feel all day?

Calm down, you are not alone. According to data from the Sleep Association, 1 in 3 Spaniards suffers from a sleep disorder.

Fortunately, insomnia is a problem that, in most cases, has a solution.

Let’s see what are the keys so you can restore quality sleep and stop counting sheep every night.

Insomnia

man with insomniaLet’s start by understanding what insomnia is and why it occurs.

It is a disorder characterized by the inability to sleep in sufficient quality or quantity so that you can feel rested and active during the day.

It is distinguished by a difficulty in falling asleep or also by problems in staying asleep throughout the night, causing untimely awakenings.

The number of hours of sleep that are appropriate for each person depends on various factors, among which age stands out. Thus, a newborn sleeps around 18 hours while an elderly person has an average sleep of 6.5 hours.

General reasons why a person may suffer from insomnia:

  • Inappropriate habits: one of the most common and least recommended practices to avoid insomnia is not having regular times to go to bed or get up. Changing sleep habits can alter the normal sleep-wake cycle, a situation that can trigger insomnia.
  • Use of stimulant substances: the abuse of certain substances such as tea, coffee, cola drinks or certain stimulant drugs produce alterations in the central nervous system that help the appearance of this disorder.
  • Psychiatric disorders: Certain disorders such as depression or anxiety can cause insomnia.
  • Snoring and sleep apnea: they affect the quality of our sleep, so even if you sleep you will feel that you have not rested.
  • Stress: it can be due to many reasons, such as a sustained overload of work. At the time of falling asleep the perception of problems is accentuated. If there is something that creates uncertainty, fear or anxiety, the nervous system will tend to keep the body on alert trying to find a solution as soon as possible. This situation prevents the tranquility and relaxation that are required to enjoy a restful sleep.

Meditation: uses and benefits

Meditation is a practice that can be very useful for sleeping well. It helps reduce the excitement of the nervous system, facilitating the relaxation of the body and mind, leaving aside the stress of the day so that the body prepares itself for a well-deserved rest.

Benefits provided by this practice:

 It helps to get a rest in a natural way, free from the use of drugs.

 It favors a complete relaxation of the body and mind helping to control stress and anxiety.

 Increased time and quality of sleep. Thanks to being able to reach a state of adequate relaxation, the body is able to sleep for more hours in a row.

 Improves the ability to concentrate.

Guided meditation for sleep

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a complicated practice. It involves following a few simple steps related to breathing and concentration, led by experienced instructors.

To get started, you just need to find a quiet, calm place where you won’t have any distractions that would make it easy to interrupt. Next, simply let yourself be carried away by the voice that you will hear in the video.

Here we leave you two of the best guided meditations to fall asleep:

GUIDED MEDITATION to sleep soundly and rest | relaxation | EASY ZEN ♥ The Magic Source
Body Scanner Guided Meditation

Tip Making the practice of these exercises one of the previous rites before going to bed is the first step to sleep well, rest deeply and reach that unique state where the body and mind wake up to a new day totally renewed.

Relaxation techniques for sleeping

A very common exercise to help you fall asleep is to focus on your breathing. Learning to breathe correctly, being aware of how the air enters and leaves is essential for relaxation.

Breathing exercises help reduce muscle tension, lower anxiety levels, lower heart rate, and let go of negative thoughts and worries. In short, they are an infallible weapon to give a clear signal to the brain: we are ready to rest and we want to enjoy a restful sleep.

The key points of any breathing exercise are:

  • Breathing should be slow and deep
  • Learn to breathe with the abdomen and not with the chest

Breathing exercise example:

woman lying relaxed

  • Sitting or lying in a quiet place, with a dim light, close your eyes.
  • Start by reducing environmental distractions and focus on your breath.
  • Begin to breathe deeply, slowly, inhaling and being aware of how the air enters your lungs.
  • Go away the worries of daily life, concentrate and take the time you need to eliminate negative thoughts.
  • Imagine the air you breathe pure, regenerating you inside. Hold the air inside you for a few seconds and exhale slowly.
  • As you breathe, do a mental review of your body starting with your feet and moving up to your head. Assess each part for muscle tension, and if there is, try to relax the area.
  • You will notice how with each breath you feel lighter, less charged with negativity and more relaxed.

Using ASMR can also help you to be more relaxed.

The best meditation Apps in Spanish

Currently there are several very good meditation applications that can help you achieve your goal. For us the best are:

Meditate

You can learn to meditate, relax, sleep better, calm your mind and much more. It combines different techniques of relaxation, visualization, meditation and mindfulness.

  • Free version: 21-day plan for you to learn to meditate and incorporate meditation regularly into your life.
  • Full version: Goal-based meditation plans: sleep well, live without stress, reduce anxiety, for €3.49 each plan.

Calm

It is one of the most popular applications. Designed to help you sleep, meditate and relax. There are guided meditation sessions of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 minutes, so you can choose the one that best suits your routine. It has Bedtime Stories (for adults and children) that help you fall into a deep and restful sleep.

  • Free version: One week trial that automatically converts to a yearly or monthly subscription.
  • Full version: €9.99 per month or €57.99 per year.

Zenfa

It has a section for children that allows them to start in the world of meditation. The offer of sessions is very varied and they are focused on improving rest, providing a more adequate awakening and improving anxiety.

  • Free version: Program of 10-minute guided meditations for 10 days.
  • Paid version: the price may vary depending on what you want to download, from €2.99.

Feel

This application offers an initial test to find out the state of well-being of users. In this way, it creates a personalized program with the appropriate methodology for each case. Allows you to join group guided meditations.

  • Free trial version: Some guided meditations
  • Full version: The monthly price is €4.99, annual €19.99 and lifetime plan €49.99.

Insight timer

It is one of the most popular apps, translated into more than 20 languages. It offers countless guided meditations taught by experts.

  • Free version: More than 120 meditation sessions
  • Full version: The price will depend on the functions you want to use, from €2.29.

Mindfulness or full awareness

mindfulnessWith the term mindfulness we define the concentration of our attention, the awareness of ourselves and everything around us, without attachment or rejection of the experience that is being lived at each moment.

The goal is for our mind to focus on this moment, without thinking about the future or the past, but about now.

One of the most widespread mindfulness exercises is conscious breathing. It is an ideal exercise to release accumulated tension.

It can be done both standing and sitting at any time and place.

How to practice it: 

  • You start by taking a slow, deep breath. Each inspiration should last around 6 seconds, trying to make the expiration a little longer. It is inhaled through the nose and exhaled through the mouth to allow air to flow through our body effortlessly.
  • On each exhalation allow your thoughts to go, your worries to dissipate. Allow yourself not to think about what you have to do next, just focus on the present moment.
  • Watch your breath.
  • The duration of the exercise can be variable. You can start with one minute and gradually increase the time to reach 5-10 minutes.

Tips and tricks to sleep well

 Exercise: staying active during the day is key to getting a restful sleep. When you are tired, it is much faster to fall asleep, reducing the number of times you wake up during the night.

Organize sleep: going to bed at a certain time and respecting it as much as possible is good training to fall asleep faster.
 Reduce caffeinated beverages: Reducing the consumption of coffee, soft drinks or tea decreases the amount of caffeine ingested, so you can enjoy a deeper sleep. In addition, high caffeine consumption increases the need to urinate at night, breaking the sleep cycle.
Short naps: napping is a pleasure that is very beneficial for the body. The recommended nap time is 20 minutes, enough to recharge the batteries without making it difficult to fall asleep at night.

Avoid heavy dinners: eating abundantly increases discomfort at bedtime. In addition, it is advisable to have dinner between two and three hours before going to bed. Do not eat sweet things before bed: sweets raise blood sugar and make it difficult to sleep, making it much easier to wake up in the middle of the night. Avoid the use of screens at least one hour before bed: the screens of digital devices emit blue light, similar to daylight. Its use hinders the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep cycles or circadian cycles.

You can relax by listening to sounds with frequencies that help you sleep , such as white noise or pink noise.
Take advantage of the beneficial properties of plants: some plants can help you fall asleep. This is the case of valerian, passionflower and peacock or poppy.

Increase the consumption of tryptophan: tryptophan is involved in the synthesis of melatonin, consuming foods rich in tryptophan before bed helps to fall asleep. This is the case of eggs, fish, nuts, bananas, pineapple, avocado or tomatoes.