Does Meditation Make You Need Less Sleep?

Does Meditation Make You Need Less Sleep?

When it comes to meditation, it’s often been shown to have a positive impact on the quality of our sleep. Some tend to see meditation as mutually exclusive to sleep, even going as far as thinking that meditation as a whole can replace sleep. 

And while the idea of needing less sleep sounds attractive, meditation complements sleep and doesn’t replace it. 

However, meditation can make people need less sleep, and it can be observed after mid to long-term effects of meditation. 

It’s hard to say exactly by how much we require less sleep when meditating since everyone works differently, and the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep is more of an average than anything.

However, there’s been a strong correlation between meditating for 2 to 3 hours and needing less sleep.  

This would, of course, be another average, as some start having a better quality sleep by just meditating for 20 minutes a day. 

Twenty minutes is the standard for most beginners, and what later allows them to expand their time meditating, thus, magnifying the gains they already experience in their day-to-day, to begin with. 

Meditation may sound daunting at first, but it can be a great remedy for those that struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Improving Sleep Quality With Meditation

A common consensus is that if someone were to sleep for 8 to 9 hours, they would feel fully rested, and a lot of people target an hour count as their primary sleep goal thinking they’d feel fully rested. 

I personally sleep on average 5-6 hours and I don’t think this would’ve been possible without meditation. Of course, this is by no means any indication that it will work in any way similar if you were to do meditation. 

On the other hand, I’ve had nights where I’ve slept for substantially more than this and felt like I’ve gotten no sleep. Meditation is an important component in our sleep that can help us experience it on deeper levels – it’s not so much the amount of sleep but the quality of sleep. 

Some meditators are able to reduce their need for sleep to as much as 3 hours. Reaching a stage where you require less sleep as a result of meditation is unlikely to be seen in the short-term, but more of something that could happen in 3 months

Engaging regularly in the practice can feel like a sort of sleep, even when meditation is its own standalone state. In a way, meditation can be a way to compensate for lost sleep, but in no way does it mean it’s gonna work similarly for everyone. 

There are ways meditation helps you indirectly to sleep better by helping you create a routine that favors what many would consider good bedtime habits, something we’ll explore. 

Aside from meditation helping you improve your sleep quality, it carries over the mindfulness part which makes it more likely for you to become conscious in your dreams

But a good sleep will to a great extent be able to predict our performance in our day-to-day life. If you find yourself unfocused or uninterested in things, you may want to look into the quality of your sleep. 

How Meditation Indirectly Improves Sleep

I often talk about the indirect ways meditation can achieve something, and, upon taking a step back, it’s easy to see a domino effect. In this case, one good habit before sleep is to avoid screen time, but that requires some willpower and discipline. 

If you start to change your habits before sleep, doing it cold turkey becomes harder unless you already have a foundation laid out, like in this case, increased discipline, something that comes as a natural byproduct of consistent meditation and becomes a default. 

Now, no one is disciplined one hundred percent of the time with everything, but even when it comes to selective discipline, meditation can help us in that regard. 

The mere act of establishing meditation as a routine already forms a routine that makes it easier to build on top of another. 

Meditation can also help you sleep earlier and be more stress-free. The lack of stress you start experiencing through meditation gets reflected in the subconscious, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand that the less worried we are, the better we will sleep. 

We aren’t always aware of these worries, they can be ingrained in the subconscious. Meditation allows you to tap into that program, and it’s comparable to removing malware on the computer that’s attached to the bios, before a computer boots up. 

This is an analogy I like to make with the mind and its relation to the subconscious after working in the computer field for years. 

Alternatives To Meditation and Better Sleep

Power naps share many of the benefits meditations do, and it’s for many, easier to implement than meditation. Many like the idea of sleeping but many don’t love the idea of going to sleep. The same can be said about meditation when we compare it to entering a flow state. 

The truth is, the quality of your meditation is connected to the quality of your sleep. The two feed off one another, and if you’re tired while meditating, retaining focus is gonna be harder. You need energy to focus, sleep gives you energy. 

But for many that have trouble sleeping, they default to short but powerful power naps, which, on their own, can create a good cycle where it’s easier to meditate, and thus, it’s easier to get a higher quality of sleep. 

In fact, meditation can serve as a sort of replacement for power naps. WIth power naps, you get a taste of what it’s like to be fully recharged, but you don’t keep your awareness throughout the entire process as you otherwise would with meditation. 

How Long Should I Meditate To Be Less Dependent on Sleep

While I recommended that meditation isn’t done with the purpose of having less sleep, it’ll often come as a byproduct of it. 

We still need sleep despite what anyone else says, but generally speaking, if you’re able to reach a deep state of meditation, often done by meditating from anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour, you’re likely to see a change in your sleep. 

You can technically even do meditation before your sleep as a way to unwind and remove the stress that manifests itself deep in the subconscious. This stress on its own is energy-depleting, so reducing that stress to begin with also tackles the source of the energy depletion. 

Most new to meditation aren’t able to meditate for 40 minutes though, because it takes discipline, focus and energy, in which case I recommend half that time. 40 minutes is something more tailored to a mid-term meditator

However, it’s impossible to give an exact amount of time that will suit everyone, this is merely based on my observation. 

A good rule of thumb is that if you feel well-rested and energized throughout the meditation, you’re more likely to feel the same when you sleep. 

Good sleeping habits and meditation take time to cultivate, but they both complement one another to make themselves easier to do if one good habit already exists in your day-to-day life.