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Make Bedtime Easier With Meditation for Kids

by BetterSleep
Nov 5 • 4 min read

There’s a lot of research about the many benefits of meditation for adults, including better sleep. And now, emerging research shows it might help kids do the same. If a child has challenges with relaxing at night, getting sleepy, or even with fears of the dark— meditation for kids might help with falling asleep and improving sleep quality.

Let’s take a look at what the science has to say about meditation helping kids to sleep.

Why meditation could help kids sleep better and faster

Like their parents, kids often have stress. They’re no different than adults in that stress directly affects their ability to relax and go to sleep. Therefore, one of the primary ways that meditation is shown to be useful for children is by alleviating some external stressors.

A study using mindfulness-based techniques, including meditation, showed positive outcomes in children and families dealing with stress. In another study, a yoga-based wellness program geared towards kids in inner-city schools resulted in reduced anxiety, depression, and distress.

On the surface, it may seem that these benefits come from already growing up with pretty tough challenges that the average child can’t relate to. However, that’s not necessarily the case. There’s new research that meditation benefits the overall mental health of children.

One study that used mindfulness-based cognitive therapy with kids between ages 9 and 13 showed significant reductions in attention problems, behavior challenges, and anxiety. Another study in a school demonstrated that a yoga program that included breathing exercises and relaxation techniques reduced depression, anxiety, and fatigue in adolescents compared to physical education (PE) class alone.

Indeed, reducing stressors like depression and anxiety can positively impact a child’s ability to fall asleep. However, one study on a mindfulness-based program for elementary school children discovered not only many social and mental benefits, but an additional physical benefit— reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And lower cortisol levels produced by the stress response can help promote more natural sleep.

Five potted plants and cactuses with flowers

How to get kids to meditate before bed

Meditation can be challenging enough for adults. So, how can you get a child to remain still to meditate?

Pre-recorded guided meditations made for kids— and their smaller attention spans— are an excellent place to start. These recordings guide children with brief and simple instructions on various topics like: getting the wiggles out of the body, being brave in the dark, having gratitude, and even focusing on positive thoughts before going off to dreamland. You can find a wide selection of guided meditations for kids on the BetterSleep app.

Depending on the age of your child, it’s recommended that you stay alongside and listen too. Meditating with them creates a positive example while helping the child feel more comfortable. However, if your child is older and prefers privacy, that’s okay. Ultimately, whatever helps your child to feel more relaxed will help him fall asleep.

And then of course, you can get a good night’s sleep too!

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