Meditation Is The Trick April Ross Swears By To Sleep Through The Night

When Olympic beach volleyball player April Ross gets anxious the night before a match, there’s one thing she can count on to get her through the night: meditation.

“I do meditation before bed,” Ross recently told The Cut. “In the past, even if I was really relaxed and we had competition the next day, I’d get adrenaline. I’d start picturing us playing and be a little bit worried about how we were going to do tomorrow, making it really hard to fall asleep. I found that if I meditated or took care of all those thoughts before I went to bed, it would help me fall asleep better.”

And judging by her bronze medal performance with new partner Kerri Walsh Jennings, the trick worked pretty well at this year’s Olympics. 

Ross isn’t the only Olympian who meditates to get to sleep: Gymnast Gabby Douglas has said that meditating after dinner clears her mind enough to get a solid eight hours per night. And Team Australia’s use of sleeping pills dropped 75 percent over three years after they started meditating instead, their team doctor said. 

Of course, the practice works for non-athletes, too; we all feel anxiety and deal with adrenaline. Meditation ― even just a couple minutes of abdominal breathing ― lowers the frequency of your brain waves and slows down racing thoughts, making it the perfect activity for right before you hit the sheets.

But even meditating during the day can lead to a better night’s sleep. In one 2015 study, middle-aged and older adults who learned simple meditation skills reported less insomnia, fatigue and depression at the end of six weeks than those who did not.

Meditation doesn’t have to be hard, or take tons of time: Try one of these simple exercises tonight (here’s another for if you wake up in the middle of the night), and watch the well-rested feelings roll in.

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