Whether you suffer from insomnia, sleep deprivation, difficulty falling asleep at night, or regular restless nights in bed, guided meditation for sleep can help calm and unwind the mind (and body) before bed and create the right conditions for a restful nights sleep.
What is meditation for sleep?
With the help of an instructor, guided meditation for sleep will help you relax your body and mind before bed. This is done by guiding you through visualizations and breathing exercises that gently bring your attention to things that ground you to the present.
The meditation will usually start you off, laying in bed on your back, preparing your body and setting the conditions for sleep. From there, you’ll close your eyes and go through a few different exercises in your mind to begin to calm your mind and distance yourself from thoughts and worries that can tend to keep you up at night.
Guided meditations for sleep
These guided sessions are designed for sleeping at night but they can be used for midday naps or when you’re trying to fall asleep on a plane or while traveling. Make the guided practice work for you. Whatever is comfortable, and however you wish to visualize, is up to you. Make the practice simple, easy, and work for you. There’s no need to overcomplicate it.
How meditation helps you sleep
Anxious thoughts and worries are cited as the number one reason that people have trouble falling asleep at night. There are also clinical and psychological reasons that many people have difficulty getting a full nights rest.
Meditation has been shown to help train the mind to notice anxious thoughts as they arise, and distance itself from these thoughts non-judgmentally, instead of following these thoughts.
How often have you caught yourself, while trying to fall asleep, lost in thought for several minutes before realizing you’re in bed trying to sleep? Too often the mind can wander, and sometimes wander into worries, hypothetical situations, embarrassing or shameful events of the day or the past, or uncertainty of the future.
This often happens more at night when we’re trying to fall asleep than during the day because we’ve been distracting ourselves all day with work, school, obligations, and responsibilities that when we finally have some time in the dark, peaceful quiet, the mind can take this opportunity to surface worries and anxiety from the subconscious.
Meditation is a tool that can help us notice this pattern, become aware of it, and better deal with it at night.
In addition, meditation can be a very relaxing and calming practice, which can help create the conditions to fall asleep at night.
How to meditate for sleep
One of the more effective ways to meditation for sleep is through visualization.
Using visualization, you slowly and gently power down your muscles and begin to relax your mind and body for a restful night’s sleep.
To begin, get comfortable in bed. You can lay on your back or side, whatever’s more comfortable for you. Close your eyes.
Next, begin by taking a few big, deep breaths. After a minute, begin to notice the physical points of contact. Your back and legs against the bed. Your feet and hands. The back of your head.
Notice as your body begins to sink into the bed.
Now, we’re going to begin to “power down” the muscles in our body to prepare for the night ahead and fall sleep.
When we’re powering down parts of our body, visualize it in any way that’s easiest and works for you. A suggestion may be gently and slowly pulling down a level that slowly powers down and relaxes the muscle.
So start with your feet, and picture yourself gently powering down your feet and the muscles and parts around your feet. The ankles. The toes.
Move up to the knees and thighs and gently power down your upper legs. Notice as your legs begin to sink into your bed as they relax.
Move up to the hips, lower back, and stomach. Gently power down the muscles around the lower back. Power down the joints in the hips. Power down the stomach. Notice the energy and tension flow away from these parts of your body and relax.
Move up now to the chest and upper back, gently powering down and releasing and energy and tension.
Bring your attention to your shoulders and upper arms. Notice the joints and muscles around the shoulders. Gently pull the levers down and power down the shoulders and upper arms.
Slowly move down to the rest of the arms and hands. Powering down and releasing energy and tension. Notice how the arms sink comfortably and relaxed into the bed.
Notice the wrists, fingers, and elbows.
Begin to power down the neck, chin and jaw. Notice if you’re holding any tension. Power down these parts of the body and allow them to relax.
Finally, move up to the face and top of the head. Powering down and gently pulling down the level to release energy and tension around the face and head. Notice if your head sinks a little into the pillow as all energy is released.
Notice how the body feels. Notice the comfort, calmness, and stillness.
If you’re comfortable, remain in your position, or turn to a more comfortable position, and prepare to sleep.
If it helps, begin to count down from one thousand, and sleep.