If you’re one of the many people who suffer from insomnia, sleep meditation may be just what you need so you don’t have to toss and turn in bed yet again. Keep reading for some simple sleep meditation steps to help you get better sleep.
Meditation for Sleep: 7 Steps to Better Quality Sleep with Sleep Meditation
Step 1. Get in the Right Head-Space
For this sleep meditation exercise to be successful, you need to be in the right environment and headspace to be able to relax. Here are some steps to ease you into this exercise:
- Lie down on your bed and relax your legs with your feet apart.
- Rest your arms either on your stomach or on your side.
- Once you’re relaxed in bed, take a few deep breaths.
- Make sure to inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.
Do the next steps without any goal or expected outcome in mind. Forcing yourself to sleep or relax just makes things more challenging for you.
Step 2. Pay Attention to Your Environment
Be mindful of the various sensations around you.
- Sight: What do you see? How bright are your lights?
- Hearing: Do you hear any sounds? What are they?
- Touch: How does your mattress feel? Is your room hot, cold, or just right?
Once you do all that, remain present with all those sensations. Remaining present and in the moment is what sleep meditation’s all about.
Step 3. Do a General Body Scan
Observe how your body feels right now. Does it feel calm, antsy, or as if there’s a boulder on top of you?
Next, scan your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Take note of the parts of your body that feel particularly tense.
Repeat this exercise a few more times.
Step 4. Think About Your Whole Day
Next, look back to the things that just happened through the day and ask yourself how you feel all throughout. Take some time to go through an overview of the events that transpired from the moment you wake up until the present.
Your mind may wander off and fixate on certain events, particularly if it was a particularly stressful one. When this happens, acknowledge the distraction and shift yourself back to the present.
Step 5. Shift Gears Back to Your Body
It’s now time to focus yourself back to your body. You don’t need to do anything or move any body part just yet – just be aware of the various physical sensations you can feel around you.
Next, slowly relax each body part and give it permission to give up control for the night.
- Start with the smallest toe on your right foot.
- Relax your toe and try to release any tension.
- Once you’ve eased the tension, move on to the next toe until you reach your big toe.
- Next, do this with the ball of your foot. Then, work your way up to your waist.
- Repeat steps 1-3 on the other side of your body.
Continue this relaxation exercise up through your back, chest, arms, hands, until you reach the top of your head. The goal of this step is to make you more aware of the various sensations and tensions coursing through your body and to practice letting go.
Step 6. Acknowledge Your Thoughts, but Don’t Fight Them
During sleep meditation, your mind may wander off and start wandering off, which is okay. What’s more important is to acknowledge those thoughts, then let them go.
Take as much time as you need to let these thoughts go. Trying to fight them isn’t productive and helpful.
When you do find yourself focusing on a certain thought, don’t beat yourself up about it. Practice self-compassion and forgive yourself for any mistakes you might have made.
Step 7. Focus on Your Breathing
Try focusing on how your lungs fill themselves with air as you breathe in and out. At the same time, visualize the stresses and tensions of the day blow away into the air.
There is a wrong way to breathe. Let your body do what it’s meant to do, instead of forcing it to conform to a specific rhythm.
To slow yourself down, count down with each breath you take until (hopefully) you drift off to sleep. This step concludes the deep sleep meditation exercise.
Sleep Meditation Benefits
There are lots of benefits you can get from doing guided sleep meditation before going to bed:
- Effective in fighting insomnia: Sleep meditation helps fight insomnia, which allows you to get more and better sleep in the long run.
- Safe and non-invasive: You don’t need to take any medication to meditate. In fact, it can even reduce or eliminate your dependence on sleep medication.
- Highly accessible: It’s free, and you can do it anywhere you want.
- Can be combined with other sleep-promoting treatments: Including meditation in your recovery plan can improve your sleep better than relying on other methods like medication or therapy alone.
Sleep Meditation Tips
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you do this meditation exercise:
- When you’re stuck with a recurring thought, write them down on a journal or a piece of paper and set them aside for the next morning. Don’t think about anything too stressful or serious as you wind down.
- Don’t force yourself to go to bed if you can’t or don’t want to. Do something relaxing like reading a book or listening to soothing music.
- Try sticking to the same schedule whenever possible. Adults need around eight hours of sleep each night to function optimally.
- Make your environment conducive for relaxation. Turn off or dim any bright lights and minimize the noise around you.
- Avoid using electronic gadgets before bed. The blue light screens emit keeps you awake and makes it much harder for you to sleep.
Many people don’t get enough sleep, and sleep deprivation can lead to health problems in the long term. Sleep meditation can help you relax and make sure you get the quality sleep you need and deserve in order for you to take on the world one day at a time.
How do you wind down before bed? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.