Meditation before going to bed
If you’ve been struggling to catch some shuteye lately, meditating before bed might help. Statistics show that more than 70 million people deal with sleep disorders – in America alone! Insomnia is an unhealthy condition that plagues far too many people. Several issues are to blame, and notably the heavy use of electronic devices. Our radical lifestyle changes have significantly altered our sleep patterns, turning many of us into daytime zombies. Meditation to the rescue! Sleep meditation is a powerful tool that can help us fall asleep and stay there.
Deep sleep meditation techniques
- Mindfulness meditation
This is one of the most popular meditation methods, day or night. Mindfulness simply requires that you pay close attention to your experience and your environment. Although this technique sounds almost elementary, putting it into practice makes all the difference.
For starters, you could focus on your breath. Our Mindworks: Guided Meditation App has all the instructions you need to get you going. After you’ve learned to direct your attention to your breath and let distractions arise and pass by like clouds in the sky (or sheep jumping over a gate), you might try practicing with other meditation objects, such as sensations. You can check in with your body, noticing tensions and releasing them; or sounds, such as the pitter patter of raindrops against the windowpanes.
Thanks to mindfulness meditation, you become more aware of what’s going on inside of you, and you also become more skillful at letting agitation and distractions flow by without ruffling your calm. According to Trinlay Rinpoche, an eminent meditation teacher and philosopher, there’s a gold mine within us. This gold mine is the ultimate source of our happiness, serenity and genuine well-being. By learning to deal effectively with agitation and distraction, you have every chance of revealing and making good use of this gold mine.
- Affirmation meditation
This meditation has some of the same features as mindfulness in that it requires one-pointed attention. Here, though, instead of focusing on the breath, we’re replacing whatever distractions are keeping us awake with a positive affirmation such as “My body is as calm as a mountain lake,” “My mind is at ease,” “I breathe in goodness, I breathe out peace,” “Love is my nature; love is the nature of the universe,” etc. Choose an affirmation that has significance for you. Instead of an affirmation you could use a mantra from your particular faith tradition. Psychologists believe that the thoughts going through our minds as we fall asleep become deeply anchored in our subconscious. Positive affirmations not only help us fall asleep, they may also have an uplifting residual effect.
- Guided meditation for sleep
Sometimes listening to the voice of a meditation teacher is exactly what you need to help you fall asleep. In guided meditations for sleep, instructors (usually with soothing voices) guide you throughout the meditation session. They may ask you to relax your toes, inhale deeply or even your legs. They might also lead you to imagine a series of relaxing images. For instance, an instructor could invite you to envision a beautiful sandy beach, and to imagine yourself happily and serenely seated along the water’s edge as the wavelets gently tickle your feet. Imagine breathing in the briny air, with the faraway sing-song of seabirds as your lullaby – see, you’re already yawning, aren’t you?
This evening, leave anything that causes agitation and distraction in another room and try meditation instead. You can practice these methods while seated or after you’ve turned in for the night and are lying down. No matter which method you choose, remember that apart from helping with sleep disorders, meditation has a wide array of other benefits just waiting to be discovered. Meditation can help you let go of negative emotions and thought patterns, give you insight to deal with trauma or grief and encourage healing. Meditation when practiced diligently helps to cultivate compassion, thinking with kindness towards others. What a wholesome way to fall asleep! Sweet dreams!