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Bedtime Meditation And Mindfulness For Sleep

In this day and age, it is common for us to find that as we head to bed, our mind is racing through the activities and worries of the day. It can be hard to shut down these thoughts.

If you’re finding it increasingly difficult to switch into bedtime mode when it is time to go to sleep, why not try a relaxing bedtime meditation? Whether you use mind relaxing music, deep breathing or a guided meditation to help sleep come, you may just find that with a bit of practice, deep sleep meditation is the answer to your insomnia struggles.

Meditation for Sleep and Relaxation

Is there any science behind bedtime meditation as a sleep aid? A small study by Harvard in 2015 found that mindfulness and meditation techniques were more effective than other sleep education strategies for reducing issues of insomnia, fatigue and depression.

It is thought that deep sleep meditation can help not only by allowing us to fall asleep quicker, but by improving the quality of our sleep.

Relaxing bedtime meditation helps you fall asleep quicker

By bringing your thoughts back to the present, rather than allowing you to mull over yesterday’s problems and tomorrow’s worries, mindfulness and meditation can help to calm your racing brain.

Sleep meditation even has a physical impact on the brain by decreasing the beta brainwaves that deal with decision making and alertness, and increasing other types of brainwaves that promote relaxation and deep sleep. This can make it particularly beneficial if you tend to lay awake in the early hours.

Sleep meditation improves the quality of your sleep

Bedtime meditation has been proven to increase the levels of sleep-inducing melatonin that the brain needs to achieve deep, regenerative REM sleep.

This means that people who practice meditation for sleep and relaxation are far more likely to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.

Meditation for sleep and insomnia

While there are several apps and guided bedtime meditation CDs providing audio to help you sleep, it may not be necessary to spend any money at all. Try these simple mindfulness sleep techniques instead.

Resist the temptation to get frustrated with your brain for wandering, particularly when you are first practising meditation. If you get distracted, immediately forgive yourself, return to your breath and pick up where you left off. Over time you’ll find it easier to focus for a longer period.

Breathing meditation for sleep

Lay still on your back, breathing naturally, but deeply. Deep sleep meditation could be as simple as counting your breaths in and out if this helps you to relax, but you can take it further by including some visualisation. You could picture a pleasant scene – a honeymoon beach, a childhood picnic spot – use all your senses to explore your surroundings – feel the warm sun on your arms, smell the freshly cut grass.

Meditation is about refocusing negative thoughts into positive ones – there is no wrong or right way to do this as long as when your brain wanders you bring it back gently to the task at hand.

Try this routine:

Imagine you are laying on a cloud, scudding slowly through a blue sky. Focus on each part of your body in turn. Start with your toes, imagine them relaxing completely, sinking into the cloud, all tension within them releasing. Pause to feel yourself floating on the cloud. Then return to your heels. Continue in this way travelling up your body and down your arms and through your neck and head in whichever order feels right.

Pause to enjoy the feeling of complete relaxation. Repeat if necessary or just lay still enjoying some deep breathing. This is a useful meditation for sleep and insomnia that will have you drifting peacefully into a deep sleep in no time.

Try mind relaxing music

Some people find that listening to sleep meditation music is more effective for them than guided meditation to help sleep. Generally, it’s best not to choose music that you listen to all the time, or catchy tunes that you would usually sing along to as you’ll find they wake your brain up, stimulating it into activity. Instead, try music without words, calm classical music (not a rousing orchestral number that’s likely to get your heart thumping), or even sounds of nature. Try a few to see what works for you.

Alternatively, listen to a podcast on a low volume – choose one that is not a subject that’s particularly interesting to you, but is led by a voice you find relaxing. You may find this is enough to calm and focus your brain by providing peaceful sounds to sleep to.

Remember, different people find different things that work for them. Do not be discouraged if sleep doesn’t come immediately. Be assured of the scientific evidence behind meditation for insomnia and sleep, and persevere.

If you are looking for more ideas about how to sleep better at night naturally, visit our Sleep Health & Advice hub.
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