People frequently believe that sleep is merely a time when a weary brain finally gets to rest. But in reality, your brain still functions when you sleep. As you sleep, The brain eliminates waste from the system and heals for everything, from blood vessels to the immune system. Studies suggest the body goes through repair processes most effectively when you sleep. its essential for maintaining your health and well-being over the long term. What occurs when you sleep has an impact on how you feel when you wake up. Hence, guided meditation for sleep regulates brain function and induces a relaxed state to help you fall asleep.
What Causes A Disturbed Sleep
Sleep cycle disruption occurs when there are repeated nighttime awakenings. A person moves through several sleep cycles, each consisting of discrete sleep phases. Frequent awakenings and disruptions can hamper that process:
Individuals who suffer from anxiety and stress usually worry excessively, which may lead to difficulty falling asleep, also known as insomnia, remaining asleep, and not feeling refreshed after waking up from sleep.
People with musculoskeletal pain like arthritis may find it challenging to settle down for sleep. Joint pain and ligament strains may frequently wake up at night with stiffness and aches.
Read: Yoga for Chronic Pain
Individuals with diabetes and nocturia may have trouble sleeping because of the urge to urinate at night. Kidney illness can also induce restless legs syndrome and sleeplessness.
It may be harder to fall asleep if one has trouble breathing. Individuals with cardiovascular problems and asthma may wake up in the middle of the night due to shortness of breath.
Circadian rhythm refers to our brain’s 24-hour internal clock, which controls our cycles of wakefulness and drowsiness in response to variations in light levels. A person’s circadian rhythm can be thrown off by changes in their exposure to daylight, making it difficult to sleep through the night. This usually happens to those who work the night shift and have to sleep during the day or who experience jet lag after traveling.
How To Do Meditation For Sleep – Different Meditation Techniques
There is no best method to meditate; instead, one must select the method that is most effective for them through practice. Take your time to savor through the practices. Try something else if one doesn’t connect right.
The following are the seven best diverse styles of sleep meditation that aim to improve sleep.
When practicing mindfulness meditation, one becomes aware of the thoughts as they come, without any judgment. One type of this meditation involves focusing on the 5 senses —sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound to help one stay grounded in the present.
The 5 Senses Meditation
- Comfortably lie down on the bed.
- Take a few deep breaths to tune in and simply relax.
- Keep your eyes open and gaze relaxed.
- Take a minute to observe 5 objects in the surroundings. Take note of the color and shapes of the objects.
- You may now continue the meditation with your eyes closed or open.
- Pay close attention to 4 types of sound around you, close and far.
- Feel any 3 senses of touch around you. It may be the fabric of your clothes or the mat beneath you.
- Activate the sense of smell and pay attention to 2 odors or aromas in the surroundings.
- Finally, notice and feel a taste in your mouth.
Guided Imagery or Visualizations
A visualization induces a hypnotic state by asking you to visualize a mental image or a scene. The experience is further enhanced by relaxing ambient music. The scene may be a peaceful setting like a beach, forest, meadow, or even a gratitude meditation. The goal is to attain a sense of serenity and relaxation. You can perform the visualization on your own or even find the audio recording of guided free meditation for sleep.
Yoga Nidra meditation for sleep is a form of body scan meditation, which is one of the most straightforward yoga practices and is incredibly good for inducing sleep. It helps one to actively identify and release any tired and tense spots in the body. This is practiced in savasana (corpse posture), leaving one feeling entire.
It starts by placing awareness on the whole body and each body part. By examining the body and breath, we may start to develop sensory awareness. Feel every part of the body, the whole body. One must pay attention to any feelings they experience during the practice.
Find the following instructions to guide your meditation –
- Lie down on the back and get comfortable.
- Move your attention to your breath.
- Bring your awareness to the right side of the body and the body parts of the right arm, right side of the chest, waist, and leg.
- Similarly, be aware of the left side of the body and its parts.
- Take a pause.
- Notice the back of the body and its parts. The upper back, middle back, and lower back.
- Be aware of the front side of the body, from the top of the head to the toes.
- Gradually turn your awareness to the breath and your external environment.
- Slowly move your hands and feet and sit up.
Breathing Meditation For Better Sleep
This entails controlling the breathing by counting breaths and gradually slowing down the breathing by placing one hand on the chest and the other on the chest to prompt the body that it is time to rest. This meditation for sleep and anxiety releases all tension with every mindful inhalation and exhalation.
- Lie down comfortably on the bed.
- Put one hand on the chest and one hand on the abdomen.
- Breathe in softly through the nose. Ensure the chest is still.
- Exhale with the mouth as you lightly press both lips.
- Exhale and feel the abdominal muscles contract.
- This completes one round.
Mantra Meditation For Better Sleep
Mantra meditation constitutes a word or phrase repeated, either softly or inwardly. You may come up with your affirmations, like ” My body and mind are ready to relax, Love and light surround me, I release all tension and worry,” or even simply chant “Om.”
Affirmations or mantras repeated before bed are known as bedtime affirmations. By focusing on positive thoughts, one invites relaxation to cleanse the mind. Deep breathing combined with these affirmations prepares the body for sleep.
Movement Meditation For Better Sleep
Movements may range from gentle yoga to a short walk. A short stretching at night helps to ease any muscular tension and increase blood flow, which promotes restorative sleep and relieves pain. Nighttime stretches are best performed half an hour to an hour regularly just before going to bed. Gentle exercise releases endorphins or happy hormones and encourages blood flow.
Some of the common stretches to perform before bedtime are neck stretches, leg stretches, and gentle spine twists.
Music Meditation For Better Sleep
Using meditation music for sleep may be pretty effective in fostering relaxation and eliminating any feelings of anxiety. The music designed for sleep meditation has been reported to affect the brainwaves in numerous ways. The soft, soothing music helps to increase the alpha waves, which promote deep relaxation.
You can learn and practice all these meditation techniques in our 200 hour Meditation Teacher Training in Rishikesh
Benefits of Meditation for Sleep
Improve Brain Health
The brain’s health may undoubtedly impacted due to lack of sleep. Every night, the mind has to relax in order to recharge. Studies suggest that meditation may enhance grey matter volume, density, and functional connectivity, which improves the neurostructural profiles, as well as memory and cognitive function.
Insomnia may be caused due to underlying stress, night shifts, and other environmental factors. The practice of meditation helps to pay attention to breathing and then bring our thoughts back to the here and now, which avoids worrying about any other external distractions.
Reduce Stress and Worry
Practicing meditation for sleep helps to quiet the anxious thoughts and practice mindfulness. This assists the body in going into a rest state. Therefore, it encourages a sense of peace and relaxation and maintains a balance in the nervous system.
The hectic pace of modern life may make it hard to unwind and take necessary breaks. It might even make a good night’s sleep unattainable. However, sleep is just as important to general health as diet and exercise. Inducing sleep with the help of sleep meditation enhances positive emotion, health, and cognitive abilities, which leads to better thinking, memory, and decision-making.