Sleep Meditation; 3 Simply Strategies to Help Get You to Sleep

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Are you one of the many people out there who’s dreaming of a good night’s sleep?

Getting a deep and restful night’s slumber can be a struggle, with insomnia can be so debilitating that it may severely affect your ability to make decisions or hold down a job and even keep relationships.

Research at Harvard medical school has shown that mindfulness can help fight insomnia and improve sleep.

Meditation for sleep can be a natural solution for a restful night and help you master techniques that can be learnt easily and put into practice immediately.

In this article, we’ll teach you some techniques to help you sleep and provide you with some free guided meditations guaranteed to improve your quality of sleep

A women practices sleep meditation
Guided meditation can help you prepare for a full and restful nights sleep

Guided Sleep Meditation

A guided sleep meditation involves a teacher talking you through ways to help you let go of worrying thoughts while helping you relax your body before bed.

Similar to other types of meditation practice, you’ll find that sleep meditation will make you focus on physical sensations rather than your thoughts.

When your mind relaxes, your body will follow, and you’ll find your heart rate slowing as your body sees that deep state of relaxation.

Falling asleep fully relaxed will lead you to see a huge improvement in sleep quality

Try This 10-Minute Sleep Meditation

Breathing Patterns

Breath can have a huge impact on the way we sleep, with snoring and sleep apnea being two of the most common sleep disorder caused by the way we breathe.

Pranayama is a conscious breathing exercise we can use to train our body to breathe deeply and slowly and make us much more relaxed. Deep breathing has been shown to reduce stress levels, heart rate and reduce sleep deprivation.

Learning breathing patterns can help you attain a ‘relaxed breath’. In doing so, it can help lower any anxiety and help you achieve restful sleep, whether it’s at the beginning of the night or if you’ve woken up after having your sleep disturbed.

A special breathing pattern involves regulating your breath while slowing it down to help you relax.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is probably one of the popular and recognised breathing sleep aids.

The Technique involves breathing in through your nose for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds and then exhaling through the mouth for 8 seconds.

You can find a full written and audio guide here.

Body Scan Meditation For Sleep

Body Scans

A body scan is a type of meditation where the focus is on physical sensations and is a great addition to a bedtime routine due to the fact it can be practised in bed when your trying to fall asleep.

This technique will bring your awareness to the present moment and is a great distraction for an anxious mind.

When practising, try to stay aware of all sensations, including body temperature, vibrations or pressure – all of these feelings aid in calming your busy mind.

Step 1: Lay down
Start by lying on the bed in a comfortable position, preferably lying on your back, face up with your eyes closed.

Step 2: Start with your head.
You can start with your head and notice it pressing down onto your pillow or bed. Feel the pressure and heaviness of your head weighing down.

Step 3: Concentrate on your eyes.
Specifically, your eyelids – feel the heaviness of them as they remain closed, and then move your focus down to your cheeks, mouth and nose. There may be tingling or tightness, heat or coolness – take note of what you feel and accept these feelings.

Step 4: Move down
Move lower to your throat. Can you feel the stillness in your throat now after a day of speaking? Embrace that quietness.

Step 5: Neck and shoulders
Become aware now of your neck and shoulders – is there tension? It’s so common to feel sharp pains of tension in this area. What you may like to do to help release the tension is to breathe into that area to allow it to soften. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale through your mouth, slowly and fully, while relaxing your neck or shoulders.

Step 6: Arms and hands
Move towards your arms, hands and fingers. Our hands, in particular, are full of sensations, so allow them to relax, palms up.

Step 7: Torso
Move sideways towards your stomach, and note how the abdomen rises and falls with your breath. Try and make your stomach soft as you breathe.

Step 8: Back
Go deeper towards your back and feel pressure downwards as you rest on the bed.

Step 9: Pelvis
Move further down towards your pelvis and legs and then slowly down to your feet. Circle your attention to their heaviness after spending time during the day on your feet. Feel the muscles in your calves – are they tight or relaxed?

Step 10: Ankles and toes
Feel your ankles and toes – are they tingling? Do they feel hot or cold? You can scan your body as many times as you like, and note the different feelings each time.

A women practices sleep meditation
Guided meditation can help you prepare for a full and restful nights sleep

Binaural Beats

A binaural beat is when two different frequencies are mixed together to create what sounds like a completely new single-frequency tone.

So you listen to one frequency in one ear, and in the other ear, another slightly different frequency.

Your brain will register a very low-frequency sound. It’s perfectly safe, and the low-frequency sound wave will help your brain activity slow and can help you achieve quality sleep.

Our brain has four major brainwaves associated with different feelings, from arousal and wakefulness to deep sleep.

The faster the brainwave pattern, the more aroused our brain is, and on the flip side, the slower and lower the brainwave is, the deeper the relaxation is.

Sound waves can affect brainwaves, so they encourage a deeper, relaxed, solid sleep if the brain is exposed to lower frequencies.

Relaxing Bedtime Story

As effective as Mindfulness meditation is at calming the mind, sometimes we don’t have the effort or motivation for it late at night.

The idea of a relaxing bedtime story may seem childish, but they are just as effective at helping you get to sleep at night now as they were when you were a child.

Adding a relaxing story to your bedtime routine is an effortless way to help you achieve deep sleep without having to exert much effort.

You should aim to look for relaxing and not very engaging. Sometimes podcasts or audiobooks can be too interesting, causing the opposite effect.

MindEasy has a whole selection of SleepEasy stories that you can try for free.

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep Hygiene refers to a set of rules or guidelines that have been designed to improve sleep quality by establishing a healthy sleep routine and other habits that promote a good quality of sleep.

Limiting screen time at least an hour before bed is essential due to the light emitted from mobile phones, televisions, computers etc. is primarly blue spectrum. This colour, in particular, can hinder your body from creating melatonin, a natural substance that makes you feel sleepy.

Having a consistent routine help prepare your mind and body for sleep. You should also avoid eating a large meal just before going to bed as this can lead to disturbed sleep and make you more wakeful. If you have to eat before bed, choose foods that aids sleep rather than disrupt it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Step 1 : Lie comfortably in your bed
Step 2 : Close your eyes
Step 3 : Inhale a deep breath from your abdomen while counting to five.
Step 4 : Hold the breath for about five seconds, and feel that sensation.
Step 5 : Slowly exhale the breath, really extending the time the breath comes out of you. As you breathe out, exhale all of the day's thoughts or concerns.
Step 6 : Repeat this process until you feel an overwhelming feeling of relaxation, and let your self drift to sleep.

Research at Harvard medical school has shown that mindfulness can help fight insomnia and improve sleep.

When your mind relaxes, your body will follow, and you’ll find your heart rate slowing as your body sees that deep state of relaxation.

-Guided Sleep Meditation
-Guided Body Scan meditation
-Binaural Beats
-Relaxing Music and Ambient Sounds

The best way to make you fall asleep fast is to have a good night time routine.
-Dont drink any caffine at least 10 hours before bed
-Stop looking at any screen at least an hour before bed. Blue light from phones and other devices tricks your brain into thinking its still day time.
-Get into bed with enough time to relax
-Listen to a guided sleep meditation

Meditation at its core helps relieve stress and anxiety which are two biggest causes of insomnia. As well this it can help you relax, increase melatonin (the sleep hormone), reduce heart rate and activat the part of your brain that controls sleep.

Griff Williams

MindEasy founder & meditation teacher

Griff Williams is an accredited meditation teacher and founder of MindEasy. He spent 12 years working as a London firefighter before changing paths to pursue building MindEasy. He received his diploma in meditation teaching from The British School of Meditation.