Meditation and Sleep

meditation and sleep postIf you’ve ever had any trouble sleeping or found yourself lying in bed at night getting stressed out about not being able to sleep, then you’re not alone.

Lack of sleep generally relates to the level of stress experienced from an overactive mind that can be stuck on thinking about work, the events of the day, worrying about something coming up, or just plain old refuses to shut the heck up and let you go to sleep.

Then if you add in any emotional issues that may have arisen during the day that are churning away inside you, or a physical condition that is keeping you awake, then it is no wonder that getting a good nights sleep seems to elude many people each night.

Obviously, this is not ideal as lack of sleep can lead to a wide range of problems which makes functioning during the day that much harder, not to mention the health problems that can arise if sleep deprivation continues over time.

The good news though is that there are some really simple things you can do to help get a good nights sleep every night so let’s have a look at what they are.

The Bedroom

Make this a place of rest and not activity as the environment that you sleep in should be peaceful and relaxing. Get rid of any electronic devices or exercise equipment from the room as this will help to create an environment conducive to the mind and body slowing down and preparing for sleep.

The bedroom is not a place to do work, or bring unfinished business to. Make sure you leave these things outside the room. If you are agitated or upset about anything, then do what you can to deal with this before you lay down otherwise you are setting yourself up for a restless night.

If there is a lot of noise either in the other parts of your home or outside, then try playing a relaxing music to help  drift off to sleep, I tend to use the sound of rain and wind, or binaural beats deep sleep music in these instances. If you do play music make sure to set your device to sleep mode so that it turns off after awhile.

If you bring your mobile phone to bed then make sure to put it onto airplane mode and use a separate alarm if you need something to wake you up.

Prepare Your Body

When you get into bed, use this progressive muscle relaxation technique to help reduce any tension in the body. When there is tension in the body it creates a restlessness that keeps the mind active. A simple way to help get rid of tension in the muscles is to progressively tense the muscles in the body for five seconds at a time and then relax them.

Here’s how it works:

Start by curling your toes as tightly as you can and then relax them. The move onto your feet, then your calves, then you thighs and move on up the body until you get to the top of your head. Don’t forget to tighten and relax all the muscles of the shoulders, neck and face as this is where a lot of tension can be stored, especially around the mouth and jaw.

For many people just doing this relaxation technique will be enough to easily drift off to sleep. If not, try going back down the body again from the top of the head for one more go at tensing and relaxing the muscles. If you are still not sleepy after that, then move onto the next technique.

Prepare Your Mind

Even though the body can be tired and you think you are ready to go to sleep, sometimes as soon as you hit the pillow it’s like a switch is flicked inside your head and it just won’t shut up. The challenge with this is that not only is it hard to go to sleep when this happens, it can also cause you more stress, which in turn can keep you awake even longer and lead to health problems.

How often during the day do you stop to be mindful of what you are doing? The ability to be able to step back from the stresses of the mind, body or emotions is vital if you want to have a healthy relationship with the mind. When you do this, it allows you to create a space between the thoughts and feelings you are having, which reduces the power they have over your mind and body.

Falling asleep easily every night is a process of training the mind to be able to step back and observe thoughts and feelings which is exactly what happens when you sit and meditate. Some call this being mindful, while others call it being present in the moment.

What we do know from scientific studies is that meditation has been proven to have a positive impact on helping people to sleep easier.

Give yourself 15 minutes of mindful meditation just before you go to bed and this will help to clear the mind and prepare the body for sleep. This is the fastest, most-effective and healthiest way to help get a good nights sleep – every night!

Here’s a simple meditation technique to get you started:

Focus again on your breathing. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your belly as you inhale and exhale. This helps you to breathe deeper than just into your chest which helps the mind to slow down and the body to relax.

You can either sit on the edge of your bed or lay down to do this meditation if you prefer.  If your mind starts to wander, return to the focus of the rising and falling of your belly as you breathe in and out.

If you find that you still have any trouble sleeping then start with our Focus 5, five minute meditations. It’s 100%  free and these simple five minute guided meditations will show you just how easy it is to step back from an overactive mind or emotions.

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