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Using Guided Meditation for Sleep Can Improve Sleep Quality

meditation for sleepA good night’s sleep can be elusive for many of us. My quest for good quality sleep on a regular basis has always seemed a bit hit and miss. One night may be great and I will wake up feeling refreshed and energised. Then the next night I am awake several times during the night, and in the morning i feel exhausted and lethargic.

 

There are a variety of factors that can affect our sleep quality each night, from the types of food we eat and how late we eat them, to how much, if any, exercise we got during the day, and how much we are on our electronic devices before bed. Of the many techniques we can introduce into our daily routine to help improve our sleep, meditation may be one of the most helpful.

 

Why Sleep Matters?

 

Your body uses the time you are sleeping to perform a number of essential functions. It stores and catalogues events and memories from your day, eliminates toxins from your system and also performs the vast majority of healing and cell repair that your body needs. If your sleep time is reduced, or the quality of your sleep is poor, then you could be missing out on the deep, restorative sleep your body needs to function at its best.

 

Improving your sleep is one of the many benefits of a regular meditation practice. Let’s take a look at some basic sleep meditation techniques.

 

Meditation Techniques for Sleep

 

The best sleep meditation is one that is simple and will relax your body and allow you to fall asleep quickly. These three meditations are a great place to start. Do them just before you are ready to go to sleep.

 

Breath Meditation

 

  1. Lie down on your back and get comfortable.
  2. Take a couple of deep breaths.
  3. As you breathe out, relax your body and release any tension.
  4. Focus on your breath as it goes into and out of your body.
  5. Follow it all the way in and all the way out.
  6. When your mind wanders, simply notice and return to the breath.
  7. Do this for 5 or 10 minutes, or however long you need to.

 

Body Scan for Sleep

 

  1. Lie down on your back and get comfortable.
  2. Take a couple of deep relaxing breaths.
  3. Start at the top of your head and bring your attention to it, looking for any tension.
  4. Release and relax any tension you find before moving on to the next part of your body, your eyes, face, jaw, neck, etc. all the way down to your toes.
  5. You should now be completely relaxed and ready for sleep.

 

Mindfulness Sleep Meditation

 

  1. Lie down and get comfortable.
  2. Take a couple of deep breaths.
  3. Start by bringing attention to your breath as it goes in and out of your body.
  4. Open up your senses, what do you feel, smell, hear around you.
  5. Bring your attention to your thoughts, noticing what comes up.
  6. Name your thought, “thinking”, “planning”, “worrying”.
  7. Then let the thought go, release it, and return to your senses.
  8. Continue to do this for 5 or 10 minutes.

 

Guided Meditations for Sleep

 

Another good way to help is to use guided meditations for sleep. This will involve using your phone or music player to play a pre-recorded track that will guide you through your chosen meditation. You can use a guided meditation on audio cd or mp3, or find one on YouTube or one of the many free online websites that offer free guided meditations. Or you can use a meditation app on your phone or tablet. Just a tip if you are using a site like YouTube, make sure you turn off autoplay so that it doesn’t start playing a new track.

 

A sleep chakra meditation

 

YouTube has a large number of chakra meditations for sleep, ranging in length from about half an hour up to over 9 hours. Here is a good introductory one to start with.

 

Guided visualization for sleep

 

Guided imagery involves imagining a peaceful image, a place you know or can imagine that makes you feel relaxed. You use your imagination to explore this image or place.

 

Try this free guided meditation for sleep:

 

If you are looking for something quick and easy to relax you before sleep try these:

A 5 minute sleep meditation.

A 10 minute guided meditation for sleep.

Meditation Music for Sleep

If you just want some meditation music to help you sleep there are plenty of cds or mp3s you can buy. Here are a few you can try for yourself.

Guided audio meditations for sleep.

Guided meditation CDs for sleep.

 

Sleep Meditation Apps

 

The best sleep meditation app is one that will relax you in as little time as possible and then turn off when the meditation ends so you can go straight to sleep.

 

Insight Timer is a great free app that has a number of guided meditations for sleep.

Whil has an expansive library with several sleep meditations to choose from.

Buddhify also has a section on meditations for sleep.

 

Next Steps

There are a few other things you can do during the day to help you sleep better at night.

  1. Practice mindfulness throughout your day.
  2. Learn to  meditate daily.
  3. Practice breathing techniques to improve your heart rate variability.
  4. Eat a healthy diet, full of fruits and vegetables.
  5. Exercise daily.

 

Better sleep leads to better health, more energy and an improved mindset.

 

Resources for free audio meditations:

 

https://medical.mit.edu/community/sleep/resources

http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22

http://www.fragrantheart.com/cms/free-audio-meditations

https://www.doyogawithme.com/content/yoga-nidra-sleep

https://www.meditainment.com/meditation-for-falling-asleep

 

The Science of Meditation for Sleep

Meditation training as a treatment for insomnia:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005789476800640

Mindfulness meditation and improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older adults with sleep disturbances:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25686304

 

Further Reading

Meditate at Home

How to Practice Mindfulness

Easy Mindfulness Exercises

Mindful Eating

 

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