Meditation For Sleep : A Complete Guide
Meditation for sleep is a practice that can help us fall and stay asleep for longer periods of time. Unwinding after a long day is difficult, but the research is clear: mindfulness and sleep meditation can be extremely beneficial. When we go to bed with our to-do lists still running through our heads, sleep meditation calms the nervous system of the body and creates the conditions for sweet, deep, natural sleep.
Sleep meditation is a practice that helps your body and mind prepare for sleep. It can be difficult to simply jump into bed and fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, especially if you suffer from anxiety or insomnia. According to Dr. Young, the most common factors that can disrupt our sleep and keep us awake at night are stress, pain, and anxiety.
Consider it a wind-down button that prepares your body and mind for sleep by focusing on relaxing your body and mind through mindful exercises.
Tips for better sleep
When it comes to improving your sleep hygiene, sleep meditation is an excellent tool to have on hand. However, there are other options available to you. Here are some additional ways to improve your sleeping habits:
Mindful moments throughout the day
How you feel during the day will influence how you feel before going to bed. So, take those sleep meditation exercises (even if it’s just five minutes of breathwork or meditation) and incorporate them into your day as well. This actually makes it easier to relax and unwind before going to bed.
Adjust your screen time
It should come as no surprise that looking at our phones before bed can have a negative impact on our sleep quality. However, it goes beyond simply reducing your screen time. The amount of screen light we are exposed to throughout the day can have an impact on the quality of sleep we get later that night. So, at least one hour before going to bed, keep your phone and screen off.
Have an early dinner
Our digestive systems can also influence our sleep quality. You don’t want to put too much strain on your stomach right before you try to get your body to sleep.
This means that those late-night snacks you keep reaching for? They could be doing more damage than you realize. So, if possible, try to eat earlier in the evening. Make sure you finish your dinner three hours before bedtime to ensure that the food has been digested.
Create a dark space in your room
When that pesky street light right outside your window is constantly shining a spotlight on your pillow, it can be difficult to focus on lulling yourself to sleep. If you’re particularly sensitive to light, take some precautions before going to bed to help you surround yourself in soothing darkness.
As We are surrounded by so much external light, even when we are not looking at our phones. So, to help block out streetlights and other outside brightness, get some blackout shades for our bedroom windows. It can make a significant difference in your ability to fall and stay asleep.
What exactly is guided meditation for sleep?
Guided meditation occurs when a meditation teacher or other practitioner leads the meditator through the meditation. In the case of guided sleep meditation, this is usually accomplished by listening to an audio meditation on the internet or in a meditation app. Instead of meditating in silence, the meditator is listening to another voice for guidance. A guided meditation for sleep is intended to deeply relax the listener, leading to sleep. Guided meditation for sleep can be a very relaxing way to get started with a new sleep meditation practice.
How to Begin Meditating Using Calm
Begin sleeping meditation with a 7-session guided meditation series in the Calm app. It’s known as 7 Days of Sleep. Each session lasts about 14 minutes and includes a simple mindfulness teaching from Tamara Levitt, our Head of Mindfulness, as well as a guided meditation to help you fall asleep naturally.
Is there any danger in meditating?
Although most people are not at risk from sleep meditation, a small percentage of people, particularly those with pre-existing mental health conditions, addiction, or a history of trauma, may experience mental discomfort. Meditation may be associated with the following risks:
– Poorer sleep quality
– Muscle soreness
– Disorientation or confusion
– Negative feelings such as sadness, anxiety, or anger
– Heightened awareness of fears or one’s own negative qualities
– Intrusive thoughts
– Fear of losing control
These are uncommon side effects. If you are concerned about the possibility of these side effects, it is best to consult with your doctor before beginning meditation.
Meditation for sleep works best if you can combine relaxation techniques during the day and find a mode that works for you. The point of meditation before bed is to tailor it to what calms you down. Overall, however, breathwork, body scans, and simply taking five to ten minutes to focus on relaxing your body throughout the day and night can do wonders for your sweet dreams.