Making meditation a regular feature in your life is a fantastic way to increase your awareness of your own thoughts, as well as to find balance and enhance feelings of peace and well-being. In addition to this, it is also known that meditation can be an amazing tool for improving your quality of sleep!
Yogi, Julie Montagu, shares her top tips for those who are willing to use meditation to get a better night’s sleep. If you often find that your mind is still in overdrive when you are trying to get to sleep, then this can be incredibly frustrating, and prevent you from getting an adequate amount of rest. This can affect your mood and your energy levels the following day.
Engaging in a meditative practice at bed time is a wonderful way to end your day in a peaceful way, and to transition into a deep sleep.
If you are someone who finds it difficult to engage in the process of conventional meditation then there is no need for you to miss out on the benefits of doing so! There are some great ways to still embrace this concept without spending any time in a deliberate seated meditation. You can check out Julie’s latest blog on this topic to learn more.
Guided meditations can be extremely helpful for getting to sleep, and this simply involves laying comfortably in your bed and listening to a voice talk you through the process. You may choose to do this with an app or online video, or you may record your very own guided sleep meditation and then play it back to yourself.
The soothing sounds of this voice, be it yours or someone else’s, provide the perfect setting to fall asleep to, whilst also encouraging your mind to relax and work through any stress and negativity.
The following exercise is great to try when you are in bed and ready for sleep:
Ensure that you are lying comfortably and begin by taking several deep breaths in and out. During this process, always breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth. As you are breathing in, imagine your lungs filling with air and be aware of your chest as it expands upwards. When you breathe out, visualise negativity and tension leaving your body and vanishing into the air.
After a few moments of breathing in this way, begin to check in with yourself. Ask yourself how you are feeling physically and emotionally. Ask yourself how your day has been and if anything is weighing on your mind. Let your thoughts unfold naturally in response to these questions and do not rush through the process. You might find that the answers to your questions aren’t very positive – and that’s okay! Do not shy away from these thoughts. Acknowledge them and allow them to sit in your mind as we move on.
Once you are done checking in with yourself, move your attention to how your body feels in your bed. Notice how it feels to have the mattress beneath you and the blanket on top. Be aware of how comfortably your head rests upon the pillow. Listen very carefully for the sounds that are around you, or simply appreciate the silence that you are experiencing.
Now that you are aware of yourself, aware of your surroundings, and entirely comfortable in your bed, I want you to slowly and very gently move your focus down from the very top of your head to the very tips of your toes. As you move your attention down your body, notice any tension that remains, any aches and pains, any feelings in any part of your body. As you notice the areas in which any of these things are present, remind yourself that you are falling into a deep sleep, and that this will help your body to release tension, aches, pains, and feelings.
It should take you between 30 seconds and a full minute to complete this mental scan of your body and you can then do it one or two more times.
Bring your attention back now to your breath and notice how your body feels and moves as you breathe deeply in and out. If you find that your mind begins to wander during this stage of giving your full attention to the breath, then acknowledge the thoughts that have distracted your attention and release them from your mind, returning your full attention back to your breathing.
Once you feel as though you have been focusing completely on your breathing for a few minutes, I want you to take your mind back to the very beginning of the day. Try to remember how you felt, what you were doing, what your thoughts were about the day ahead of you. You can then work slowly through your day in your mind. Do not dwell on the small details as you are doing this, rather try to flow through the events of the day in a few minutes. Once you have addressed each part of your body then allow yourself to embrace the peace that surrounds you, and invite your body to sleep.
You may often find that you drift off to sleep before you have reached the end of the exercise – and that’s great! If you aren’t asleep by the end of the exercise then don’t feel as though you have done anything wrong. You have prepared your body for a restful night and worked to process the events of the day that you have just experienced.
For more calming activities, check out some of the best places to do yoga here