Getting ready to turn in for the day and travel to Never-Never Land? But you find yourself either looking at the ceiling, trying to find the pixie dust or counting sheep? Maybe you feel the urge to sit or stand back up?
Having difficulties with sleeping is not uncommon. And no, it’s not only due to chronic insomnia. These sleeping problems can have many reasons. So you might want to take 10 to 15 minutes to practice bedtime meditations for a good night’s rest.
If you have never practiced meditation at any length before, read on as we take you through the basics. Learning how to meditate to help you sleep and gain other benefits does not have to be hard!
Why Meditate Before Sleep?
Often, the problem with getting yourself to sleep is the fact that you are not in a relaxed state.
It can be because of the day’s physical stress, the mental acrobatics your mind keeps going on, or the emotional state you are in. Or worse, it could be because a combination of all these factors.
The key, then, is getting yourself into a relaxed state in all these areas of your consciousness.
The benefits of habitual bedtime meditations for a good night’s rest are extensive and supported by science. Stress reduction is the most basic and often mentioned, even by the average person on the street. This comes from the body’s reaction to meditation, which is reducing the production of cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone that is pointed out as the biggest contributor to stress. Cortisol itself is the trigger, but the effects are virtually a homogenized system that leads to the feeling of stress throughout the body.
Did you ever feel that you were tired, but cannot sleep and just leads you to thrash about? Or perhaps you felt anxious when you really just want to drift off to sleep?
Chances are, these sensations are due to an elevated level of cortisol. Well, thanks to studies made on meditation, science has determined its practice leads to lowering the cortisol.
With consistent practice, you can attain more than just a reduced cortisol production. The more comfortable you become with meditation, the more the benefits become apparent. And what have you got to lose, right?
One Meditation to Rule Them All?
Before you get too excited, let me make it clear that you will likely not be comfortable immediately. For one thing, the subconscious is resistant to change.
Even when you know something is good for you, it’s like you have to force yourself to do it. But don’t worry. It is just the familiarity. The mind and the body are just more accepting of something they already understand.
Furthermore, while the basics of bedtime meditations for a good night’s rest are generally similar, there are different types of meditation.
Meditating with a specific purpose is more effective and powerful. What we recommend doing is following a basic form of meditation, and then transitioning to a more specific form.
Here is a good starting meditation practice
- If you would like to do some light stretching or exercise before meditating, you may. Most people find this to be a good way to limber up and get mentally and physically prepared. But do not do anything too strenuous. Yoga stretches are ideal for this preparation (in fact, Yoga is a form of meditation itself, if you know how to do it properly).
- Make yourself comfortable. You can be lying down or sitting. Whichever you prefer is fine, as long as you are in a position that you are able to achieve maximum comfort.
- At this point, focus on your breath. Take note of the pace your pattern follows. Do not think about anything else beyond your breathing.
- After about a minute or two, notice what thoughts form in your mind. What thoughts keep going in and out of your head while trying to keep your attention on breathing?
- Once you know, take note of these thoughts. This will be important once you have chosen a specific type from the different bedtime meditations for a good night.
- Now, transition from your regular breathing to a more deliberately controlled pace. Breathe in through your nose for 10 seconds. Then, breathe out also for 10 seconds.
- Eventually, you will be increasing the time breathing in and out by another 10 seconds. But do this once you have practiced for about a week consistently.
- This breathing pattern will lead to your brain moving from the beta state to the alpha state. The alpha state is where you are still awake, but in a restful and relaxed level.
5 minutes of this basic practice will work wonders for your attempt to sleep. Regularly practicing these will yield even more long-term benefits for your sleeping pattern.
Now, for your further growth, you can consider the following specific meditation types.
1. Decluttering Meditation
This is a great form of meditation when you have a billion things going on in your head. As mentioned earlier, one of the leading causes of difficulties with sleeping is a busy mind. Sometimes, you just cannot help it. It feels automatic that you think about things. Perhaps these are thoughts of the recent past, or perhaps these are worries for the future.
Thus, you need to declutter your thoughts. When you are practicing the meditation process suggested earlier, at the point you are noting the thoughts that pop, choose one of them. Pay no energy to any of the others. Tell yourself that they simply do not exist.
Focus on that one stimulus for a minute. Ask yourself why that thought above all others came to the surface. Give yourself an honest answer. And when you have your answer, feel yourself satisfied that the answer is now yours.
And then, let it go. It’s at this point you will not even notice that you have successfully decluttered your previously chaotic thoughts!
2. Gratefulness Meditation
With this type of meditation, you are focusing on a single objective. This objective is to find gratitude, regardless of the previous day. This is one of the simplest goals to center your thoughts on, but difficult to commit to.
Many people find it hard to feel grateful when they only look at the bad that they experienced. But the truth of the matter is, there is always something to be thankful for. It does not have to be something big.
Even the very air you breathe is something you can be grateful for. Whatever you might choose, feel the genuine gratitude of its existence in your heart.
A sense of gratitude as your last thoughts before you sleep has a deep, cleansing effect. This is why this is a great focus for bedtime meditations for a good night’s rest.
3. Beauty Meditation
Beauty is universal. While the object and reasons for believing something is beautiful can vary, the essence is the same. Witnessing something of beauty with your eyes makes you feel good. Sometimes, you just can’t explain it. It just is.
And one of the most important things of beauty is yourself. Indeed, knowing that you are a beautiful creature made from the very same stardust of creation is an amazing thing. Incorporating this into your bedtime meditation is highly encouraged.
As before, inject this at the point you are focusing on your thoughts. Mentally tell yourself that you are beauty itself. Not just beautiful, but the very concept of beauty is within you. You will sleep beautifully as a result.
4. Self-Love Meditation
In a way, this stems from both beauty and gratitude. But remember that the highest form of emotion is love. And loving yourself is absolutely cathartic. This is particularly good when you have been feeling down, for one reason or another.
Think of yourself as a precious gem. Unique and singular, that is what you are. Don’t you think this self deserves all the love you can give it?
In your thoughts, fill it with loving emotion as you practice your meditative breathing pattern. Think only of love and appreciation for who you are and the potential of what you can be.
5. Visualization Meditation
This is one of the highest forms of bedtime meditations for a good night. Visualization of the ideal reality you wish is both relaxing and creative. Think about the kind of life you want. Feel the emotion as if that life has been realized at that very moment.
What do you feel? How happy are you that it is real right now? Let that feeling wash through you during your meditation before sleeping. The positive vibes will carry over to your sleeping hours.
More than that, it leads to your subconscious working out the details to make it happen. And that’s a great thing for when you wake up, charged with the positive, creative energies to realize your dreams.
Sleep Well, Wake Well
Practicing bedtime meditations for a good night’s rest are not just about reducing your stress and sleeping soundly. It is also about transforming your life in a meaningful way.
The mere fact that it will help you rest more effectively is already worth the effort and time. But when you do these on a regular basis, you will find your mood in your waking hours to become largely positive as well!