If you have ever had a hard time falling asleep, this article can help change your life. Learn about the science behind falling asleep and receive 5 Free Meditations for Sleep at the end of the article!
Reasons for insomnia, inadequate and disturbed sleep
What is sleep? According to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, sleep means natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored. Sleep comes naturally to animals and most humans. However some people find it difficult to sleep and suffer from what is termed as insomnia.
Studies suggest that the origin of insomnia may be either psychological or physiological. It may also occur due to ill health or simply because of unhealthy sleep habits. You may experience disturbed sleep if you consume alcohol or drugs before lying down in bed. Insomnia has been traced to stress and anxiety. Work places have become highly stressful and demanding. People carry their office issues right into their bed – leading to insomnia.
Mindfulness meditation and sleep
Mindfulness meditation involves breathing techniques which brings your mind to the present instead of drifting to the past or future. Breathing acts like an anchor which provides focus to your thoughts and tethering it to the present. Your concerns and worries seem to dissolve and you feel relaxed. According to Dr. Herbert Benson, director emeritus of the Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, “The idea is to create a reflex to more easily bring forth a sense of relaxation. That way, it’s easier to evoke the relaxation response at night when you can’t sleep.”
Mindfulness meditation allows your mind to let go of the day’s events and provides a platform for deep relaxation. You may not be able to maintain complete focus in the present and your mind will drift for one thought to another. You must bring your mind to the present as soon as you realize that you are experiencing thoughts from the past. It is advisable to practice Mindfulness meditation just before you go to bed. Your mind will automatically slip into a state of deep sleep when your mind is free from worries and stress.
Meditation and sleep regulation
Meditation can work as both a sleep supplement and a way to help symptoms of insomnia. People suffer from insomnia due to low levels of melatonin hormone in their system. For a normal, healthy person, the level of melatonin increases in the evening and this causes drowsiness. Essentially, our bodies are tuned to release melatonin in the night. Meditation stimulates the pineal gland which releases melatonin. You are likely to fall into a relaxed sleep thereafter. Meditation raises levels of GABA or gamma-Aminobutyric acid in your nervous system which inhibits excitability and edginess in your mind. This reduces stress and you are more likely to be relaxed while going to bed.
Guided meditation and sleep
Many people find it difficult to concentrate and focus in the present. Guided meditation at the time of going to bed can help you to sleep. You need an audio device to listen to guided meditation. You must make sure that the volume of the music system is kept low. Loud and jarring sounds may actually result in insomnia by exciting your senses. You must lie down in a comfortable position in your bed before beginning guided meditation. The room should be dark without any source of light. You must ensure that the audio system switches off automatically after the guided meditation session.
Listen to the guided meditation while relaxing your body. Feel the stress leave and dissolve. Let your mind follow the instructions without any interrupting thoughts. Guided meditation will gradually put your mind in peaceful and serene sleep.
Rotation of consciousness and sleep
This type of meditation is focused on the extremities of the body. You can begin the meditation by lying down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Initially focus on your breath. Feel the cool air enter your nostrils when you take in your breath and the warm air when you breathe out. Take a few deep breath and experience the sensation of getting energized while breathing in and feeling completely relaxed while breathing out.
Now, follow the process of rotating your consciousness. Begin with the index finger of your right hand. Let your mind travel to the palm, wrist, elbow, shoulder, right side of the chest, hip, thigh, knee, ankle, foot, big toe, the first finger, second finger, third and fourth. Repeat for the left hand side of your body.
Now, focus on your back – tail of your spinal cord, back, neck and back of the head.
Come to the front – Forehead, ears, cheeks, nose, mouth, chin, neck, chest, stomach and navel.
Then, look at your whole body. Your body is lying on the back, completely relaxed and still. Slowly, open your eyes.
You can also go directly to sleep while you are in the process of rotating your consciousness.
Conclusion + 5 Free Meditations for Sleep
Meditation helps you to relax your body and mind. You can follow any of the meditation techniques described above to achieve deeper and longer sleep. We have several meditations for sleep available HERE.
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