6 Soothing Meditations For Sleep

Woman meditating in bed

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Sick of not being able to sleep at night? You really must try some nighttime meditation. It’s one of the easiest and healthiest ways to cure insomnia so you can get to sleep.

Meditation can help you get to sleep even if you’re the absolute worst sleeper in the world.

Trust me I should know.

I used to not be able to sleep at all.

For three years at university I didn’t sleep. I tried everything. I tried using natural supplements for insomnia and other natural remedies for insomnia. I tried using sound therapy for sleep. Some of those sleep products worked for a couple of days. But nothing worked more consistently than meditation. The moment I started meditating for an hour before bed, everything changed for me.

Meditation offered me a fast, easy, healthy way to get to sleep at night. And it can do the same for even the worst of insomniacs.

Science proves meditation can cure insomnia

Several scientific studies have proven that meditation helps stop insomnia.

One  clinical trial (*1) took 49 insomniacs. Half the group were taught mindfulness. The other half completed a sleep education cast. After six sessions, the group which had practiced mindfulness had significantly reduce levels of insomnia compared to the other group.

The Associated Professional Sleep Societies (*2) looked at 11 research papers on insomnia and concluded that Kriya Yoga (a type of meditation) led to significantly improved quality of sleep (based on subjective analysis).

 

And in perhaps the most surprising scientific test, researchers found that people who meditate require less sleep than others. Neuroimaging studies are showing that meditation leads to heightened states of awareness and less need for sleep. And that means that even if you still cannot get to sleep, your insomnia symptoms will be reduced if you meditate.

Which meditations cure insomnia

The following meditation techniques for sleep are best done right before getting to bed. But they can also be used throughout the day to help relax so you’re in a mood more conducive to sleep once the time comes.

There are many great meditation techniques for sleep. When you practice meditation before bed you will slow and calm your mind. This will help you to get a good night sleep and some sound rest.

This is huge. Because we need sleep. 8 hours of it

Not getting enough sleep is detrimental to your health, your work, your happiness… everything. If you want to enjoy a healthy, balanced mind and body, you’ve got to get enough sleep—8 hours, to be precise.

 

The role of sleep is to restore your body to its natural, healthy function.

When you sleep your body repairs cells, revives your adrenal glands, and harmonises you ready for the next day. That’s why, if you get a good night’s sleep you should wake up feeling wonderful and happy the next morning, ready to get the day off to a positive start. So, my Zen-sational, poositivity warrior readers; are your days starting positive?

If you don’t feel good in the morning, you might want to check your sleeping habits.

Because if you choose to go without sleep, your body cannot keep itself at optimum health.

 

 Both over-sleeping and under-sleeping prevent you from achieving optimal bodily functioning. The best sleeping habit is to get just the right amount every night. Eight hours. 

Now I know that most of the readers on this site have a great relationship with their body. And you all respect and appreciate your body a lot. And if you do not, then you know that you should practice Loving Kindness Meditation, which will help you to love your body more.

So. You probably appreciate your body already.

But you might not be completely aware of the sheer amount of work it takes to keep your body functioning healthily.

While you’re running around doing the housework, making that pay check, and looking after the kids, your body is constantly working to maintain your health.

Because it’s working so hard, your body needs rest. There’s no other way about it.

Your body needs time to unwind, just like your mind does. And the best sleeping habit is to make sure you give your body the time it needs to restore itself.

 

 

Science has proven that your body needs 8 hours of sleep for you to function properly.

8 really is the magic number.

I’ve got so many friends who say, “I can get by on just a few hours.”

Sorry. But no, you can’t.

Frequently getting less than 8 hours sleep is bad for both your body and mind.

Under-sleeping will make you ill and will make you function less effectively. That’s simply irrefutable scientific fact.

The journal Sleep (which, you’d think, would know what’s it’s talking about) showed that people who get 6 hours of sleep every night function as badly as people who don’t sleep for two days. You can read about that research here.

 

 

Crazy thing is. People who get 6 hours sleep think they function fine. Even though science has proven that they are running themselves into the ground.

Truth is, those who demand themselves to get less than 6 hours sleep per night are in denial.

They believe that they need those extra 2 hours in order to get everything done.

That, again, is wrong.

A machine working at 100% efficiency for 12 hours will achieve more than a machine working at 70% efficiency for 14 hours.

Your maths is just wrong.

If you let yourself actually get the hours of sleep that you need, you will get more done the next day even though you have less time.

I first started using meditation for insomnia when I was 18. I’d just started learning computer science at university back home in England. I was a month into the course. Then one night my entire room shook thunderously. A bang reverberated around the room. It was a gunshot.

But it wasn’t a real gunshot. No. It was a groups of students playing a first person shooter in the room above me. They had the sound so loud it literally shook the entire room.

I’m a peace loving person with a very high level of compassion. So I tried to let it slide. For a month. While they played ever night. And I could not get to sleep. So I ended up speaking to security. He did nothing. Then I spoke to my professor. She did nothing. Then I went upstairs and demand that they turn the game down. But there were eight of them and one of me. And they refused. So I was stuck pretty screwed.

That was then. Today there are a lot more options for insomnia. Let’s take a look.

 

New sleep products for insomnia

Insomnia is on the rise, but so is the sleep industry. Now, there are powerful new products that help with insomnia. And more are on their way.

The sleep industry has truly started to take off over recent years. As reported on Entrepreneur.com, “From high-tech apps to reinvented beds, entrepreneurs and established companies are working to provide solutions and meet the desire for products and services that support better rest.”

While phones and computers are one of the main causes of sleep deprivation, they can also be a part of the solution. White noise apps like Sleep Pillow Sounds and Relax Melodies create relaxing sounds that help the mind to drift off. Other apps track your sleeping habits, like Sleep Cycle alarm clock and Sleepbot.

Wearable technology like the Fitbit can track your sleep time and vital signs and can help you to create a schedule which will be more conducive to sleep.

Of course one of the most important of sleep products is the beds themselves.  New bed technology is helping to improve night-time comfort, while temperature controllers help to create the right conditions for a healthy night’s sleep.

And finally there are the spas and clinics. Spas like YeloSpa and nap pods like Metronaps give you the opportunity to relax away from home.

For my money, though, meditation is the best thing.

 

Why Use Meditation For Insomnia?

Meditation can treat insomnia because it stops everything that causes insomnia. Well, everything except your diet. If your insomnia is caused by you eating too much sugar and drinking too much caffeine then that’s something different (just stop doing it).

But for almost all other causes of insomnia, meditation solves the problem. So regardless of the cause of your lack of sleep, you should definitely try to use meditation for insomnia.

The vast majority of insomnia cases are caused by noise. That could be mental noise from thinking too much or it could be the noise of the people above you playing Call of Duty at ten thousand decibels. But either way it’s generally caused by noise.

For me there were two types of noise that were causing my insomnia. The first was the obvious noise of the people above me. The other noise was the fact that I was angry at the people above and angry at myself for not being able to resolve the problem. And I knew that meditation would stop the mental noise and would let me tune out the environmental noise.

Noise is the number one cause of insomnia. As the following list proves.

The causes of insomnia:

  • Too much thinking
  • Dwelling on the past
  • Worrying about the future
  • Generalised stress and anxiety

There are other causes of insomnia like skin problems. In that case you can still use meditation for insomnia, it’s just a little different, as we’ll cover below.

 

 

 

Meditation Treats Insomnia By Cutting Out The Noise

Have you ever tried meditating? If you have then you will know that meditation cuts out both mental and environmental noise and lets you find inner peace (which is very helpful when it comes to getting to sleep).

Incidentally, is you have never tried meditating, you should try our beginners guide to meditation right now. Try it now so you can feel the difference meditation makes. Then come back here and continue reading so we can cure your insomnia.

Okay, so now you have tried meditation. And you can feel the different that meditation makes. It silences your mind. So all those thoughts that you have racing around your mind in bed, you know, the thoughts that stop you from getting to sleep, they won’t be there when you meditate.

So already it is very easy to see how meditating will help with insomnia. Using meditation for insomnia helps because it shuts out the noise.

But actually it goes a lot deeper than that. Because meditation also helps with a lot of the other causes of insomnia.

 

If You Have Insomnia Cause By Depression

Insomnia is often caused by depression. You lie in bed all night full of regret, or full of bad memories,  or just generally feeling depressed. And because you feel down you cannot get to sleep. So what are you going to do?

You can cure your depression with meditation. When you meditate you learn to objectively observe what is going on in your own mind. And this lets you take control of your emotions. So if you’ve been feeling like you are out of control of your emotions, meditate. I’ve created this guide to taking control of your emotions to help you out.

 

If You Have Insomnia Caused By Anxiety

Anxiety is very closely linked to depression, especially when you’re talking from a spiritual perspective. Anxiety and depression are all about a block of prana in your body. Or, to put it in layman’s terms, you’re flow isn’t working. You’re blocked. Could be your emotions that are blocked. Could be a chemical block. But something in you is blocked and it is stopping your mind from flowing naturally.

Blocked prana can lead to bother anxiety and depression (and a lot of other problems). But you can take control of the situation by using meditation.

When you meditate you increase prana flow in your body and you also balance your chakras. This helps to restore your natural flow, which will cure your anxiety and thereby cure your insomnia.

Insomnia From Other Causes

I mentioned above that meditation cures insomnia when the insomnia is caused by noise.

But meditation can also help with a lot of other conditions. In fact, there are over 100 health benefits of meditation, so there is a very good chance that you will cure both your insomnia and the underlying health problem by meditating.

For instance, meditation can be used to cure skin problems. Because meditation increases the circulation in your body it will increase the flow of oxygen and nutrition into areas that have skin problems. This will accelerate the healing of your problem, curing both the insomnia and the underlying cause of insomnia.

Another common cause of insomnia is from breathing problems. Maybe you suffer from asthma (as I did). In which case meditation will hep to improve respiratory function and to cure your asthma.

Scientists are very quickly learning that meditation heals many health problems. So if you have a health problem that is causing insomnia, you should definitely consider using meditation.

Infographic

 

Start by clearing your mind before bed

Want to soothe and clear your mind, so it’s light and easy like a hummingbird? Here’s 5 ways to do precisely that.

 

Do you lie in bed at night with thoughts racing through your mind? Do you struggle to find that calmness and relaxation necessary for you to drift off? If you’re busy or dealing with stress, your mind starts to overflow with thoughts. Then when you lie down your mind is on autopilot talking to itself and refusing to fall silent.

At times those thoughts that rush through your head are somewhat helpful. You remember friends you want to catch up with and things you want to do. But no thought is truly helpful when it’s 2am and you’ve got work the next day.

If thoughts are keep you up and you’re struggling to clear your mind and get to sleep, use these 5 simple ways to clear your mind before bed.

  1. Take note of your thoughts

One of the main reasons why the thoughts continue to flow through your mind is because you want to remember them. The easiest way to solve this problem is to write the thoughts down. Grab a piece of paper and scrawl them on there or, if you have a device, use a note taking app like Evernote.

  1. Visualise

Do you find that the moment you leap into bed your mind is suddenly overrun with thoughts? If so a simple visualisation can help to clear your mind. Imagine that you’re standing at the edge of a beautiful ocean with the sea breeze in your ear. Now, when thoughts come to your mind, imagine tossing them out of your mind and into the ocean, where they drift away.

  1. Meditate

Regular meditation is by far the best way to clear your mind. Plus, meditation has even been proven to be a perfect alternative to sleep. By meditating daily you’ll clear your mind before you even get into bed. Then when the time comes you’ll find it oh so much easier to drift off to sleep.

  1. Make a deal with your thoughts

Those ideas and thoughts are going to keep swimming around your mind until you do something with them. One of the best things to do is to make a deal. Promise yourself that you will pick up the thoughts another time. Tell yourself, “I’m going to stop thinking now, but I’ll get back to it in the morning.” This trick works because it reassures your mind that the thoughts will be taken care of.

  1. Have an “intense thinking workout” before bed

When you exercise your body gets tired and you’re less restless at the end of it. Same deal with your mind. If you spend an hour doing an “intense thinking workout” before bed, your mind will be tired and no longer restless. An Intense Thinking Workout (do you like the name of it btw? I just coined it)… an intense thinking workout is when you intentionally force yourself to think about all the things that are in your mind. Try having a one hour ITW before bed. You’ll find it does the trick.

 

 

 

 

Then lie down mindfully

Who doesn’t love lying down in bed? Hitting the sack. Forgetting everything. Mellowing out.

You’ve got to love a good lie down. But are you lying down the right way?

You see, there is a way to lie down in bed properly. And there’s a way to lie down improperly.

Let’s discuss those two things.

Lying down in bed the wrong way is like this. You feel like relaxing so you take yourself off to your room, away from the kids, away from the dog / cat, away from everything. You lie down. But in your mind you’re still thinking about the kids, the mortgage, work… it’s like you carried all those things into the bedroom with you. They’re stuck on your mind the same way a bunch of cockleburs get stuck on your clothing. And you don’t know how to stop thinking. (If that’s you, read this guide to stop thinking, it’ll do you wonders).

 

That’s the wrong way to lie down. That’s the mindless way.

But how about the mindful way to lie down in bed?

The mindful way of lying down in bed is like this. You feel like relaxing so you take yourself off to your room, away from the kids, away from the dog / cat, away from work, away from everything. You lie down. And in your mind you are doing absolutely nothing except lying down.

The kids, the housework, your job… they’re gone. It’s just you and your bed, your lovely, lovely bed. You’re lying down in bed in body. And you’re lying down in bed in mind too. That’s the difference. Your mind is lying down too.

That’s complete lying down. That’s your body and your mind lying down and relaxing at the same time. That’s tranquility. That’s true relaxation.

Because when you need to lie down, it’s not just your body that needs to lie down. Sure, after the vacuuming, the cooking, your work, looking after the kids and everything else, you are physically tired. But you’re mentally tired too.

That’s why you need to relax both your body and your mind. That’s why when your body does nothing but lie down on the bed, your mind should do nothing but lie down on the bed too.

 

 

Now. Obviously lying down mindfully is relaxing. But it is also very goo for your health.

The Health Benefits Of Lying Down The Right Way Include:

Improved circulation

Better posture

Less chance of injury (for instance, waking up with a sore back in the morning)

Helps when you have asthma or another breathing problem

Creates  deeper state of relaxation (which is good for mental health)

Make you feel great when you wake up in the morning.

 

If you want to lie don in the healthiest way, you have to lie down in both body and mind

You’ve got to let your mind lie down on the bed with you too. You’ve got to let go of all those thoughts, all those responsibilities, all those worries. You’ve got to let them go so your mind can lie down and relax too.

But… It’s not always that easy.

Sometimes your mind resembles the tumble dryer. It goes round and round and round. It doesn’t stop.

How do you make your mind stop when you’re in bed? How do you lie down and just lie down?

Mindfulness.

That one little word (that one beautiful little word) is the solution. When you mindfully lie down in bed you switch everything off and just lie down.

 

 

 

Here’s what I recommend you do next time you lie down in bed.

Firstly, clear out the distractions. Whatever you can do to get rid of the distractions, do it. Send that last email. Do the dishes. You know the drill. Get it done. It will be worth it.

Next up, jump in bed, close the bedroom door, create a silent atmosphere. And if you can’t have silence because of the kids or the TV in the background, just put some relaxing music on. I’ve already put together some relaxing meditation music for you to help you out.

Take a few moments to stretch and relax. I like to do some basic yoga or tai-chi before bed to relax my body. You probably already know this but a relaxed body does help to create a relaxed mind. But if you’re pushed for time just make sure to get nice and comfy in the bed.

Take five or ten minutes just to focus on your breathing. Just relax. Breathe. You might find it helpful to practice stillness breathing meditation for this. It’s a really easy breathing meditation that will help you unwind.

Now, once your mind feels calm and still, bring your focus to your body. Just tune in to your body and focus your mind on your entire physical being. Body scan meditation is good for this. Essentially, you want to feel as though your mind and body are one. It’s as though your mind is balancing on your body, while your body is completely relaxed on the bed.

Finally, imagine stepping back in your mind. Your focusing on you, but you take a little step back. You want your mind to be focussing on your entire body as it lies down on the bed.

Hold that.

Your mind is focussing on your body and your body is completely relaxed on the bed.

Hold that.

That’s lying down.

That is how you lie down in bed the mindful way.

 

Now meditate in bed

Meditation for sleep #1: Mindfulness–It quickly silences your thoughts so you can drift off

One of the main causes of insomnia is the inability to let go of thoughts in order to let your mind switch off. And one of the main benefits of meditation is that it helps you to let go of those thoughts.

All those time when you’re lying in bed with your mind running a mile of minute. You know, those times you want to slam your head into the wall. The times when it feels like just going to sleep would be a miracle. At those times, mindfulness will be your new best friend. You can check out our completely free guide to mindfulness meditation here.

To give a brief introduction. To use mindfulness for sleep, first get into bed, give yourself a few minutes to begin to relax, then focus on your breath. While focusing on your breath, allow thoughts and feelings to be released.

Mindfulness is the very best type of meditation for sleep.

 

Meditation for sleep #2: Abdominal breathing for complete relaxation

You know what’s better than Breathe Right Strips for breathing properly at night? Meditating on your breath, that’s what.

Shallow breathing promotes stress where deep and proper breathing promotes inner calm and relaxation.

One of the best ways to get to sleep is to make sure you are breathing correctly at all times. When you have ten minutes, focus your attention on your breath and imagine air entering deep into your lungs and filling your entire body. This will make you breathe better, promoting better general health and helping to cure insomnia.

 

This diagram shows how to breath from the abdominals

When you practice meditation for sleep you must breathe correctly. When meditating in bed you want your breathing to be deep and slow to help you relax.

 

Meditation for sleep #3: Yoga

Yoga is one of the best ways for relaxing both your body and mind.

You don’t need to be a yogi, either. In fact, you don’t really need to know much about yoga at all. All that matters is that a short while before bed you spend so time doing some very basic relaxing yoga moves while focusing on your breath. This will connect mind and body and calm both for complete relaxation that is perfect just before bed.

If you would like to learn more about using yoga for sleep, I highly recommend the work of Dr. Rubin Naiman. Dr. Naiman is a sleep specialist and a true luminary. His work on yoga for sleep is a true eye opener and offers genuine relief for insomniacs.

I recommend The Yoga of Sleep: Sacred and Scientific Practices to Heal Sleeplessness. It is a remarkable work that transforms the way we sleep. It offers genuine relief for insomniacs.

Meditation for sleep #4: Guided Meditation for Sleep

Listening to music or listening to a guide meditation will help with sleep.

A guided meditation is designed to take you on an imaginary relaxing journey.

A guided meditation will help you get to sleep by taking you on a relaxing journey. Many people enjoy settings based on the sea. If you are one of them, then when you get into bed imagine the sights, sounds and feelings associated with a relaxing beach. Allow yourself to feel the warm air, the sand, to hear the wave, to be there.

Pick somewhere that feels safe and relaxing for you. What is relaxing for one person might be horrid to another, so make sure to pick your own scene.

If you would like to use a recorded guided meditation, I highly recommend Jason Stephenson’s Guided Sleep Meditation. Jason has a very relaxing voice and is a truly talented guide.

Alternatively, you may enjoy our free guided meditation for relaxation.

 

Meditation For Sleep #5: Music

What’s the most relaxing piece of music you’ve ever listened to? And please don’t come at me with something like, “Metallica: Nothing Else Matters”. I mean a really deep relaxing piece of music that makes you mellow out in seconds. I mean like Barber’s Adagio For Stringer. Now that is heavenly.

Relaxing music can help you get to sleep. Not only can you put some music on when your girlfriend (or boyfriend) is lying next to you snoring, but you can also use music to get into that Zen-sational chill-out zone that you want to be in before you hit the sack.

So what music should you listen to? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe just take a look at my collection of the most beautiful meditation music in the world. It’s… divine.

 

Meditation For Sleep #6: Unicorn Meditation

 

Follow this meditation to get to sleep. I’ve called it Unicorn meditation. Why? Because unnicorns, that’s why. 

By the way. This isn’t a meditation technique I just invented. It’s an ancient practice that incorporates mindfulness, body scan meditation, and visualisation. It truly is a miracle for anyone who’s been struggling to sleep.

So, here’s how to do the technique.

First, get comfortable. Whether you choose to sit up or lie down is entirely up to you, so long as you’re comfortable. Check your spine is in proper alignment too. you don’t want to wake up with a sore back.

How to do Unicorn Dream Sleep Meditation– Step 2

This step is optional, however I personally find it useful. In this step we will perform a body scan to release physical tension. To do this, slowly guide your attention from the crown of your head down to your feet, paying particular attention to the way your body is feeling. If you feel tense in any part of your body, imagine breathing fresh air directly into that spot. This will help your body to relax.

Full instructions on body scan meditation are HERE.

How to do Unicorn Dream Sleep Meditation– Step  3

Having relaxed your body it’s now time to relax your mind. To do so, simply focus on the sensation of your breath coming and going through your nose. Don’t control your breath simply observe it. If your attention is distracted by thoughts, don’t worry, simply acknowledge the thought and return your focus to your breath.

How to do Unicorn Dream Sleep Meditation– Step 4

Because you are meditating when tired you will experience occasional imaginings (just as you  do when you begin to go to sleep). If you’ve been struggling to sleep it can be tempting to grip onto these imaginings and hope you’ll drift off. Don’t do this. Continue focusing on your breath. After a few minutes your mind will be so relaxed that you will naturally go to sleep.

 

So there you are. Relaxed. Feeling tranquil. At peace. And ready to drift off to sleep.

And if you still cannot sleep, it might just be that you need to find your purpose.

Scientific research has proven that finding your purpose helps you sleep. Take a look at that article. I had no clue about it!

SOURCES

*1 http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726

* https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609072719.htm

 

 

 

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