Meditation for Better Sleep
It’s 1:56am and you can’t seem to fall asleep. The more you try, the more you can’t. You keep checking the clock over and over again thinking about how tired you’re going to be tomorrow. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. Insomnia and sleep problems are common.
Meditation is often suggested to help with sleep issues simply because it works. Stanford Medical Center did a study that showed that meditation could help insomniacs fall asleep twice as quickly.
Today’s practice is a deep relaxation meditation that will help you fall asleep faster, and you’ll get better sleep.
The Practice: Deep Relaxation Body Scan
Start by lying down in a comfortable position facing upwards. Your arms can be down by your sides or you can let your hands rest on your stomach.
Breathe naturally and let your attention rest on your breath. Then you’re going to slowly do a body scan starting at your head.
Bring your attention to the top of your head and slowly shift your attention down to your forehead and then your ears and then the back of your head. Notice any sensations or feelings. Take a moment to embrace them and then simply let them go.
Now gently shift your attention to your face. Your eyes, nose, cheeks, lips, chin. Again, if you notice any sensations or emotions, take a moment to experience them. If there’s tension, simply let that tension go and relax. You can sync it with your breath so when you’re breathing out, let the tension leave with your out-breath. With each out-breath, you relax a bit more.
Shift your attention down your neck and onto your shoulders. This area is usually the tensest, so it needs a bit more TLC. Notice any tension or sensations. Acknowledge it and let it go.
Move your attention down your back from your upper back, slowing down your spine to your lower back. The back also stores a lot of our tension, so give it the love it deserves.
Bring your attention back up to your chest. Pay attention to your lungs expanding each time you breathe in and collapsing each time you breathe out. Pay attention to your heart and see if you can hear it beat. Your heart never rests and keeps you alive. Give it some love.
Allow your attention to move down to your stomach and notice your stomach rise and fall with your breathing. Stay with this smooth flow of breathing for a few minutes. Allow each in-breath to get deeper and each out-breath to be longer. Release any tension with your out-breath.
Continue this body scan and move your attention down the rest of your lower body.
By now you should be in a total relaxed state, ready to fall asleep. Or you’ve just bored yourself to sleep. Either way, you’re asleep! If you’re not, then you can continue this body scan going back upwards from your toes to the top of your head. Keep repeating this meditation until your body is relaxed to the point of sleep.
You already know it! Practice this total relaxation body scan tonight and see how it improves your sleep.
Some other sleep hacks to help you get better sleep:
• Reduce caffeine intake by two in the afternoon. Caffeine takes an average of 8 hours to fully leave your system.
• Reduce the amount of blue light exposure to your eyes. That means cutting back on the use of electronic devices that emit blue lights. If you can’t cut it out completely, you can use apps that reduce blue light emissions like f.lux or get blue light reduction glasses.
• Keep electronics that transmit signals out of your bedroom. Your bedroom should be used for only two things: sleep and sex. Oh, and meditation, of course!
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