Meditation for sleep

Insomnia affects nearly 10% of the adult population. You might be one of those people who have difficulty falling asleep or are waking up at night, which can completely ruin your rest as well as your physical and mental health. After a hectic day, finding sleep is not always easy. Some people think about the problems they have encountered, while others are already stressed about the following day. As the path to a deep and restful sleep can be very daunting, meditation can be a great way to help you get the rest you need.

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to fully recharge our batteries. This is good for our body, but also for our mind. Well-rested, we are better equipped to face the ups and downs of life and the fluctuations of our emotions. Studies show that meditation not only makes it easier to fall asleep but also allows us to enjoy a restful, deeper, and more serene night’s sleep.

Sleep meditation activates the reward center of your brain, whose neural pathways control positive emotions. When the reward center is activated, you feel more positive and happy. The pleasure hormones (dopamine, serotonin and endorphins) are triggered when you meditate, putting you in a good mood when you wake up. Meditation for sleep is also a safe alternative to addictive sleeping pills that can cause adverse effects. These drugs can even harm your sleep in the long run.

Practice meditation for sleep with Yogilab

pexels-anna-shvets-5012070 (1)-min

Identify Your Emotions, Feel Them And Let Them Go

It is difficult to sleep well when you have a web of overlapping fears and anxieties under your skin. The first step to freeing ourselves from them is to identify the emotions involved. This is what we do when we meditate. The idea is not to create an artificial vacuum but to observe without judging what is there. We often receive messages from people who are surprised by the effect of meditation, which allows them to get in touch with an emotional area that they had placed under the carpet without even realizing it.

The word emotion comes from the Latin word motio which means movement. Emotions don’t define us. If we can observe them, it is because the essence of what we are is the observer and not the object he is looking at. Our emotions never stop evolving. They move like clouds in the sky. Yet, instead of looking at them as messages, we judge them, we evaluate them, we give them grades and we are only happy when the sensation associated with the emotion is pleasant.

Looking at what is inside us at a given moment does not establish an identity card. An hour later, the attempt at self-portrait would be obsolete because the emotion would have already changed. Meditation helps us to become aware of what is there and then agree to release it.

Looking at what is inside us at a given moment does not establish an identity card. An hour later, the attempt at self-portrait would be obsolete because the emotion would have already changed. Meditation helps us to become aware of what is there and then agree to release it.

Breathwork Calms Your System

praciticing-the-breathing-2021-08-29-22-53-17-utc (1)-min

Even if you have never meditated or practiced yoga, there is an exercise that is accessible to everyone, regardless of your age or health. Unless you have a completely blocked nose, anyone can do it:

Sit on the edge of a chair with both feet on the floor or cross-legged on a cushion. Keep your spine straight. Place your right thumb on your right nostril to block it. The rest of the fingers of your right hand are stretched towards the sky. The left hand is on your left thigh if you are sitting in a chair or on your left knee if you are cross-legged. Breathe in as slowly as possible through your left nostril and breathe out for a long time through your left nostril. On the inhale vibrate mentally the sound saaaaaaat (sat: truth, authenticity), on the exhale the sound naaaaaam (nam: identity, essence).

I inhale sat, I exhale nam. We do not sing, we mentally pronounce the sound. This breathing allows us to connect to the lunar energy and to reaffirm that there is nothing to do to exist. Just breathe. Stay focused on the breath and the sound you are vibrating in silence. For two to three minutes at least. Five is better. In seven, you will sleep like a baby…

Manifest Your Intention Of Having a Good Night’s Sleep

By being subjected to difficult nights, we sometimes end up identifying with our sleep disorder. “I have insomnia” is a common statement. It would be more appropriate to say, “I have insomnia at the moment.”. Taking care of the words we use is essential to avoid falling into the trap of the limiting belief “I suffer therefore I am”. One is not born with insomnia. If the disorder has arrived, it also means that it can disappear. Changing the narrative. That little music that is constantly playing in the background has phenomenal power.

When we feel stuck in a loop of sleepless nights, we take a moment to choose. Do we choose to feed our disorder? Your answer may be yes. There is no judgment to be made about our choice. Symptoms always have hidden benefits. Maybe the lack of sleep allows you to experience something you need to achieve an awakening of consciousness? Maybe you need to experience insomnia at its peak to connect with a buried emotion that you don’t have access to yet?

Nevertheless, if we are really tired of not sleeping, we can make a solemn declaration to ourselves. Every night before going to bed, you can say a prayer. Write your own without using “I must”, “I must”, nor the future tense nor the conditional. Only the present tense and positive affirmations. Here’s an example: “Tonight, I choose to sleep peacefully. I know that I am safe, that I am loved and supported by my higher consciousness which is itself connected to the universal consciousness. The quality of my sleep does not depend on external circumstances. I have the power to allow myself the rest I desire. I have the power to access the infinite peace within me. I choose to feed my body the rest it needs.”

Before going to bed, you usually undress, shower, and brush your teeth. Incorporate sleeping meditation into your routine. Sit on a cushion, close your eyes and take a moment, with your spine straight, to breathe in and out with awareness. Observe your breath. Observe which part of your body you are breathing with. Observe any tension in your body. And observe your emotional state. You might find a guided meditation for sleep helpful, or you can just practice in silence with no disturbance. With time, you’ll even learn how to meditate in bed and fall asleep in no time.

Mantra

For this technique, you will have to use your persuasion skills. The method consists, once in bed, in mentally repeating to yourself a mantra, i.e. a short sentence which will self-hypnotize you in a way. This can be for example the sentence “I am relaxed”, or “I feel good”, or “my body is relaxed”. This method is a kind of deep sleep meditation, and also involves breathing, in the sense that you have to breathe in while repeating the first part of the sentence, and then breathe out while repeating the second part. For example, if you choose the mantra “I feel good” you will have to breathe in repeating “I feel” and then breathe out repeating “good” making the sound last during the whole time of breathing out.

Repeat until you fall asleep. This technique is famous among sleep meditations. It is very effective to find sleep quickly because it works by inhibiting your cognitive functions. You will not even notice that you are falling asleep.

The Body Scan

For this technique, you will have to use your persuasion skills. The method consists, once in bed, in mentally repeating to yourself a mantra, i.e. a short sentence which will self-hypnotize you in a way. This can be for example the sentence “I am relaxed”, or “I feel good”, or “my body is relaxed”. This method is a kind of deep sleep meditation, and also involves breathing, in the sense that you have to breathe in while repeating the first part of the sentence, and then breathe out while repeating the second part. For example, if you choose the mantra “I feel good” you will have to breathe in repeating “I feel” and then breathe out repeating “good” making the sound last during the whole time of breathing out.

Repeat until you fall asleep. This technique is famous among sleep meditations. It is very effective to find sleep quickly because it works by inhibiting your cognitive functions. You will not even notice that you are falling asleep.

What Are The Benefits Of The Body Scan?

pexels-cottonbro-4325478 (1)-min

A body scan is a perfect meditation before bed. More specifically, the body scan will allow us to:

  • Trade our thoughts for bodily sensations, by being more attuned to our body and less to our mind.
  • Make room in our brain for sleep, both physically and mentally, and indicate to our body that we are ready to fall asleep.
  • Free ourselves from our expectations about sleep and letting go of our control over it, because the more we try to control it, the more it gets away from us. Excessive expectations create a kind of focus, which produces the opposite effect of what we are looking for.
  • Create a kind of ritual, both mental and physical, that releases us from tension and soothes both our body and our mind.

How To Practice The Body Scan Technique?

Whether at bedtime or during nighttime meditation, lie on your back, arms slightly away from the body with palms up, and legs slightly apart, leaving the toes out. Keep your eyes closed, and remain perfectly still. Take 3 deep breaths, then turn your attention to your two feet. Without moving them, try to feel a sensation of weight, as if your feet were getting heavier and heavier to the point of sinking into your mattress. Then feel the same sensation in your ankles, calves, knees, thighs and both sides of your pelvis.

Then bring your attention to your two hands, and do the same thing, gradually moving up to your shoulders. Observe the sensation of weight in your lumbar region, then your shoulder blades, your cervicals and finally the back of your skull until you actually feel the weight of your brain being released in your skull… But chances are that you have already fallen asleep before you get there! This is the best meditation for insomniacs.

The Power Of Visualization

I am sure there is a landscape, imaginary or real, that you associate with a feeling of immense well-being. At night, while lying in bed, begin by consciously relaxing every fiber of your body, from your toes to the top of your head. If thoughts arise, resume your body scan where you left off and relax each area, taking care not to miss any. You are of course allowed to move during this visualization exercise, to loosen your fists, your jaws, to realign your pelvis with your back, to relax the muscles of your face as well as those of the neck. If the voluntary relaxation of the muscles of the physical body is not enough, wait until your body is relaxed and, with your eyes closed, imagine the landscape in which you feel so good.

Visualize the sounds, the colors, the temperature. Is it windy? Feel it brush against your skin, through your hair. Visualize the plants nearby, their scent, the feeling of the ground under your feet. Is it warm sand? Wet earth? Soft grass? Cool sea? Breathe in every detail as if you were there. The cells of your physical body have no eyes. They don’t know if your visualization is real or not, if you are in this landscape on a material or imaginary level. On the other hand, your feeling of well-being is completely palpable to them. It triggers a series of positive reactions in your body. Focus on this feeling. If you are not already asleep, let yourself be completely overwhelmed by this deep relaxation.

More on visualization in Vision: Master Your Inner World to Shape Your Outer World by David Hans-Barker, founder of Yogilab.

Try Meditation For Sleep!

A lot of the methods we mentioned are a beautiful way of fixing sleep disorders, but we must stress the power of one of them in particular: meditation for sleep. The idea is to develop a different vision of things, to detach yourself from your emotions, and not to let them take you for a ride. To be objective about a situation or a person who is causing you to worry or stress. By meditating in mindfulness, you no longer resist, you become a spectator of this inner conflict that you are experiencing, you do not make any judgment. Start slowly, 5 or 10 minutes of guided sleep meditation to become familiar with the practice. Then switch to quiet meditation, and observe your breathing, your sensations, and your thoughts.

Whether it’s a bedtime meditation or one that you do during the day, sit comfortably and breathe very slowly, inhaling and exhaling with awareness of the air coming in and out of your nose. Let the thoughts and the emotions come in. If one of them is more recurrent than the others, look at it, listen to it, feel it. Always come back to your breathing and put a smile on your lips. Be indulgent and patient with yourself because meditating is a very special appointment you make with yourself. Meditating takes time and practice, but you will soon realize that it is the greatest gift you can give yourself. If you want to give it a shot and haven’t tried meditation yet, now is the time to start.

Meditation for sleep

Becoming compassionate to ourselves requires that we be able to identify when we are struggling and when our mind begins to think in a self-critical way. This is when we should act intentionally and redirect our attention to empathic thoughts full of compassion. We use mindfulness-based attention redirection exercises to achieve this awareness and flexibility of attention. The exercises of focusing on a mundane task and meditation teach us to be aware of where our attention is at any given moment and how to gently redirect it to the current moment or ongoing task, and to recognize when our attention begins to “wander” and how to recapture it and bring it back to the here and now. These skills provide an important foundation necessary to build the capacity for self-compassion, but they also require daily practice. Without these practices, self-compassion strategies will not show their full potential.

Practice meditation for sleep with Yogilab

What is self compassion?

Self-compassion is an attitude of care and kindness directed toward one’s own person. Self-compassion includes being aware of our own pain and suffering and understanding that this is a difficult experience, but normal for any human being. Directing feelings of kindness and caring toward ourselves and focusing our energy and attention on how we can relieve this suffering are also essential elements of self-compassion. The opposite of self-compassion is self-criticism. This highly negative thinking style is often associated with difficult emotions. Those who are highly self-critical especially need to develop the ability to relate to themselves in an empathetic way. It is highly likely that we get stuck in a loop of self-criticism and then each problem we encounter activates a threat system and the subsequent responses. Then, by trying to deal with the problems through self-criticism, we keep the threat system in activation mode, which in turn causes us to continue to face the problem and emotional suffering.

Self-compassion can bring enormous benefits to our well-being and mental health. Self-compassion activates the self-soothing system, which in turn extinguishes the threat and drive systems. The threat and drive systems often remain over-stimulated for very long periods of time and may be responsible for the unpleasant emotions we experience (anxiety, anger, depression).

Breathwork to calm your system

Calm breathing is the key to slowing down the body and mind and the impulse that activates the parasympathetic nervous system. It helps us press the pause button and then the reset button. This technique may seem trivial, but it really has great power to help us switch from survival mode to a more peaceful state. The normal breathing rhythm is 10-14 per minute. When we are afraid and feel threatened, our breathing can accelerate significantly. Our recommended breathing rate is about 5 breaths per minute so that we slow down our actions and thoughts and relax. Slowing down includes both slowing down your breathing rate and changing the way you breathe. Apply the following steps so that you can activate your self-soothing system and prepare yourself for the strategies involving self-compassion.

  • Make sure you are sitting in a comfortable chair or lying on your bed
  • Take a deep breath lasting 4 seconds (preferably through your nose)
  • Hold the air for 2 seconds
  • Slowly let the air out – let the exhale last 6 seconds (preferably through the nose)
  • Take a short break before inhaling again
  • Repeat the cycle

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to fully recharge our batteries. This is good for our body, but also for our mind. Well-rested, we are better equipped to face the ups and downs of life and the fluctuations of our emotions. Studies show that meditation not only makes it easier to fall asleep but also allows us to enjoy a restful, deeper, and more serene night’s sleep. Sleep meditation activates the reward center of your brain, whose neural pathways control positive emotions. When the reward center is activated, you feel more positive and happy. The pleasure hormones (dopamine, serotonin and endorphins) are triggered when you meditate, putting you in a good mood when you wake up. Meditation for sleep is also a safe alternative to addictive sleeping pills that can cause adverse effects. These drugs can even harm your sleep in the long run.

Identify your emotions, feel them and let them go

It is difficult to sleep well when you have a web of overlapping fears and anxieties under your skin. The first step to freeing ourselves from them is to identify the emotions involved. This is what we do when we meditate. The idea is not to create an artificial vacuum but to observe without judging what is there. We often receive messages from people who are surprised by the effect of meditation, which allows them to get in touch with an emotional area that they had placed under the carpet without even realizing it.

The word emotion comes from the Latin word motio which means movement. Emotions don’t define us. If we can observe them, it is because the essence of what we are is the observer and not the object he is looking at. Our emotions never stop evolving. They move like clouds in the sky. Yet, instead of looking at them as messages, we judge them, we evaluate them, we give them grades and we are only happy when the sensation associated with the emotion is pleasant.

Looking at what is inside us at a given moment does not establish an identity card. An hour later, the attempt at self-portrait would be obsolete because the emotion would have already changed. Meditation helps us to become aware of what is there and then agree to release it.

Obviously, this requires regular work and we would be lying if we told you that we could free ourselves from our ad habits with a snap of our fingers. However, there is an exercise that can be very helpful for this, once you have identified the emotion at hand.

Before going to bed, you usually undress, shower, and brush your teeth. Incorporate sleeping meditation into your routine. Sit on a cushion, close your eyes and take a moment, with your spine straight, to breathe in and out with awareness. Observe your breath. Observe which part of your body you are breathing with. Observe any tension in your body. And observe your emotional state. You might find a guided meditation for sleep helpful, or you can just practice in silence with no disturbance. With time, you’ll even learn how to meditate in bed and fall asleep in no time.

Breathwork calms your system

Even if you have never meditated or practiced yoga, there is an exercise that is accessible to everyone, regardless of your age or health. Unless you have a completely blocked nose, anyone can do it: Sit on the edge of a chair with both feet on the floor or cross-legged on a cushion. Keep your spine straight. Place your right thumb on your right nostril to block it. The rest of the fingers of your right hand are stretched towards the sky. The left hand is on your left thigh if you are sitting in a chair or on your left knee if you are cross-legged. Breathe in as slowly as possible through your left nostril and breathe out for a long time through your left nostril. On the inhale vibrate mentally the sound saaaaaaat (sat: truth, authenticity), on the exhale the sound naaaaaam (nam: identity, essence).

I inhale sat, I exhale nam. We do not sing, we mentally pronounce the sound. This breathing allows us to connect to the lunar energy and to reaffirm that there is nothing to do to exist. Just breathe. Stay focused on the breath and the sound you are vibrating in silence. For two to three minutes at least. Five is better. In seven, you will sleep like a baby…

Manifest your intention of having a good night’s sleep

By being subjected to difficult nights, we sometimes end up identifying with our sleep disorder. “I have insomnia” is a common statement. It would be more appropriate to say, “I have insomnia at the moment.”. Taking care of the words we use is essential to avoid falling into the trap of the limiting belief “I suffer therefore I am”. One is not born with insomnia. If the disorder has arrived, it also means that it can disappear. Changing the narrative. That little music that is constantly playing in the background has phenomenal power.

When we feel stuck in a loop of sleepless nights, we take a moment to choose. Do we choose to feed our disorder? Your answer may be yes. There is no judgment to be made about our choice. Symptoms always have hidden benefits. Maybe the lack of sleep allows you to experience something you need to achieve an awakening of consciousness? Maybe you need to experience insomnia at its peak to connect with a buried emotion that you don’t have access to yet?

Nevertheless, if we are really tired of not sleeping, we can make a solemn declaration to ourselves. Every night before going to bed, you can say a prayer. Write your own without using “I must”, “I must”, nor the future tense nor the conditional. Only the present tense and positive affirmations. Here’s an example:

“Tonight, I choose to sleep peacefully. I know that I am safe, that I am loved and supported by my higher consciousness which is itself connected to the universal consciousness. The quality of my sleep does not depend on external circumstances. I have the power to allow myself the rest I desire. I have the power to access the infinite peace within me. I choose to feed my body the rest it needs.”

Mantra

For this technique, you will have to use your persuasion skills. The method consists, once in bed, in mentally repeating to yourself a mantra, i.e. a short sentence which will self-hypnotize you in a way. This can be for example the sentence “I am relaxed”, or “I feel good”, or “my body is relaxed”. This method is a kind of deep sleep meditation, and also involves breathing, in the sense that you have to breathe in while repeating the first part of the sentence, and then breathe out while repeating the second part. For example, if you choose the mantra “I feel good” you will have to breathe in repeating “I feel” and then breathe out repeating “good” making the sound last during the whole time of breathing out.

Repeat until you fall asleep. This technique is famous among sleep meditations. It is very effective to find sleep quickly because it works by inhibiting your cognitive functions. You will not even notice that you are falling asleep.

The Body Scan

What we call a Body Scan is really just the awareness, part by part, of one’s own physical body. This is the moment that initiates all meditation sessions, regardless of the style of meditation practiced. It is a central exercise because it allows the practitioner to extract himself from his thoughts and the tumult of the outside world by bringing him back to his own body and listening to his sensations. Just like the awareness of the breath, the Body Scan allows almost instantly to come back to something essential for those who seek to calm down and cultivate inner peace: the present moment. The Here and Now.

And practitioners of mindfulness meditation know this well, as they have already experienced it: to enter immediately into the quiet acceptance of one’s thoughts is useless if there has not been this first step of connecting to the body. All that one will gain by meditating without having prepared oneself by the body scan, is probably a strong feeling of agitation because one will experience the session only very superficially.

Why is this? Simply because the physical body will not have been able to let go, and will always be in a form of resistance. Doesn’t this remind you of anything? After all, isn’t it the same resistance that prevents you from falling asleep peacefully?

praciticing-the-breathing-2021-08-29-22-53-17-utc (1)-min

What are the benefits of the body scan?

A body scan is a perfect meditation before bed. More specifically, the body scan will allow us to:

  • Trade our thoughts for bodily sensations, by being more attuned to our body and less to our mind.
  • Make room in our brain for sleep, both physically and mentally, and indicate to our body that we are ready to fall asleep.
  • Free ourselves from our expectations about sleep and letting go of our control over it, because the more we try to control it, the more it gets away from us. Excessive expectations create a kind of focus, which produces the opposite effect of what we are looking for.
  • Create a kind of ritual, both mental and physical, that releases us from tension and soothes both our body and our mind.

How to practice the body scan technique?

Whether at bedtime or during nighttime meditation, lie on your back, arms slightly away from the body with palms up, and legs slightly apart, leaving the toes out. Keep your eyes closed, and remain perfectly still. Take 3 deep breaths, then turn your attention to your two feet. Without moving them, try to feel a sensation of weight, as if your feet were getting heavier and heavier to the point of sinking into your mattress. Then feel the same sensation in your ankles, calves, knees, thighs and both sides of your pelvis.

Then bring your attention to your two hands, and do the same thing, gradually moving up to your shoulders. Observe the sensation of weight in your lumbar region, then your shoulder blades, your cervicals and finally the back of your skull until you actually feel the weight of your brain being released in your skull… But chances are that you have already fallen asleep before you get there! This is the best meditation for insomniacs.

The power of visualization

I am sure there is a landscape, imaginary or real, that you associate with a feeling of immense well-being. At night, while lying in bed, begin by consciously relaxing every fiber of your body, from your toes to the top of your head. If thoughts arise, resume your body scan where you left off and relax each area, taking care not to miss any. You are of course allowed to move during this visualization exercise, to loosen your fists, your jaws, to realign your pelvis with your back, to relax the muscles of your face as well as those of the neck. If the voluntary relaxation of the muscles of the physical body is not enough, wait until your body is relaxed and, with your eyes closed, imagine the landscape in which you feel so good.

Visualize the sounds, the colors, the temperature. Is it windy? Feel it brush against your skin, through your hair. Visualize the plants nearby, their scent, the feeling of the ground under your feet. Is it warm sand? Wet earth? Soft grass? Cool sea? Breathe in every detail as if you were there.

The cells of your physical body have no eyes. They don’t know if your visualization is real or not, if you are in this landscape on a material or imaginary level. On the other hand, your feeling of well-being is completely palpable to them. It triggers a series of positive reactions in your body. Focus on this feeling. If you are not already asleep, let yourself be completely overwhelmed by this deep relaxation. More on visualization in Vision: Master Your Inner World to Shape Your Outer World by David Hans-Barker, founder of Yogilab.

pexels-cottonbro-4325478 (1)-min

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