A lot of us fight the urge to grab a 20-minute power nap in the middle of the day, even after an 8-hour sleep. This means that the nighttime rest we had cannot be termed as ‘quality sleep’. This temptation of rolling onto the bed for an extra ten minutes here and thirty minutes there degrades a human’s bodily efficiency.
Guided sleep meditation helps improve this scenario. In fact, research has shown that meditation can help cure one of insomnia – which is a huge claim indeed. Good old sleep meditation – one of the best mind-body medicine interventions – can be an answer to all kinds of sleep disturbances that may have gone untreated by formal medical science.
3 Benefits of Sleep Meditation
1) Improves sleep quality
Be it recurring nightmares or a lack of continuous sleep, sleep meditation can solve your problems and help you drift off to sleep.
It is a struggle for many to enter a deep sleep at night. This results in a sore morning mind, reckless, unpredictable behavior, and a very irritable nature in the following days. Sleep meditation aids in countering that by letting your brain ease into a calm, restful sleep. Sometimes disturbing dreams may prevent you from sleeping peacefully. Ten minutes of sleep meditation can take care of this aspect as well.
2) Helps Relieve stress
While stress is inevitable, long-term stress is unhealthy and can even be fatal. Sleep meditation helps reduce stress and precedent side effects.
We often stress out when we are pushed out of our comfort zones – be it impossible-to-achieve deadlines or overwhelming marital and parental duties. While the usual hardships of life are impossible to escape, constant stress can diminish your work efficiency. In fact, it can even lead to a number of problems such as irregular menstrual cycles and insomnia. This is where sleep meditation can help you manage your life in a stress-free manner.
3) Boosts your physical health
A few of the many benefits meditation has on our body are a stronger immune system, regular blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels and less frequent headaches.
While sleep meditation is a great vacation for your mind, it can do wonders for your body as well. An interesting theory states that aging is due to the change in our sleep schedule. As we grow older, the pressure of work takes over other priorities in life and we start to sleep less.
However, if those short hours of sleep can be structured to be more fruitful and complete, you can successfully slow down your graying hair and those imminent wrinkles. With signs of aging being reduced externally, a change is bound to happen internally – the result of which is seen in a stronger immune system and more controlled blood pressure and heartbeat rates.
But this is just the beginning. Remember how people keep saying will power is the strongest arm against cancer? Well, sleep meditation is the second best! It is comprehensive wellness designed to encourage mindfulness, enhanced productivity as well as a harmony between the body and mind.
While sleep meditation is great for health and has numerous aforementioned benefits, one can only harness them if they meditate daily consistently.
How to Practice Sleep Meditation?
Sleep meditation can help boost your efficiency by 100 times. Before we dive deep into the details of a day to day sleep meditation routine, let’s have a look at the basic elements of sleep meditation:
This is the first and most important element of sleep meditation. Finding an anchor is important as it helps you stay focused and track your wandering mind. While your breath (the feeling of breathing in and out) is the most common anchor, there are a few others that work just fine. For instance “Om”, a short prayer popular in India and the Asian subcontinent, works great because of the monotonous, humming sound. While some like to listen to sleep stories instead, it all boils down to what you are comfortable with.
Deep breathing exercises are simple relaxation techniques, but the hope they harbor is that the person practicing them can ensure their body is under their control and they know what is going on with it. It is very important to forget one’s surroundings when sleep meditating while also being fully aware of the rhythms of one’s own body.
If you’ve successfully found an anchor and have also mastered the activities to hone body awareness, this step would follow suite. Sensory awareness refers to the brain’s curiosity getting the better of it and the brain exploring everything around through your sense organs. The sound of water rippling in the nearby river, the feel of the cold wind on your bare skin, the movements of birds, etcetera are examples of the same.
Now that we understand the basics of such mindfulness meditation, let us get down to exploring how one can practice guided sleep meditation. This involves two simple steps.
Guided Sleep Meditation Steps
Choose a focus. This can be anything, from a simple ‘Om’ to a sleep story. You can browse YouTube for calming sleep meditation music like these:
https://youtu.be/WmvGGd6emwQ or take to guided sleep meditation practices such as Yoga Nidra which can lead to deep bursts of brainwave activity.
You can also download apps with sleep stories developed for this specific purpose. Once you do so, focus on your anchor. Also, it is important to hold onto your anchor and not change it in the middle of the week. Consistency is key.
Relax and unwind. In the beginning, you might get worried about whether you are doing it right. But it is important to be patient with yourself and understand that this is your time and no one should ruin it – not even your own self-doubts. If you feel your brain is wandering off somewhere else, just breathe and bring it back to your anchor – be it your story, music, or whatever you chose in the previous step.
Sleep meditation may sound like new-age science but it has actually been around for thousands of years. In modern times, it is quite similar to tai chi routines. While some may find it difficult to implement it for even ten minutes a day at the start, it is not impossible to include sleep mediation in your daily life, if you love your mind and body enough.
Consider sleep meditation to be a favor you can do to your mind, body, and soul. Start today, if you haven’t.
A lawyer-turned-freelance writer with an impassioned zeal for writing, Shravani writes on all things law while deftly handling diverse non-legal niches as well - from technology, business and entrepreneurship to entertainment, health and nutrition, mindfulness, productivity and more. Content writer and Editor by the day. Dreamer and idea juggler by the night. Foodie, movie buff, bookworm, Chai-holic - not necessarily in that order.