Sleep is an incredibly important part of life. When you’re able to get a good night’s sleep, you feel refreshed during the day and can meet your responsibilities with ease. However, if you spend your nights tossing and turning, you’ll likely go through your day in a haze. More than that, you’ve got to make sure you’re getting restful sleep, not just closing your eyes.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t take time to establish a healthy bedtime routine.
Thousands of people across the world use guided meditation to help them get to sleep at night. Read on to see why guided meditations help stabilize your sleep cycle, and check out a selection of meditation practices you can use to get better sleep every night.
HOW MEDITATIONS FOR SLEEP HELP
Mindfulness meditations are one of the best ways to fight insomnia and other sleep-related issues. This type of meditation has been proven to combat depression, fatigue and insomnia by promoting a relaxation response.
Practicing mindfulness meditation is simple. Many people think meditation involves clearing your mind of all thought. On the contrary, practicing mindfulness is quite the opposite.
Most mindfulness practices involve becoming aware of your breath and paying attention to the physical sensations of your body. The breathing exercises involved with meditations activate the relaxation response, negating the stressful “fight or flight” response that anxiety triggers. Focusing on your physical body brings you to the present moment and away from worries about the past or stresses about the future.
Mindfulness meditations are a great way to improve several aspects of your sleep. Excessive worry about trying to get to sleep or about your responsibilities during the day can create an abundance of beta brain waves, which are responsible for keeping you alert.
Being mindful helps decrease excess mental activity and brings your thoughts to what’s happening right now, preventing you from worrying about the stresses from earlier in the day. It also has a great track record in reducing symptoms of depression, fatigue, and insomnia – 95 percent of those who meditate regularly experienced relief from these symptoms.
Meditation is also a great way to boost melatonin, one of the hormones responsible for regulating sleep and wakefulness. One study found that those who practiced meditation regularly had a 98 percent increase in melatonin, which helped them get a better night’s sleep.
Guided sleep meditations are great for those who have little to no experience with meditation, or who have a hard time calming down without guidance. If you’re prone to anxiety or just have a million items on your to-do list, it can be difficult to reach a state of meditation on your own.
Sites like YouTube and Soundcloud have thousands of sleep meditation videos and tracks to help you sleep, ranging from short five-minute audio clips to eight-hour tracks to listen to while you rest.
Here’s a selection of different types of meditations you can use to help you fall into a deep sleep.
“GUIDED MEDITATION FOR SLEEP…FLOATING AMONGST THE STARS” WITH JASON STEPHENSON
Chances are good that you’ve heard of Jason Stephenson if you’ve looked online for guided meditations. With several million views per video and more than 650,000 YouTube subscribers, Stephenson has a large following in the meditation space.
This 62-minute video starts by encouraging you to relax before going into the meditation. Stephenson invokes mindfulness by encouraging the listener to focus on the space their body takes up and encourages them to let go of worries. He paints a picture of the dark night sky and describes what it would be like to float among the stars. After the first 10 minutes, the rest of the hour-long video is full of calming music.
“SLEEP HYPNOSIS RELEASE NEGATIVITY WITH DEEP MIND CHANGE” WITH MICHAEL SEALEY
Depending on your definition of meditation, hypnosis could be the same thing. The main difference between them is that hypnosis tends to have an end goal in mind. Whether you want to let go of anxiety, lose some weight or gain confidence, hypnosis tends to be targeted towards helping you reach a specific objective.
Hypnosis works by getting you into a state of trance. In this state of trance, your conscious mind takes a back seat, allowing direct communication with your subconscious. Being under a state of hypnosis is usually characterized by extreme suggestibility, heightened imagination and relaxation.
This 48-minute self-hypnosis video focuses on helping you create positive personal change through overcoming negative behaviors or habits. It does so by helping you replace those behaviors with positive actions, emotions, responses and thoughts which are thought to open the path to being a happier person.
“GUIDED MEDITATION FOR SLEEP AND ANXIETY”
If you are a naturally anxious person, chances are that you have a hard time sleeping at night. With anxiety, your mind wanders to earlier thoughts of the day, causing you to be so preoccupied with things that have happened, or that might happen, that you aren’t able to sleep.
This 45-minute video was created specifically to address the anxiety that might be preventing you from falling asleep. It uses calming sounds like an open fire or rain on your window in the background to help produce an environment of relaxation. Anxiety creates a lot of energy that activates your brain and makes it difficult to let go of your racing thoughts.
The video encourages the listener to visualize as vividly as possible all of the details in the audio. It explains that visualizing these details will make it easier for your subconscious mind to relax and come back to a more rational way of thinking, instead of getting caught up in the irrational fears of anxiety.
“GUIDED SLEEP MEDITATION BY DEEPAK CHOPRA”
Deepak Chopra is another prominent name in mindfulness and meditation. Chopra is considered an expert in the alternative medicine field as a whole. He has written a large number of books and founded The Chopra Center to help people find their own health and happiness.
Chopra’s large volume of work centers on mindfulness as the first step to addressing any health issue you might be facing. His 80-plus books cover topics such as losing weight, finding love, overcoming addiction and spiritual connections.
This four-minute video encourages you to reimagine your sleep space and remove any obstacles preventing you from sleeping. Chopra states that the biggest cause of insomnia is worrying about not being able to sleep. By reclaiming your mind and allowing yourself to slip into a peaceful and relaxing state, you’ll be able to rest easy and wake up refreshed.
“RELAXING SLEEP MUSIC”
People who listen to 45 minutes of calming music before sleeping see an incredible improvement in sleep quality. They tend to fall asleep quickly, stay asleep for longer periods of time and feel more rested when they wake up. Those who listen to music before sleeping also have longer periods of REM sleep, which is the crucial part of sleeping when your mind stores memories and processes the events of the day.
Sleep music is created specifically with the intention of helping people fall asleep. There are hundreds of videos online that mix together relaxing sounds with a calming background track to promote relaxation and help you fall asleep faster.
This three-hour video uses relaxing sounds, trance backgrounds and sounds of nature to help people release stress and have a better night’s rest.
“BINAURAL SLEEP MEDITATION MUSIC FOR POSITIVE ENERGY”
Binaural beats have been around for nearly 200 years. They were discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove when he put a subject in a room and placed two tuning forks vibrating at different frequencies at each of their ears. The brain then makes up the difference and hears it as a combined sound, or a binaural beat.
Different frequencies invoke different brain waves, which correspond to various feelings and states of being. Some frequencies invoke alpha brain waves, which are responsible for making you feel more alert and attentive, while others invoke theta brain waves, which are responsible for lucid dreaming.
This nine-hour video stimulates the “Delta Wave frequency” by playing 1-4 Hz binaural beats. These beats help you fall asleep quickly and get the rest you need to calm your anxious mind.
SLEEP WELL TONIGHT
The next time you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t put up with tossing and turning all night. You deserve a restful sleep that will prepare you for a beautiful morning. Instead of reaching for sleeping pills, try a meditation for sleep. The more you practice meditation before bed, the less you should experience sleep problems.