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Haven’t you ever wondered why every thought comes crashing down when you’re trying to sleep? You know the drill—almost half of us have been troubled by our mind shifting to overdrive as soon as our head meets the pillow. Experts opine that the mind’s tendency to get tampered with in thoughts is the strongest during the night, especially during bedtime when everything takes a backstage and you’re alone with your thoughts.
Despite sleep being a crucial proponent to our wellbeing, the want or lack of it is not dealt with gravely by us. Reports state that an average adult requires over 7-9 hours of sleep a day. However, the studies that have been carried out in this field have pointed to the obvious; a majority of the population lacks sleep or have trouble falling asleep. There may be several reasons for the same- ranging from biological forces to lifestyle choices.
It is a known fact that your quality of sleep weighs more than the hours of sleep you manage to squeeze into your schedule. That is probably where the significance of sleep meditation comes to play. Meditation is believed to give you truly restful conditions required for winding off and drifting to a sound sleep.
Meditation before sleep will train us to be more conscious of the present moment and focus less on the other details. These detailed, guided exercises listed below are certain to help out in igniting a natural sleep aid.
Guided Sleep Meditation Exercises
In one way or the other, we’re all constantly racing against time. To-do lists, deadlines, reservations, and anxieties have a bizarre way of showing up when it’s time for sleep. Fortunately, these holistic remedies aid in counteracting your misgiving thoughts.
1. Breathing Exercises
Tweaking up your breaths is believed to have curative effects. Breath work experts recommend taking long, deep nasal breaths. Make sure your breathing is slower for better relaxation. Follow this with three or two counts while breathing out of your nose.
You can even try the 2:1:4:1 breath ratio. This includes taking in your breath for a count of two. Holding it for a count of one. Follow this up by exhaling softly in the count of four. To be finished by holding the breath for a count of one. While performing this breathing exercise, feel free to switch it up according to your needs. The key is to listen to your body; understand what feels best for you. There is no need to push yourself. Always bear in mind that you ought to do what makes you comfortable; do not shy away from experimenting with various combinations until you figure out what works best for you.
2. Body Scan Meditation
This type of meditation is centred on focusing each part of your body to augment awareness of your physical senses. This act is believed to bring about the easing of pain and tension. As you lie comfortably in your bed, make sure you have disconnected from every distraction. You can close your eyes gently and take deeper, more controlled breaths as you focus on the weight of your frame. This can be followed by the softening of your facial features. Continue down your body and pay close attention to how each part of your body responds. This way, you can “switch off” part-by-part.
Incorporating visualizations into your meditation exercises could be a powerful way to combat uneasiness and stress. It involves fancying an image or scene which calms you down. It could be practically anything at all—sitting by the ocean, walking in the mountains.
Many experts believe that the effects of visualization closely parallels that of the mental state brought about by hypnosis. It expands your ability to unwind, relieves stress, and helps you focus. If you’re a novice to the mindful meditation space, you can make use of phone apps like Headspace or Calm. You can choose from as quick as a five-minute exercise to longer ones, according to your needs. After you’ve gained considerable momentum with using the app, you may need to consider ditching the app to designate your own mantra. It doesn’t matter what your manta is as long as it qualms your lingering worries.
4. Retracing Your Day
Evaluating your day in length, hour-by-hour, action-by-action, is yet another recommended exercise to divert your mind. Reviewing your day right from the moment you wake up to last-minute before bed is a proven way to set in motion the powering down process. Try to commit to your memory the slightest of details. This exercise is optimal prior to breathing or visualization exercise.
Some experts assert gratitude as a sleep-focused meditation. The focus has to be extended to marking your appreciation for the good things that happened to you in the day. Any act of kindness and love should be cherished and focused upon.
When sleep is your end goal, it’s important to make relaxation your ally. To slow the mind down and liberate you from the recurring patterns of thought, experts suggest counting as a good means. Yes, you heard that right! This involves counting backwards from 10 to one. Then again and again till you fall asleep.
This method is sometimes culturally dubbed as ‘counting sheep’. In largely all depictions, you’re asked to picture a never-ending series of near-identical sheep leaping over a hedge. This activity presumably induces boredom by occupying the mind with something cyclical and metrical, thereby bringing about sleep.
The Bottom Line
Like most techniques, the key to master good sleep through meditative exercise is to stay consistent. Develop a pattern with unvarying efforts and best practices. Do not push yourself to do everything right from the first day. Give it time and slowly work your way into it.
Bear in mind that while meditation can surely perk up the quality of your sleep, it is not a substitute for other good sleep practices. So always carve out other healthy habits in adjacent areas.
Sleep may be an elusive matter for many, even after best efforts. In that case, do not hesitate to get professional help. There’s always help, always hope for things to get better.