I lay there awake, mind racing, desperately tired but unable to sleep.
The worst part?
I had to get up in just a few hours to commute across London for a job I hated.
My mind raced, flooded with anxiety about needing rest, but not being able to get it.
This continued night after night, a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as evening approached.
Until I found an easy meditation for sleep that is…
The importance of sleep
If you suffer from sleep issues, this is likely a familiar scenario.
And a troubling one, considering its importance.
Sleep is an integral component of good health, preventing health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Not to mention waking up to optimal performance during the day.
If you’ve ever tried to operate on insufficient rest, you’ll find yourself forgetful, confused and utterly indecisive.
Combined with physical lethargy, you feel like a zombie, existing in a daze.
So, how can we use mindfulness meditation to help?
An easy meditation for sleep
An easy meditation for sleep is the body scan.
We spend our entire lives trapped in our mind, consumed by thought, which either transports us into the past or predicts an unrealised future.
This incessant mental chatter is frequently negative in nature.
After all, the brain is a problem-solving machine constantly scanning for potential threats, even where none exist.
Great for evolutionary survival but unpleasant when we’re warm and safe in bed seeking sleep.
While meditation, in general, is great to understand the nature of thought, at night I’ve found it better shift my attention entirely, bypassing the source of anxiety.
The body is the perfect object of focus, allowing us to observe fleeting feelings and sensation while escaping our head for long enough to relax.
Here’s how I do it…
How to meditate in bed for beginners
- I lie on my back with arms at my side
- I take a few deep breaths noticing inhalation and exhalation in my airway or the rise and fall of my chest
- I gradually become aware of the field of sensation created by my body, a background static present but previously unnoticed
- From this general feeling, I hone in on specific areas, starting at my feet
- Often I can feel tingling or buzzing, an energy-like phenomenon. Sometimes you might even feel discomfort or pain, although this is also fine.
- I try to maintain my attention noticing any subtle changes in sensation
- Rather than mentally moving towards the object of focus, I allow the feelings to simply appear in the open space of consciousness, encouraging psychological release
- After spending a few minutes on my feet, I move my attention into my legs, repeating the process above
- I work my way up the body covering all areas, repeating as necessary until I feel the gentle tug of sleep
I find that racing thoughts tend to settle as I’m not fueling their fire with my attention.
Instead, I’m present with the (often pleasant) sensations arising in my body.
Consequently, any physical tension decreases and my body sinks into a restful state, sending relaxation signals to an overactive mind.
In this way, the interdependent mind-body connection is activated; relax one and the other releases by default.
This is an incredibly easy meditation for sleep.
But obviously, to make it more effective, all the usual advice applies, from exercise and diet to cutting caffeine and late-night screen time.
If you really want to aid your efforts, try a nice warm shower or bath before bed to relax your body even further.
Get some rest
In an age of increasing psychological strain, the importance of getting a good night’s sleep can’t be underestimated.
The quality of our nights determines the quality of our days and to function at optimum capacity, we require rest and recovery.
Experiment with the above and you’ll hopefully get the peaceful slumber you need.