Deep Sleep Meditation – We all need sleep after a long day but it doesn’t always come easy. You may be in the mood for slumber but once your head hits the pillow your brain starts telling you otherwise. From recapping the day’s events to cycling through your endless to-do list, our psyches can get in the way of sleep. It’s common for stress to interrupt sleep from time to time, especially when you have a lot on your plate. If you’re tired of reaching for sleep aids to get the rest and recuperation you need — sleep meditation may be worth exploring .
About Deep Sleep Meditation
You’ve probably heard about sleep meditation being recommended to those who are having a hard time drifting off — but what is it exactly?
Simply put, sleep meditation is a practice or technique that produces a state of deep relaxation all the while being awake and alert .
Sleep meditation is also called Yoga Nidra which, in Sanskrit, means sleep. It is often used by those who want to achieve a relaxed mind and body holistically.
Being Asleep vs. Sleep Meditation
What’s the difference between being asleep and sleep meditation?
Well, when we are asleep, our nervous system is relatively inactive. During the Rapid Eye Movement phase or REM sleep, our consciousness is practically suspended.
Sleep meditation, however, is a mind-calming practice that occurs when you are fully awake (though deeply relaxed), and your conscious mind is still at work.
Types Of Sleep Meditation
We all want to have a restful slumber at night but when our thoughts are winning the battle oversleep, meditation may be helpful.
There are different types of meditation that you can use to teach your body and mind to surrender to a calm and relaxed state. Performing these sleep meditation practices at night may encourage a more restful sleep . Here are three popular methods of sleep meditation.
Type #1 – Mindfulness Meditation
This type of sleep meditation does not involve clearing your mind of all thought. On the contrary, practicing mindfulness is the opposite. It means focusing your mind on the present, being acutely aware of each breath and paying attention to the body.
Starting with your toes, slowly flex and relax your muscles as you shift your mind from one part of your body to the next. This may seem easy, but
most people find it difficult to concentrate with all the thoughts running through their heads.
Practice makes perfect. Initially, try focusing your energy on your breath before spreading your awareness to the rest of your body and surroundings.
Type #2 – Concentration Meditation
The first step to performing this meditation is focusing your attention on one single thing. This can be a physical object such as the flame of a candle or a single thought that brings you peace. You can also repeat a favorite mantra to yourself throughout the meditation.
If this is your first time performing concentration meditation, you may want to simply focus on the sensations of the breath and allow each inhalation to slowly move through your body . Since your breath is a constant companion, it may be less challenging to focus solely on it.
Type #3 – Guided Meditation
As the name suggests, this type of sleep meditation involves listening to the voice of an instructor who guides you into a meditative state.
For instance, there are downloadable meditation apps that will, for example, instruct you to relax your toes and then move your focus to other parts of your body. Some apps may prompt you to envision a peaceful place or use other methods to help you focus your mind during the meditation.
If you don’t have time to search for a new app, you can always check out a sleep podcast which you can listen to as you lay in bed.
5 Proven Deep Sleep Meditation Tips
Deep Sleep Meditation Tip #1 – Prepare For Bed
For sleep meditation to work, you will need to prepare yourself first. You should turn off your lights and put away your electronic devices.
If it helps, take a shower first so your body will feel more relaxed. Lie down on your bed afterward. Make sure you start your bedtime routine early enough to get plenty of sleep.
Deep Sleep Meditation Tip #2 – Deep Meditation Music
Sleep meditation works differently from one person to the next.
Some may like to have a sleep meditation video track turned on, while others prefer to listen to a sleep meditation audio with music. Then, there are those who prefer listening to a meditation podcast as it helps them to focus, depending on what type of meditation they’re doing.
Deep Sleep Meditation Tip #3 – Focus On Your Breath
A calm sleep meditation will require you to focus your attention on your breath. Focus on the rise and fall of your belly as you inhale and exhale.
This repetitive motion helps your body and your mind to go into a relaxed state. Breathing is at the core of any meditation practice.
Deep Sleep Meditation Tip #4 – Stretch It Out
Slowly flex the different muscle areas in your body to help reduce any tension. Bring particular attention to your lower legs, calf muscles and toes.
As you draw in a deep breath, focus on each contraction and then let it all go. Enjoy this feeling of soothing relaxation.
Deep Sleep Meditation Tip #5 – Relax
As you continue to practice sleep meditation, you will need to learn how to relax. If you still haven’t been able to achieve a meditative state, do not be discouraged. It takes time to perfect your zen.
For most of us, getting a good night’s rest starts with establishing a routine and sticking to it. Incorporating meditation into your daily routine may help with your overall health and well-being, even if it doesn’t get you to sleep right away.
If after perfecting these techniques you find yourself still experiencing insomnia, it may be worthwhile to schedule a visit with your physician.
Deep Sleep Meditation Resources;
 Harvard Health Publishing; Harvard Medical School, Mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia, improves sleep, Julie Corliss, February 18, 2015.
 Marie Claire; What is sleep meditation and should we be trying it?, Jenny Proudfoot, March 23, 2017.
 Jamanetwork; Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances, David S. Black, PhD, MPH; Gillian A. O’Reilly, BS, Richard Olmstead, PhD, April 2015.
 Mind Works; Meditation for Sleep, Meditation before going to bed.