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Meditation for falling asleep

Updated on July 17, 2011

8 Hours is hard to come by

Right now America is experiencing a sleep epidemic. As adults we rush around all day dealing with work, chores, and family. Then when we feel like we just want to drop no sleep will come. Unfortunately we often bring insomnia on ourselves. As a culture we are forgetting how to let the events of the day leave us in peace and let us sleep.

Meditation used while trying to drift off can help train our minds to just let go and relax. I used to use this method myself when I lived in the south. I had a horrible fear of bad weather, and it was so bad that not only did I have an extremely hard time falling asleep I also had terrible dreams every night about tornadoes and similar events. I developed this meditation cycle myself as a way to help myself get to sleep, whether for the first time or after having a bad dream. It was a way of ignoring the thunder that would shake my house and a way of recovering from a dream that may have left me shaking in fear.

Why can't I just relax?

The first couple nights you try this you might find it really difficult to let go of your thoughts. For many people night is the only time they have some quiet time to think. They let themselves work out schedules, plan shopping trips, or worry about tomorrow’s meeting. People often use bedtime to rehearse old conversations. They work over old fights or discussions and rehearse what they “should” have said, and while doing this they bring back all of the emotion that the conversation originally brought up. Habits like this block your mind from sleep. It works you up physically and emotionally to the point where relaxation becomes hard work.

So now that we’ve trained ourselves to hash out all of the day’s problems while trying to drift off we need to train ourselves to think of nothing. Bedtime is for sleep. From the moment you lie down you should be focused on relaxation and sleep.

How to meditate

STEP ONE - First you will lie in a comfortable position on the bed. Once you get comfortable you will tense your whole body up carefully so that you don’t strain a muscle. Hold the tension for ten seconds and then relax. This will help you consciously relax your whole body. It also helps if your close your eyes as tightly as you can without hurting them as this will make it easier to keep them shut.

STEP TWO - Now you should slow your breathing. Try to take somewhat deep breaths through your nose or mouth, depending on which you usually breathe from. The nose is better for deep relaxing breaths but if you’re like me you might be a mouth breather whose nose is for looks not for use.

STEP THREE - Last you will empty your mind of thoughts while focusing on the blackness behind your eyes. You should not allow yourself to think of anything going on in your life. It might help to think one word over and over. I would suggest using the words “sleep” or “deeper”. While you are thinking of nothing allow yourself to become conscious of the “sight” of blackness behind your closed eyelids. Now focus on making it blacker. You should be able to visualize layers of blackness descending. Now imagine yourself slowly falling deeper and deeper into darkness. All of this should be very gradual.

It’s the time spent thinking of nothing and letting yourself deeply relax that will help you to help yourself into deep sleep.

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