Meditations To Help With Falling Asleep At Night
The fantastic Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) wrote:
‘No one likes us when we have slept badly. The sleep we missed carried off with it whatever it was that made us human’.
It’s just so true isn't it.
Just like children, when we haven't slept well we get tired and cranky and find it increasingly difficult to act inline with our usual love and understanding.
When our sleep quality is poor, performance suffers in other corners of life too. For example:
- difficulty concentrating (which in turn can make meditation a little harder)
- reduced immune function
- reduction in memory consolidation
- reduced motor performance and co-ordination (for example: dancing, playing an instrument, sports, exercise, driving, crafting)
- affected mood and emotion
- poorer health choices and potential weight gain.
Surprisingly, scientists still don't truly understand why we sleep. Isn't that something! Evolutionarily speaking, sleep appears to pose quite a risk to survival yet the effects of sleep deprivation are so severe that sleep must be playing a vital role in the successful functioning of our lovely human bodies.
So how much sleep do you need? The guide time is 7-9 hours, yet, we’re all so different and no two bodies are alike. How lovely then for each of us to take the time to discover how much sleep we need so that we can craft our own unique sleep programme.
Here are some handy sleep tips!
- Be mindful of alcohol: while it may seem to help you fall asleep alcohol actually lowers the quality of your sleep and impedes REM sleep (dream sleep). REM sleep is critical for overall mental health and physical wellness.
- Have a bedtime routine: give yourself a chance to wind down naturally and patiently. Perhaps for you that might mean an early dinner, a soothing bathe, a herbal tea, a lavender pillow spray or a nice book/audio book. Some people find that having a set time for waking up and going to bed is helpful too.
- Holistic: Help your sleep thrive by having a 360 degree healthy living programme that includes good nutrition, meditation, daily physical activity and a little time spent outdoors in natural sunlight. “Exercise boosts the effect of sleep hormones like melatonin, especially if it’s done in bright daylight in the morning,” says Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D., co-director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester.
- Digital Wellness: The blue light emitted by screens influences our sleep hormones which means it can helpful to spend less time looking at screens in the lead up to bedtime. For some time now, I have been keen to fall asleep thinking about something lovely. Whether that’s A) imagining something of someone I love or have a fond memory of B) conjuring up a sleepy day-dream about something I’d like to have happen in the future or C) gently focusing on the quiet mindful coming and going of my breath - being present D) counting my blessings and abiding in a state of deep gratitude. This small, feeling positive as I drift off practice brings me great joy! Looking at screens just before bed often means that my mind is more heavily coloured by whatever I’ve just encountered, and so I’m mindful of that.
There are many ways to use meditation for insomnia or meditation to help you sleep at night and I have shared some tips for that in the video below. I do hope you find it useful!
Remember, there is a handy Sleep meditation album which you can listen to as you drift off. It's designed to help you get the best nights sleep possible and it's available in the online shop, priced at £10.00
Wishing you a lovely, restful night sleep,