5 Sleep Meditation Techniques for Beginners

5 Sleep Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Forget about youth being wasted on the young — it’s sleep that’s truly being wasted. Adulting often means feeling tired, counting down the hours to bedtime, and wishing you could catch up on sleep once and for all. Sleep is integral to your health, but it can also be elusive at times. Thankfully, when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, meditation might help.

“If we meditate, especially before sleep, we can calm down the mind,” says Emma Sothern, RYT 200, a yoga, meditation, and mindfulness instructor. “Going to bed with a calm mind and a relaxed body is a sure-fire way to get better sleep.”

Here’s a look at some of the simplest ways you can practice meditation and mindfulness techniques to rest better, starting tonight.

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5 Sleep Meditation Techniques for Beginners

1. Sound Meditation

sleep meditation - woman meditating in bed

Want to sleep better and reduce stress and anxiety in your everyday life? Openfit’s Sound Meditation series, led by Scarlett de la Torre, creates soothing frequencies using “singing bowls,” a harp, a didgeridoo, gongs, and other harmonic instruments. Each session lasts 10 to 45 minutes and helps shift your brain into a more relaxed, meditative state. Try it before bed tonight.

 

2. Body Scan Meditation

sleep meditation - woman laying in bed

A grounding practice like meditation, says Sothern, can help ensure our mind “isn’t in overdrive as we lie down.” A simple body scan meditation can relax both mind and body, shifting you into your parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system. This is a simple sleep meditation for children, too.

  • Start by lying in bed on your back, even if that’s not your preferred sleep position. Close your eyes and get comfortable.
  • Start at either your head or your feet, and begin tensing one body part at a time, then releasing. Try tensing on an inhale, then relaxing on an exhale.
  • Make your way to the other end of your body, then tense and release your entire body.
  • As you tense and release, visualize letting go of the stress and tension from your day.

 

3. Yoga Nidra

Yoga nidra is also called “sleep of the yogi,” and it’s Sothern’s favorite way to wind down at night. More than a nap, it’s a deep sleep meditation that preps you for bedtime.

Yoga nidra starts with a “lying down, guided meditation in which you become aware of each body part, one at a time,” she explains, “then you go deeper into your subconscious, usually through a visualization exercise that’s incredibly relaxing. I do this any time I’m feeling a little ‘wired,’ and I sleep like a baby!”

 

4. Legs Up the Wall

sleep meditation - couple with legs on wall

Sothern loves this restorative yoga pose before bed. Like the body scan, it moves you into a more relaxed state. Pair it with one or more of these products for better sleep.

  • Lie on your back in bed with one side of your body pressed against the headboard or wall.
  • Bring your knees to your chest, and turn so your butt is against the wall. Extend your legs up toward the ceiling while keeping your bottom close to the wall or headboard. Rest your arms by your sides, palms up.
  • Stay here, while focusing on your breath, for five to 10 minutes.
  • To come out, bring your knees back to your chest, turn to the side again, and move to your preferred sleep position.
  • Throughout the exercise, focus on your breath or use a mantra to help you stay in a more meditative state. You might try: Sleep. I deserve to rest. Tomorrow starts fresh.

 

5. Mindfulness Meditation Exercises

Mindfulness meditation helps you focus on the present while being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical feelings. If you struggle with sleep, consider practicing mindfulness exercises — or your preferred type of meditation — right before bed.

“Meditating before bed has shown me that it’s the most valuable way I can get a good night’s sleep,” says Sothern. “And I don’t want to get rid of that relaxed, calm feeling of meditation.”

Stepfanie Romine

About

Stepfanie Romine is a yoga teacher (RYT 500), ACE-certified health coach and fitness nutrition specialist who writes about natural health, plant-based cooking and yoga. A runner and hiker based in Asheville, N.C., her books include The No Meat Athlete Cookbook and Cooking with Healing Mushrooms. Follow her on Twitter.