While sleep is crucial for physical and mental well-being, not many people have the luxury of enjoying it. According to the America Sleep Association, it is estimated that up 30% of adults are struggling with short-term sleep disorders, and about 10% grapple with chronic disorders. People are comfortable staying up late for days, but they can’t forget their daily cup of coffee. The problem with most of us is that we fail to recognize that altered sleep patterns are turning most of us into daytime zombies.
While there are several things that can be blamed, among them the advent of electronic devices, we can’t shy away from the fact that swirling thoughts tend to set in when we are resting and this can cause insomnia. While there is a myriad of solutions out there to help you get some quality sleep, guided meditation might be the answer to your problems.
Guided sleep meditation is a practice that seeks to help people get out of their own heads so that they can enjoy some quality sleep. Just like the other types of meditation, this technique involves shifting your focus away from your mind and becoming aware of your body sensations. In broader terms, meditation aids in lowering the heart rate by initiating the parasympathetic nervous system and slowing breathing.
Guided meditation involves listening to an audio recording that leads you in the steps to take to slow the swirling thoughts that keep you awake. This meditation technique is may hard to grasp at the start, but once you get used to it, you find it easier to stay calm and relax.
Although research indicates that about 50-70 million Americans have a sleep disorder, this doesn’t mean that they don’t want to sleep. Sometimes sleeplessness is a result of lifestyle choices and biological factors. Many people who are struggling with insomnia claim that whenever they put their heads on a pillow to sleep, it is like their minds go into overdrive.
Among the things that keep individuals awake include high levels of stress and anxiety brought on by thoughts of upcoming events, concerns about health, or future prospects. Another thing that has significantly contributed to increased levels of sleep disorders is technology. It is estimated that 95% of the American population use technology before going to bed. These include phones, TVs, computers and video games. In most cases, these devices can negatively affect sleep patterns. People who use multiple devices daily, as well as those who spend much of their time on them, are more prone to insomnia.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all technique for guided sleep meditation, there are various tactics that are commonly used by many meditation coaches and teachers to induce sleep.
The first step in a regular guided sleep meditation is body scanning. This is a practice that aims to redirect all your attention away from your head to your body. As you lie comfortably on your bed, you will be asked to feel the various parts of your body starting from the head all the way down to your toes, and notice the different sensation in each of them. As you do this, you will be asked to relax gently, and let the cloud of thoughts in your mind dissipate.
This technique involves regulating your breathing pattern and focusing your attention on every breath. For example, you can start counting the breaths you take with your eyes closed or as you listen to some soft music, and then eventually slow down to signal the body that it is time to go to sleep.
Some sleep-focused meditation guides focus on the practice of being grateful. They ask that people show themselves some appreciation and kindness, and in the process, they will find the inner peace which allows their minds and bodies to relax.
Also known as guided imagery, visualization involves remembering or imagining of calm, comfortable, and safe scenes. This takes your mind to similar hypnosis, where you will feel at ease and fall asleep.
While relaxing on your comfortable bed, you can start counting backward from 10 or even 1000 as you breathe in and out slowly. This helps to slow down the mind and alter the cyclical thought patterns that are keeping you awake.
A meditation coach may also ask you to lie calmly in the dark and focus on keeping your mind empty for a few minutes.
Instead of letting the mind go into overdrive with mixed thoughts, you can review all your day’s activities, starting from the time you woke up. This technique distracts the brain, thereby allowing you to sleep off before you even get to a quarter of things you did on that day.
If you find yourself struggling to fall or stay asleep, guided sleep meditation is the way to go. Meditation is a fabulous method to enhance the efficiency and quality of sleep, as well as determine how quickly you fall asleep; how long you stay asleep; and how long you can stay awake during the day.
Getting enough and quality sleep comes with its benefits. These include improved memory, lower the levels of stress, better-eating habits, improved immune system, and enhanced weight management. On the other hand, sleeping for fewer hours can lead to impairment in memory, chronic sleeping illnesses, and can increase the chances of you developing diabetes and heart diseases.
It is no longer a secret that most people around the globe aren’t getting enough sleep. The sad reality is that most of them seem to be unbothered by this phenomenon despite the health ramifications it may predispose. This is why using guided sleep meditation is imperative. It not only helps you to drift into slumberland faster but also improves the quality of your sleep and the general health.