If the mind is racing, the body has a hard time to relax and to fall asleep. The many thoughts of the day develop into a small whirlwind in your head and leave you with a sense of chaos instead of peace. But do not despair. There are plenty soothing sleep meditation exercises that can help you fall asleep more easily.
Find peace of mind with meditation
Sleeping problems can drive you crazy. You may know the feeling: while you cannot stop your thoughts you worry about the lack of sleep and this cycle goes on and on until it is too difficult to fully relax. Under these circumstances many take to sleeping pills to finally get a full nights rest.
But you do not have to resort to medication to find harmony: try meditation exercises instead. This way, you naturally give your body exactly what it needs to go to sleep. A study from the University of Minnesota confirms the great effect of meditation and mindfulness training.
As you can see, you already have the ability to improve your sleep quality – you just have to activate it.
What monkeys have to do with falling asleep?
In yoga philosophy the mind is compared to a monkey jumping screaming from tree to tree. A funny picture – but at some point, we should let our monkey rest a little or we may go mad. But as we try to move away from our inner monkey circus, we give exactly that thought more energy. A viscous circle.
The solution: distract the monkey!
The following exercises do exactly that. Most important during these sleep meditation exercises is that you shift your focus to something other than falling asleep.
Exercise 1: Find a meditation object
Instead of dealing with hundreds of thoughts, try to find a meditation object that you can fully engage with.
For example, feel your breathing, the flow of air on your nostrils, or the lifting and lowering of your abdominal wall. Count the breaths to 10 and then start again from the beginning.
It may sound simple at first, but it requires a great deal of concentration. This exercise takes the energy out of the sleep-robbing thoughts and tames your inner monkey.
Exercise 2: Watch an inner movie
This sleep meditation technique takes at least 10 minutes. Give it a try!
Sit upright but comfortably in your bed.
Review the events of the day from evening to morning. Start with this moment.
You do not have to be detailed, just remember the moments that come your way.
Experience them one more time.
It is important to look from the outside: see your day as if someone else had experienced it and as if you were just an uninvolved spectator.
If you’ve been hurt by anything that day, then back away from it now. It is your likeness that you see in the past, but it does not exist anymore. You are here now. Away from it all.
Now just sit still and experience who you really are – completely detached from the days experiences.
You will probably fall asleep while doing so.
Initially this meditation method can be a bit difficult, but after some time and practice it can serve as a powerful calming technique. Backward thinking loosens the tension in your head. Plus the detachment of the day to day happenings shows you who you really are.
Exercise 3: A Mindfulness Mantra
For many, relaxing is easier with a mantra. Imagine the word “Rest” when inhaling and “Relax” during exhalation.
Repeat for at least 10 minutes in relaxed silence.
Even if your little monkey shows up from time to time and interjects with other thoughts, do not be angry with him. Take note of the thought, greet the monkey in a friendly way and say goodbye to him right away.
Then bring your attention back to your mantra: Rest, Relax, Rest, Relax…
Of course, you can use other words – whatever works best for you.
A final tip
The balance of the body elements is a central component of European Ayurveda. Diseases, as well as disorders, such as sleep problems are always symptoms of an internal imbalance. By aligning body, mind and soul, we can purposefully find new regeneration, energy and joy.