There are lots of people in our busy and stressful world who suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders. Although severe sleep disorders may require a visit to a sleep specialist and require prescription drugs, for less severe cases there are many simple and natural techniques for better sleep you can try on your own. Meditation is one of the tried and true methods for relaxing the body and mind and aiding in deep, restful sleep.
Meditation and visualization can help relax the mind and body and prepare you for a deep and restful sleep. Mediation is beneficial to sleep, because it helps calm your breathing. Deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn induces the relaxation response in the body and mind. If you decide to use meditation as part of a bedtime ritual, do not be afraid if you fall asleep while you doing the exercises. It’s all part of the process and is ultimately the goal of the exercises that follow.
There are many forms of meditation, you will have to experiment a bit to find one that works for you. It is also important that people of faith understand that while meditation is part of many religions, meditation itself is simply a mental technique and not a form of worship. The practice of meditation techniques does not create dissonance with religious traditions, no matter what tradition it is.
A common reason healthy people have trouble falling to sleep is that your mind simply will not “turn off” thinking about the events of this day, tomorrow or the future. Color meditation is an excellent way to address the anxiety caused by this problem and to slow down your mind in preparation for sleep.
Here are some basic guidelines for engaging in color meditation. Before going to bed, find a quiet, dimly lit room that is free of noise. Next, establish a comfortable sitting position. This may be sitting cross-legged on the floor in a traditional yoga pose, or being seated in a comfortable chair. You can also lie on your bed, if this is more relaxing for you. Place your hands either on your lap or by your side. Close your eyes and relax, while breathing deeply and slowly through your nose.
As you inhale, imagine the color of the air we breathe to be a gentle leaf-green. When you exhale, imagine that the color of the air turns blue. Try to focus your attention only on the colors as you inhale and exhale. You will notice while practicing color meditation, your mind may wander. When the mind wanders simply return your attention to the color of the breath and the thoughts will disappear automatically. Soon your mind will slow down and enter into an alpha brain wave state. This relaxed state is very conducive to deep and restorative sleep.
Another great meditation technique for restful sleep is the Peaceful Journey. To begin the Peaceful Journey, lie on your bed and notice your breathing and its rhythm in and out of your body. Visualize an increase in the ceiling and imagine what it would be like up there. Float around your room, turn on your stomach and see your bed and the room at large. Explore your home and then when you are ready, go out of the confines of your bedroom. Float around your house and then travel to a place that makes you feel calm and happy. It could be a beach, forest, anywhere that makes you feel very content and comfortable. Once there, relax and enjoy the experience. As you do this practice, your body and mind will relax and prepare itself for deep sleep.
Here is another wonderful meditation technique that promotes deep and restful sleep. Begin by laying on your bed and take several deep breaths, filling and emptying the lungs each time. Calm yourself enough so that you can start to feel your heart beat. Imagine that your heart is golden. As you breath, with every heart beat visualize that golden light pumps throughout your body. Then imagine that the golden light extends from the heart to cover your chest area. You will feel warm and relaxed where the light enfolds your body. Imagine the golden light extends to the shoulders and the tip of the fingers, extending all the way down to the fingertips. Once the golden light had covered your entire body, you should feel relaxed enough to sleep.