The following is an explanation of meditation for sleep by meditation expert, Cameron Wright.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had problems with my sleep. As a child, I’d find it so difficult to get to sleep, often lying in bed for hours and hours wide awake. I envied the seeming skill of those who could just ‘hit the pillow’ and fall asleep within seconds. How could they possibly have achieved this wondrous feat? I used to ask my Dad (to me, he was one of these magical sleep experts) how he managed it. And his answer was simple. As soon as he goes to bed, he doesn’t think about anything.
But this is much harder than it sounds – surely one cannot think of nothing, since that is impossible. But it isn’t about shunning all thoughts from your mind as I thought when I first heard this advice. As time went on, I realised it was more about focusing my thoughts into things that would help relax me. For example, I would often spend long nights worrying about some event that was coming up, like an exam or a performance, and find that I couldn’t drift off. On nights where you need to rest for something the next day, not being able to sleep is the most infuriating thing ever – that’s where meditation comes in.
I implore you to approach meditation for sleep with an open mind. Meditation has been practiced since at least as far back as 1500 BCE, but is sometimes underestimated by people in today’s society. I first started meditation when I was fourteen, and at first, I found it frustratingly difficult to get comfortable whilst doing it. There are many ways to help make your first experience of meditation more comfortable, but I soon discovered that I was much better off doing meditations lying down. From there, it was only a short jump from meditating in my bed, to meditating in order to get to sleep.
So, the question is ‘does meditation for sleep actually work?‘. The short answer is… for some people. A study showed that sleep meditations not only help people get to sleep but can also help with symptoms of insomnia and depression. This is amazing, as conditions like insomnia have such a profound negative impact on people’s lives, that any help is greatly appreciated. However, meditation doesn’t work for everyone. Some people actually report an increase in anxiety and a lowered sense of confidence after meditation. BUT – and it’s a huge but – remember that this is a minority and in no way represents the whole of the meditation community’s experiences. Most people sing its praises and swear by it, some even meditating for hours each day.
It’s important to note that there should be a balance between these two extremes. In our hectic daily lives of the 21st century, it’s sometimes hard to find time for something extra among all our commitments. That’s why you should start by trying sleep meditation. Even one session a week can see you improve your quality of sleep and give you more confidence. So, why not try a sleep meditation tonight? Don’t worry if it doesn’t work at first – give it a few weeks and then you’ll start to see some positive changes.
Remember: we’re all on our own journey to better sleep, but try to focus on one night at a time.
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional before using any sleep treatments. This post may contain affiliate links.
Cameron is the founder of Learn To Relax, a podcast dedicated to helping you get the best night’s sleep possible.