Anyone who has ever spent a night (or more) tossing and turning in bed knows that feeling refreshed the next day has much more to do with the quality of your sleep than the amount of hours spent lying in bed.
Getting a good night's sleep has become a challenge for many people today. In fact, the National Institutes for Health estimate that up to 70 million Americans have sleep disorders, and one in three adults do not regularly get the recommended amount of uninterrupted sleep they need to protect their health. Whether you are stressed out, spending too much time on screens, or have a health issue that’s impacting your sleep, meditation can help.
Meditations to Help You Sleep
You can start very simply with a five-minute meditation. Set a timer and find a comfortable place to sit (no cushion required). Close your eyes and bring your attention to the breath as you slowly inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders (and it will), bring your attention back to your breath.
2. Lying Down
Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), says that lying down is a wonderful way to meditate if you can manage not to fall asleep. However, if you do fall asleep, your sleep may be more restful when you enter it through meditation.
He describes "the cave of the heart" in this short passage:
On the left side of your chest is your biological heart. The heart chakra—or energy center—has been described as being in the middle of the chest. On the right side of the chest is the cave of the heart—the safe space of the heart. It’s where the physical heart would be if it were on the right side of your chest—but instead, there is a space. In this practice, we unhook local awareness from thought and drop it down to the safe, restful place that is the cave of the heart.
1. Sit comfortably or lie on your back. Close your eyes and take a full breath or two so that you feel alert, alive, and awake.
2. Now allow local awareness to unhook from thought. Let it slowly drift down like a leaf below your neck and find a safe, restful place inside your upper body on the ride side of your chest. This safe space may feel like it has a little light or pinpoints of light, or it may be completely dark, like black velvet.
3. Allow your awareness to rest in this black-velvet silence without falling asleep. Feel each cell drinking in this rest and renewal. Remain here for 10-to-15 minutes or until you naturally arise or open your eyes.
© 2020 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies