You know what I daydream about lately? Sleep. I daydream about curling up in my sweats on our oversized (very ugly) couch with my faux fur blanket and sleeping. I blame my recent increased hunger for shut-eye on the consistently dismil Cincinnati weather. Mr. Golden Sun basically sent our city a text this year saying, “new phone, who dis?”
With a 9-5, a side hustle, and a wedding to plan, I sadly can’t sleep all day, everyday. So, I have to get as much bang out of my buck from the sleep I do get. There are dozens of ways to enhance sleep. One way that I’ve found extremely effective is meditating before bed, usually in my bed. (My bed is literally heaven and if Ryan asked me to give it up I might have to second guess our nuptials) I practice meditation daily in the AM on my own, but at night, it’s so nice to use guided recordings and have someone just guide me into relaxation and sleep.
Thanks to the World Wide Web there are a plutera of free, high quality meditations at our fingertips. Here is a list of 5 of my favorites and when I use them. They’re all on the Insight Timer app which is my favorite meditation app. You can choose from thousands of free, guided meditations led by expert teachers, or set a timer to meditate by yourself (with various ending bells and chimes to choose from). Traditionally, meditation is practiced sitting with an upright spine. When gearing up for sleep, however, my purpose is relaxation and rest, not focus or insight, so I find a comfortable position lying in my bed, pop in my headphones, and play one of these bad boys.
Lisa Hubler, Healing Relaxation
Lisa is a certified hypnotherapist which means that she is a pro at guiding people into relaxation. No joke, Lisa’s voice is legit like butter. In this particular meditation, Lisa guides you through a guided relaxation process which typically knocks me out within 5 minutes or less. I like to use this recording when I’ve had a particularly rough day because I can just completely zone out.
Tara Brach: Relaxing into sleep meditation
Tara Brach is one of my favorite mindfulness teachers. She does a great job at blending eastern philosophy with western psychology. She’s also just really real. Her relaxing into sleep meditation is great, because unlike most of her other meditations, it doesn't have a bell at the end, so you can just drift right off to sleep.
Relax into deep sleep by Meg James
Body Scans are great to use for sleep. They help you tune into your body and then gently relax each body part. This is a great distraction for your mind if it’s racing before bed. I also like to use this meditation when I’m experiencing physical tension. For example, if I have a headache or backache, a good body scan helps me relax and ease into sleep. Ryan, my fiance, also uses this recording before bed. He finds it really helps him quiet his mind when he’s thinking non-stop about his to-do list at bedtime.
Yoga Nidra for Sleep by Jennifer Piercy
Yoga Nidra, which simply means sleep yoga, is a form of restorative meditation. It can restore the body and mind and is great for sleep deprivation. During Yoga Nidra, you focus your attention on the breath and then guide the breath progressively through the body. While I do use Yoga Nidra to fall asleep, I also commonly use this recording during the day when I get that dreaded afternoon slump. It’s great to use for a quick cat nap, and some researchers claim that 20 minutes of yoga Nidra can equal 4 hours of sleep. Just remember to set your alarm if you’re using it during the day.
Meditation for Deep Sleep by Kathryn Remati
I like this meditation because it has soothing music and ocean wave sounds in the background. It also uses imagery which can be helpful for people who like guided visualization or people who are visual thinkers.
When I use one of these recordings before bed, I always sleep better. What do you listen to before bed?