Sleep is an essential part of our healthy rhythm. Sleep allows not only our bodies to rest but our minds as well. It is also known scientifically that our brains remove toxins while sleeping. Unfortunately, a lot of people suffer from insomnia and lack of sleep. The purpose of meditation is not to fall asleep but achieve deeper levels of awareness, however in the context of not being able to sleep practicing meditation can be helpful. Here is a four part practice for helping us to fall asleep:
Let go of unfinished business:
One of the primary things that keep us up at night is unfinished business and unresolved conflicts. Wether it be about work, or school, or relationships, or children, or the grocery list for tomorrow, unfinished business is a primary motivator for over-active minds during sleep time. To counter this, make a commitment that for the rest of the night you will not entertain any unfinished business and focus only on sleeping. Let the day be for the day, and the night be for the night. Trust that you are safe, and can let go:
Trust that you are safe in your bed and can let go of all worldly worries and burdens. This allows you to really sink into your bed and not be so ungrounded. Once you do this you will feel free and centered in yourself.
Now that we have let go of the negative, let us celebrate the positive. Feel gratitude for everything in your life, and grateful for this moment, feeling warm and cozy in your bed. This activates your self-nurturing that is key to feeling connected to your subconscious. Practice breath meditation:
Finally, practice breath meditation by noticing the in breath and noticing the out breath. Breath naturally and uncontrived. Follow the flow of the breath as it brings you into deeper and deeper states of consciousness and deeper and deeper states of rest. If you ever get distracted by your thoughts simply notice them and let them go, coming back to the breath. Keep practicing this until you start to fall asleep. When you do start to fall asleep you can stop the meditation practice and simply fall asleep. If you don't fall asleep, practicing the breath meditation will still bring your body and mind rest similar to sleeping, so it is never a waste.
There is a guided meditation called “Sleep Guided Meditation” available on my website under “Guided Meditation Audio”. It contains the same elements listed above. May it bring you relief and needed rest.