With life getting busier it is essential to slow down before bed to invite in deeper and more restorative sleep. Here are Joanna’s three top tips on how to wind down, calm your mind, and meditate in bed.
We seem to have less and less disposable time throughout our days, and we need more than ever to slow down, take a moment, and find quiet. We all love a good life hack and cutting corners, so the question is how to calm our minds, and improve our sleep efficiently? The answer is to learn how to meditate in bed, of course!
Busy life – busy mind:
Life is constantly stimulating us and pulling our attention in different directions. Whether it be relationships, work commitments, social plans, or house chores. What often happens when we try to carve out time to meditate is that it just becomes another chore to do. Meditation becomes something else to fit into our busy lives.
We continue through our days, one thing after another, until it is time for bed. But jumping into bed after a busy day, and hoping for sleep to come, can sometimes be a rather fruitless task. Surprise surprise, a large percentage of us struggle to fall asleep (up to 48% of adults suffer with insomnia).
It’s in those moments, when the lights are out and the house is quiet, that the mind starts to run wild. You might be reflecting on the day or remembering conversations. You might be making mental to do lists, you could even have inspiration and ideas for tomorrow. Although all this is useful stuff… it is not definitely not conducive to getting to sleep and we often wish there was a ‘pause button’!
How to Meditate in Bed – The Preparation:
- Even before getting into bed, begin to wind down. Tune into rest, and a sense of slowing down. Choose your activities carefully, maybe read or journal, listen to some gentle music or do some restorative yoga. Doing this will give your body and mind all the signals it needs to start to let go and drop into our parasympathetic nervous state.
- Try to get into bed before midnight – to be more in tune with the cycle of the day and allow yourself to have deep sleep in the darkest part of the night.
- Reduce blue lights for at least one hour before bed – choose low lighting and candles instead. The blue light can inhibit the rise of melatonin, the hormone we need to get sleepy.
- Take time to meditate in bed before falling asleep. You can’t get it wrong, be gentle with yourself, if the ‘meditation’ becomes sleep – that is definitely ok! See below for my three tips on how you can do this!
How to meditate in bed – Three top tips to help you sleep:
- Slow down and pay some attention to the breath. Start by simply focusing on the breath. Count to four as you inhale and exhale through the nose. Nasal breathing stimulates nitric oxide release and this acts as a vasodilator, encouraging the slowing down of the breath and relaxation of the brain and body.
- Then try lengthening the exhalation, making it longer than the inhale. When we are anxious or struggling to unwind, we tend to breathe fast and shallow, taking in more air. To encourage relaxation in these moments, the trick is to start to breathe out for longer than we breathe in, rebalancing the CO2 in our blood.
Relax the Body to Relax the Mind
I recommend picking a restorative pose and doing it from bed. Restorative poses can help calm your mind, relieve stress, and relax the muscles and tissues in your body. The truth is, when you are able to relax the body it becomes easier to relax the mind, preparing you perfectly for a good night’s sleep.
My FAVOURITE restorative pose before bed is legs up the wall. When the legs are extended and resting on a wall they are positioned above the heart. This uses gravity to improve circulation of blood and lymphatic system.
Try a visualisation or Yoga Nidra
A Yoga Nidra meditation can help reduce anxiety, calm the mind and improve sleep due to the activation of of neurotransmitters such as Gaba, Dopamine and Serotonin.
Yoga Nidra and meditation can also increase alpha wave activity which is associated with a relaxed state of mind (See NCBI article for references) . All of this can lead to deeper and more restorative sleep. You can choose a Yoga Nidra practice on MFML that is anything from 10-60 minutes and set yourself up in bed. Turn the lights low and the laptop screen off and just listen and be guided into deep meditative bliss before bed.
REMEMBER – There is no Right and Wrong
Meditation doesn’t need to be done seated with a straight spine. It isn’t just another chore to do, or something else to fit in to your already busy life. There is no right and wrong of meditation and it can be done in many different ways, during different activities and at various points of your day.
The point of this article is to share with you simple ways you can incorporate meditation into your bedtime routine that will provide a huge benefit in calming your mind before bed and as a result improving your sleep.
Other resources on MFML that can help you improve your sleep
Try The Big Sleep Challenge on MFML – it has some wonderful restorative classes to help soothe your body and mind before bed. Remember many of these practices can be adapted and done in bed.
There are also some courses you can try that offer support to improve your sleep or classes you can do from your bed
Written by Joanna Gilbert – MFML’s Happiness Maven!