Millions of people around the globe will be celebrating Christmas in just a few days and they know that in order for Santa to slide down their chimney, they must be asleep. As the story has it, he simply won’t show up if you’re awake. Fair deal for some gifts, I’d say. But what is sleep doesn’t come easily for you? Then what, no gifts?
No matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, if any, sleep is just as important and can be just as fleeting. This time of year brings about never ending shopping lists, strict (and maybe unrealistic) budgets, and events and gatherings for just about every group of people you know. It’s no wonder what folks are missing out on the “ZZzzzzzz’s”. There are so many demands! If this sounds like you, there might be something that can help you out: meditation.
Meditation has long been used to trigger the relaxation response and, when used right before bedtime, can help in facilitating restful night’s sleep. Often, what keeps people awake at night is the mental chatter. Their mind races with thoughts of what to do, what happened in the past, what might happen in the future, and so on. And until you intentionally inject a distraction or diversion into this jet stream of anxiety, it will keep on going and going and going.
Meditation is that wrench in your mental spoke. What makes it so effective is that it simply diverts your attention away from what you don’t want to think about to something that you do want to think about (this is why counting sheep works, too!). Here are two great meditations you can use to help you fall asleep fast.
Only practice these meditations when it is safe to do so. Do not use these meditations while driving.
Sleeping Body Scan
While lying in bed at the end of the day, take a few moments to do this meditation to help decrease mental chatter and promote restful sleep.
- Close your eyes and begin to bring your attention inward and to the present moment. Start to severe any mental ties to the past or any reaches forward to the future.
- Start by bringing your attention to your toes and imagine each one of your toes falling asleep. Then imagine your feet falling asleep, your shins, your knees, your thighs, your hips all fall asleep as well.
- Then imagine each part of your body, segment by segment, bit by bit, falling asleep, from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. Do this until you fall asleep.
- Enjoy a peaceful night’s rest.
Be sure to use this meditation anytime you are having a hard time falling asleep. You can add these mantras to your practice as well (if you’re awake for it!).
Mantras are words or phrases that are a point of focus during meditation. Recite the ones below to help promote sleep.