Enjoy this sleep meditation, guided by Michael W. Taft
Press play to listen now.
Play this audio when you want to go to sleep. It’s a 34 minute long free guided meditation for deep sleep that will allow you to drift off and enjoy your rest. It is peaceful and soft, so if you go to sleep quickly, the guided meditation will not wake you back up. There are no bells at the end, so you will not be jarred back awake. Instead, it will allow you go even deeper into restful, regenerative sleep. For some people, it may help to use the sleep timer on your device to turn off the meditation even sooner (At least 15 minutes is recommended.)
Focus on Relaxing Sensations
If your mind is racing, trying to struggle with your thinking is probably the worst way to go to sleep. Instead, you want to focus on relaxed body sensations with a mindfulness meditation like this. Notice any gentle, open, peaceful, easy sensations that are already there, as well as relaxing more areas of your body. Paying attention to bodily relaxation will tend to reduce the number of racing thoughts, as well as guide you into an effortless and deep sleep.
“Sleep is the best meditation.” ~ H. H. the Dalai Lama
It’s important to understand the role of attention in helping you to go deeper. Instead of paying attention to the part you don’t want (“My mind is racing!), just accept it and instead pay attention to the part you do want (“Some parts of my body are relaxed and feel good”). By focusing on the pleasant feelings of relaxation and enjoying those, a greater and greater part of your experience will be made up of pleasant relaxation. As that grows, sleep can and will naturally arise. There is no way to make yourself go to sleep by force, but by focusing intentionally on the sleepiest parts of experience, you can help it along. This guided meditation will take you there.
Relax Your Body, Free Your Mind
Another thing that really helps is to understand that, even if you stayed awake the entire night, simply keeping your body motionless at rest will tend to regenerate your energy for the next day. It’s not as good as fully going to sleep, but it’s much better than not resting at all. Allowing your body to fully relax, in the way that this deep relaxing guided mindfulness audio does is extremely helpful for that.
Many people have no trouble falling asleep at the beginning of the night, but then wake up in the middle of the night. Then they have trouble getting back to sleep, and may lay awake for hours. If that is how it works for you, then keep this guided meditation for deep restful sleep ready to play by your bed. If you wake up, simply play the meditation (aloud or in ear buds—however you like) and it will allow you to gently fall back into rejuvenating sleep.
Getting Good Sleep is Important
Most of us understand that getting a good night’s sleep is a good thing, but it may be much more important than you think. Research is showing that getting eight hours of natural, restful sleep per night is crucial for health and wellbeing. Specifically, not getting enough sleep can:
- Make you more likely to gain weight. In fact, not getting enough sleep is a reliable predictor for obesity.
- Put you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Increase your risk for diabetes. In fact, in studies, healthy young people getting 4 hours of sleep for 6 nights in a row, showed symptoms of pre-diabetes.
- Make you depressed. Short sleep and poor sleep quality are even linked to suicide.
- Drastically increase your level of inflammation.
- Reduce your ability to interact with people socially, and understand others.
These are just a few (!) of the negative effects of not getting enough sleep. Obviously, getting good rest is incredibly important for your health and wellbeing. So how can you do that?
Deep Natural Peaceful Sleep
Recent scientific research shows that taking drugs, whether prescription medications or alternative substances, does not allow your brain to get the proper sleep it needs to rejuvenate. In other words, drugged sleep is not good sleep. It’s important that you find a way to relax enough to allow yourself to have natural sleep, because that is the only way to get the kind of sleep that your body and brain require.
It is very helpful to practice some level of sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene means to create the optimal conditions for sleep. Minimally, you should try to:
- Shut off all lights in the room, including any LEDs no matter how small. Total darkness is best.
- Do not look at your phone/screen for at least an hour before bed.
- Have your screens automatically shift to “night mode” starting around sundown. This switches them to a frequency of light that is more yellow than blue. Blue light signals the brain to wake up.
- Go to sleep at the same time each night; it establishes a habit.
- Do not drink caffeine after noon.
- Outside sounds can impact sleep, so make your room as quiet as possible, or wear ear plugs.
- Have your room be slightly cool. A room temperature of around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit (18-21 degrees Celsius) is good for sleep.
- Some people find that having some weight on their body helps them to fall asleep. Placing a heavy blanket, or heavy pillows on limbs, can help you to fall asleep.
- Some people find that listening to an audiobook on very low volume, with a sleep timer (set to 15 minutes or so) helps to break circling thoughts and allows them to drift off to sleep.
Implementing even a few of these suggestions can help. If you do most of them, then it is very likely you’ll be able to sleep, especially with the help of this guided sleep meditation.
Video of Sleep Meditation
If you enjoy this guided sleep meditation, please share it with your friends. Here is a video version, duration is 33:53.
Still having trouble? Try this meditation for completely letting go.
sleeping cat photo by Pasi Mämmelä