Listen to this guided sleep meditation. It will help you to enjoy relaxed, natural sleep without drugs or medication.
Guided by meditation teacher Michael Taft.
Here is the audio-only version of the same meditation:
Download audio using Right Click here. Duration: 33:53
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. Meditation teacher 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.)
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Still having trouble? Try this meditation for completely letting go.
More resources to help you get the rest you need – click here
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.
Some people understand the word “focus” to mean effortful, tense, and bright concentration. In terms of sleep-inducing meditation, this is not what is meant by focus. Instead, you want to just lightly rest your attention on these relaxed areas of the body. Your attention should be loose and relatively soft, just lightly touching these pleasant areas. Attention should gently and delicately fall upon the body like a snowflake falling on a snowdrift. No pressure or tightness at all.
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.
“There is a time for many words. There is also a time for sleep” ~ Homer
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.
Relaxing Your Mind
Another technique that is very helpful for falling to sleep is the ability to relax the mind at will. For some people this works extremely well after relaxing the body. The idea is to simply have the intention for the “core of your mind” to let go. It’s impossible to describe how to do this, other than to see what happens when you tell yourself to let the core of your mind relax.
This doesn’t mean that all thoughts will stop, or that your mind will turn to a blank necessarily, or anything dramatic. However, there can be a fundamental tension deep in the mind that relaxes, that lets go of scrambling and grasping.
When this occurs, the mind downshifts a gear or two, becoming more peaceful, quiescent, open, and at ease. Even if this only happens a little bit, it makes it much more likely that sleep will come soon. Mixing this technique together with relaxing the body is even more effective.
Try this meditation for completely letting go.
Getting Good Sleep is Crucial for Good Health
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?
“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”
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. None. Zero.
- Outside sounds can impact sleep, so make your room as quiet as possible, or wear ear plugs. If you can wear them comfortably, noise cancelling headphones are amazing.
- 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 report that putting ice packs on their body before sleep (and then taking them off to go to bed) really helps.
- 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 blankets are specially weighted to be extra heavy, which can be extremely comforting and help with sleep.
- There are those who 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. You definitely want to set the sleep timer so that the audiobook doesn’t wake you back up once you drift off.
- Do not take naps during the day, no matter how tired you are. Wait until it’s time to sleep, so you will be truly ready to sleep the whole night through. This is tough to do sometimes, but it’s really work it.
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 deep sleep meditation.
sleeping cat photo by Pasi Mämmelä