What is sleep meditation?
Sleep meditation, also known as Yoga Nidra ( in Sanskrit). is a state in which one is sleeping physically but is mentally awake. Nidra, which actually means sleep, is a meditation that helps with sleep and is a type of sleep itself. This technique of meditation is used as a relaxation for the mind, body, and soul. There are specific ways and technique to do this and it takes a lot of practice. Most other yoga techniques and method are designed to keep your body healthy. Sleep meditation is the yoga for the mind it helps you to cleanse your inner self and helps you recover from many types of stress, pain, or anxiety.
The basic difference between normal sleep and sleep meditation
Yoga Nidra can be explained as the place between calmly awake and sleeping deeply. Some people say it’s a way to achieve the inner and true selves. While we nap normally our consciousness is turned off while our subconscious mind works. The subconscious mind does not help to overcome whatever you had gone through, be it stress or anxiety of the day. It just helps you to forget for a small time being. While Yoga Nidra proves to do the opposite, doing Yoga Nidra the conscious mind does not go off but it is fully awake hence it relaxes the body and helps you to stay calm and go over all the worries that you have faced. Yoga Nidra helps improve and overcome stress while normal nap just gives rest and nothing else. Yoga Nidra overall helps to induce better sleep although it is not a replacement for it.
Advantages of sleep meditation
Yoga Nidra helps overall with stress and a lot of issues regarding. While practicing yoga nigra the body feels extremely relaxed, muscles feel less tensed and the brain feels calm.
The muscles relax, the heart rate slows while breath deepens giving a feeling of inner peace and calmness. While getting rid of stress hormones it also helps to release hormones that can battle with anxiety such as GABA, serotonin, and melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to induce sleep. Melatonin also works as an antioxidant. In addition, the Melatonin helps to in functioning the immune system well, helps in anti-aging. So sleeping meditation helps with insomnia too.
Enhances brain waves for REM
Yoga Nidra is an ancient scientific method to reach mental, physical and emotional relaxation. Yoga Nigra helps the brain waves to transition from waking to the hypnagogic state to the deep sleep state. This transition helps in removing the negative pattern from the mind and dissolving them.
There are mainly 5 sorts of brainwaves that are alpha, beta, gamma, theta, and delta waves. Yoga Nidra helps to induce alpha waves which help in stress and sleep. People who practice frequently can even access the “theta” and “beta” waves in their conscious state, while the aim is “epsilon” state which is the enlightened state of the superconscious mind. Beta waves are the ones you experience when you’re awake and fully conscious. Delta waves are the waves produced when you’re sleeping as they help you to heal and rest. While theta waves are produced when you are in deep sleep or deep state of hypnosis.
Yoga Nidra overall helps you to go in a sleep state with normal and relaxed brainwave activity. Meditation also helps to initiate an integrative process that balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
Brings us to the present
Most of the people carry stress and unresolved issues with us every day and we sleep only to carry them in our minds the next day. Sleeping helps us to forget about the daily ventures for a while. We burden our minds with scenarios that we keep carrying to the point where we lose focus and direction.
The meditation itself helps to feel comfortable, feel relaxed and less tensed and increases awareness of self and the environment helping us being in the now. The second stage of reaching the state is to train the mind, give it direction and help to reshape our personality.
Different stages of the practice help to remove negative material from our minds helping to see and revive inner faith and soul while reminding us of our goals and happy moments and memories. This all in results helps the mind to go into a peaceful state.
Help Prolong REM Sleep
Meditation helps us to bring awareness to our sleeping patterns. With our hectic lives, it’s hard to switch from the work state to rest and achieve a piece of mind. There are many people out there who are sleep deprived. So this form of meditation helps to recognize our inner self and restore ourselves on every level.
The practice of this meditations brings one close to sleep helping to realize when we will fall asleep and learning to control it. It helps to stay awake and conscious for the time being our body sets itself for repair and heals. Sleep can be induced biologically or physiologically. Different sedatives can induce it but people who suffer from insomnia opt not to take these. While Yoga Nidra helps people to control their sleep pattern. The person himself chooses to regulate his sleep by his own mental efforts.
Also read: Types of insomnia
Top guided meditations for sleep
Guided Meditation for Deep Sleep
The biggest reason for insomnia is the actual worry of insomnia itself. The steps Deepak Chopra guides through are lying in bed on your back or still and reinforce the attitude that while just laying you are getting the rest you would initially get by sleeping. Then slowly become aware of your breathing and breath gently, just be very aware of your breaths in and out. He introduces a mantra to repeat which is claimed to help you sleep.
A 10 Minute Guided Meditation
This video explains the method of brainwaves resonance that helps to calm the mind. The speaker asks to lay still and calm on the bed and start with deep breaths. Do this until your breathing falls into a rhythm and feel your body relaxing. Recalling and acknowledge the experience, moments and things you’ve learned and relaxing and soon falling to sleep.
This method of meditation states that relaxing and letting the mind become quiet can achieve one to reach deep sleep. The experience gives way to pleasant thoughts and helps settle down the flow of thoughts. Then he moves through illusions, life experiences all this described as a story.
Guided meditation for a deeply peaceful and calm sleep | A guided sleep visualization
The video uses binormal beats to help the listener achieve sound sleep. The different visualization that is comprehended by the speaker helps the listener to relax and get into a world of imagination that helps to feel calm and gives off positive vibes. The video plays peaceful meditating music. He asks to let go of the feeling and think about the sensation of calmness and visualizing darkness.
Guided meditation – Fall asleep fast | Hypnosis
This meditation helps the listener to control the breathing. He asks the listener to bring your attention to sleep, submitting to it. Feeling all the sensation in your body while feeling the tensing start to go down.
Related: How to Fall Asleep Fast
Guided meditation countdown
This video helps count down to 20 free your self from all thoughts and the world around. While counting down the speaker encourages to feel all the body parts relaxing. With every second the speaker asks to be aware of the body and letting your body to simply be and letting it sink into deeper relaxation.
Floating amongst the stars
This meditation features peaceful music that makes you feel that you’re floating in space. The speakers guide through a serene journey that makes the listener feel calm and sleepy.
The soothing voice helps to guide one through slowly going into a deep sleep. The speaker talks about different transitions bringing light upon the inner self.
Can we consider meditation as a substitute for normal sleep?
Meditation cannot be considered as a substitute for sleep because it only guides you to reach that state where you achieve consciousness while your body is turned off but your mind still needs rest. There are functions your body performs while sleeping that no other act can do. Sleeping helps you feel well rested and energizes your body more while Yoga Nidra helps to make your mind healthy. While mediation can help you to get rid of anxiety and stress this will help you to inturn sleep better but it cannot replace it totally.