When the buzz in your thoughts is keeping you awake at night, you can shun it away through sleep guided meditation. Unlike your average type of meditation, guided techniques provide a series of huge advantages. If you’re curious to see what they are and how you can get into this lifestyle, continue reading below.
Meditation is one of the best stress relief methods. It cleanses the mind and purifies the soul, all from the inside-out, with zero resources, and with little spare time on your hands. But the very concept of it can be baffling to some people. “How can I not think about anything?”
Us getting distracted by numerous things around is a frequent occurrence, associated with the hectic lives of the 21st century. Guided meditations, however, manage to keep your attention by instructing you on which steps to take toward your goal. Alternatively, sleep guided meditation is especially focused on breaking that irritating train of thought.
What Is Guided Meditation?
Though guided meditation, you are able to enter a state of deep concentration that can rid your mind of stressful thoughts and reinvigorate your spirit. The key word in here is “guided” because it’s what draws the biggest difference between normal meditation and guided meditation.
The guide can either be a physical person (an instructor) or an audio/video recording. Through the latter, it’s much easier to have access to this method from your own household at any given time.
Your mind will embark on an imaginative journey. Because the brain cannot distinguish between imagined and real events, they will have an effect as impactful as if it was actually happening. Of course, when it comes to negative experiences, this can be a pretty bad thing. We can say that anxiety brews specifically because we over-worry and concern ourselves with scenarios that only exist in our heads.
But if the journey is positive, then the effects guided meditation has on you are amazing. In the deep concentration state your brain is in, you are able to open your mind to benefic suggestions. And the best part is that they will definitely stick to your subconscious!
How Does It Work?
In the first instance of guided meditation, the instructor is going to gradually herd your mind into a relaxed state. The exercises vary, depending on the purpose of the meditation, but they mostly involve basic visualization exercises. Sometimes you will have to rely on a mantra, a specific word or image that you can keep your attention on.
As the process is unfolding, you will gradually begin to shred stress and the other negative feelings blurring your psyche. This is when the real beneficial shifts begin to happen.
Your brain functions on a highly complex system of numerous elements. One of those elements: neural pathways. Whenever you experience something in real life, your neural pathways receive signals and store the information they got. Depending on the nature of your experience, the stored information will have either a positive or negative impact in the future.
For example, if you had once attempted to bake something and ended up setting the stove on fire, your brain will remember that. Next time you open the oven, you will likely experience the same negative emotions that had rushed through you back then.
What guided meditation essentially does is reprogram the storage of neural pathways in order to remove the negative association. After undergoing some pleasant guided meditation sessions that cater to your needs, you will start baking again with a newfound positive approach.
Sleep Guided Meditation
Guided meditation branches out in several categories, all of which appeal to the different needs of the person partaking in this therapeutic treatment. Some aim to improve positive thinking. Some work better for emotional thinking or spiritual development. And then there are those that can help with a much more palpable and, unfortunately, common issue: sleep-related problems.
Have any of you had trouble actually falling asleep after you had gently laid your head to rest? Sometimes it simply doesn’t matter how tired you are, whether your eyes are having difficulties even opening. You’re starting to drift to sleep and, suddenly, you start thinking of something. This one thing leads to another thing and, by the time you know it, you’re unable to keep your mind empty and relaxed.
If this is a common occurrence, one way to empty your mind and get rid of the thoughts impairing your slumber is through meditation.
The premise is encouraged by studies and research. Harvard Medical School referred to a study that concluded with the benefic effects of meditation on sleep:
The study, which appears in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine, included 49 middle-aged and older adults who had trouble sleeping. Half completed a mindfulness awareness program that taught them meditation and other exercises designed to help them focus on “moment-by-moment experiences, thoughts, and emotions.” The other half completed a sleep education class that taught them ways to improve their sleep habits.
Both groups met six times, once a week for two hours. Compared with the people in the sleep education group, those in the mindfulness group had less insomnia, fatigue, and depression at the end of the six sessions.
How Can I Experience It?
You can partake in a guided meditation session either in a specialized class or at home. In turn, the latter gives two options: with the help of an instructor or through audio and/or video recordings. Needless to say, you should opt for the second for accessibility and practical purposes. It’s free, it’s useful, it’s practical, and you can gain access to it whenever you feel like you need it.
In the case of sleep guided meditation, however, wordless is better. There may be some guided sleep meditation MP3’s that instruct you only during the introductory part of the audio. After all, it’d be pretty difficult to fall asleep with someone talking in your ear, no matter how relaxing it’s intended to be.
The Beneficial Effects of Sleep Guided Meditation
Since it’s only a subcategory of guided meditation, sleep guided meditation bestows those practicing it with the same set of beneficial effects. Those come to improve your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being.
But there is only one main issue that sleep guided meditation can help with…
#1 Better Nights
Press play on your MP3 or phone, shut your eyes closed, and immerse yourself in a realm of imagination and relaxation. Some people may require a one-hour-long program and travel through the whole journey to get the full experience. Some may only need five minutes to cleanse their worries away. Much of the process is still the same.
First, you need your head to relax. Then, you need to clear it off thoughts and then your mind becomes like an empty canvas, filled with positivity.
#2 Cognitive Development
The reason why some of us struggle to fall asleep is because we’re burdened. We either start worrying too much about things or we’re under so much constant stress that it’s become a norm. The fact that you can’t focus on NOT focusing is a real problem.
Sleep guided meditation can improve your slumber through polishing your cognitive abilities. If you’re able to concentrate better, your head is clear enough to allow itself to be relaxed. Moreover, it will also improve your memory and the development of your skills.
#3 Imagination Doors
No matter how you put it, there are few things as wonderful as boarding on a magical journey at the end of a stressful day of work. The visual cues that you receive from sleep guided meditation may all be in your head, but your brain doesn’t know that!
One of the methods through which you let go of stress and negative feelings impairing your sleep is by replacing them with something positive. An experience of the imagination is going to leave you happy, content, and completely unaware of all the bad you’ve left behind.
#4 Spiritual Development
There is a particular type of sleep guided meditation that invokes binaural beats. They’re a superior form of technology that uses sound to tap into and alter brain waves. This particular system is going to help you listen more carefully to your instinctual choices. Many times, we find ourselves staying up because we’re torn apart by questions.
The use of binaural beats, combined with wording and imagery specific to this type of sleep guided meditation, helps those that are in dire need of answers.
#5 Fog Clearer
Anxiety and depression are two of the other things that can keep us awake at night. Anxiety, primarily, clouds your head with piles of concerns, worries, and profound negative feelings. Likewise, depression manifests like a dark cloud of misery.
Through the prowess of sleep guided meditation, you can have your subconscious reprogram the ties that have you bound to depressive and anxious episodes. Especially if practiced religiously, sleep guided meditation will also help you in the long run.
#6 Physical Benefits
Regular use of sleep guided meditation can also have the following physical benefits:
- Reducing muscular tension;
- Strengthening your immune system;
- Hastens recovery from strenuous exercise;
- Decreasing high blood pressure;
- Lowering cholesterol levels;
- Reducing risk of cardiovascular disease;
- Reducing strain related pain, such as headaches;
- Ability to sleep more deeply and restfully;
- Improving flow of air to the lungs, which results in easier breathing;
- Reducing free radicals – organic molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage, and possibly some diseases;
- Reducing levels of stress hormones such as cortisol;
- Increasing feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
#7 Visualization Skills
If you don’t consider yourself to be particularly imaginative, sleep guided meditation can actually help you develop in this area as well. The core of this type of training is the ability to transpire into an imaginary world and to be able to visualize the things the guide is instructing you to.
Sometimes it can be easier than done, but it’s almost a guarantee that you will be able to through the assistance of a sleep meditation guide. This is because, a lot of the time, a lot of the audios also contain pieces that depict the sounds of the supposed environment. For example, if you need to go to a waterfall, you will get to HEAR the waterfall.
#8 Emotional Development
Struggling to display affection or to open to other people is a real hassle. It may not be one of the things impairing a proper night’s sleep, but it affects our daily lives. When you think about it, you will also be able to wake up better after a good night’s sleep.
When filled by joy, content, and positive feelings, it becomes fairly easy to carry on through an average day with different vibes. Because your perspectives change, you might be surprised by the shifts you will see in your affectivity and interpersonal relations.
#9 Heart Rate & Blood Pressure
Even without having contact with meditation prior, you’ve probably heard of many yoga and meditation instructors telling people to “breathe.” This serves many purposes with the main one being that it helps you get a better grip of yourself.
By being less prone to panicking, depression, and anxiety, you will benefit from a lower heart rate. This is pretty much the equivalent to you being in a constant state of calmness.
#10 No Effort, No Resources
Last but not least, it barely requires any investments. Sure, this is an advantage, but this is also a contributor to your wellbeing. Since most sleep guided meditation recordings are free, accessible, and personal, you will be more likely to be excited over it.
After all, money is a source of a stress. Having to jump out of your bed to head over to a class can sometimes be bothersome too. There’s none of this nonsense here.
Sleep guided meditation fulfills what it promises in its name – it helps you peacefully snooze away. However, the benefits in the long run are much more impactful. It’s because of this that you should consider including it in your everyday ritual.