Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sleep Meditation

Many people suffer with insomnia, or have a hard time sleeping at night. They feel that their mind is just too active to fall asleep, and when they do sleep, it seems to be restless sleep. There are various opinions and theories about how much sleep a person needs to function properly, however, it can vary depending on factors such as:

* health
* physical activity
* other circumstances

One thing everyone can agree on in regards to sleep. The more peaceful the sleep, the better and more rested we feel in the morning.

Sleep meditation is a form of regular meditation that can help relax the mind before sleeping, as well as relieve stress. This can result in more peaceful and deep sleep. There are many forms of sleep meditation. No matter which type you choose, there are some steps you should take before you begin the meditation process. This will help prepare your body for deeper, more restful sleep.

Before you begin sleep meditation, it is important for you to slow down your activities. Do not engage in heavy mental activity, and do not plan for the next day. If you wish, you can write down a to-do list before sleep meditation, but leave it in the other room. You should try to feel good about the day that is ending. It is best to acknowledge all that has been accomplished, and all the lessons that have been learned. Also, learn to forgive yourself for anything that may not have gotten done, or anything else that may be bothering you. In doing so, you are preparing your body for sleep meditation, and are giving yourself a better chance for restful sleep.

Next, before you begin sleep meditation, examine your eating habits. If you tend to eat shortly before you go to bed, you may be hindering restful sleep without even knowing it. When you eat directly before bedtime, your body will be busy with digestion, thus, it can be hard to sleep deeply. If you feel you need to eat close to bedtime, try to eat foods that are easily digested. This will help prepare your body for sleep meditation, as well as help promote deep, restful sleep.

Finally, before you start sleep meditation, you should practice left nostril breathing. Our two nostrils are often associated with two different types of energy. It is said that when we breathe through our right nostrils, we are energized and stimulated. When we breathe through our left nostrils, we are relaxed and calm.

During most hours of the day, approximately every two ours our dominant nostril changes. After we eat, our dominant nostril will most often change to the left one, in order to give our bodies the energy needed to digest food. This is why we commonly feel sleepy after we eat. To practice left nostril dominance before bed, we can sit quietly, blocking off the right nostril, while breathing long and deep through our left nostril. Doing this can actually help facilitate sleep.