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Meditation Techniques for Better Sleep

Guided Meditation  Guided Meditation

To prepare for guided meditation, turn off all of your electronics. You will, of course, need one to listen to your meditation guide, but there's no need to watch this, listening will work perfectly.  For this technique, start your guide video or audio, turn off the screen so it is dark and lay in your bed.  Relax and stretch out and take three deep breaths.  It's okay if your mind wonders during your meditation but try to bring it back into focus and concentrate on your breaths and the way your body moves as you breathe.  Then simply follow the audio of your guide.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Lay in your bed, make sure your room is dark and you're comfortable.  Then starting at the top of your head work your way down your body in the following exercise.  Tense each muscle for five seconds and then relax it, relax for ten seconds and then move on to the next grouping.  

  1. Forehead. Wrinkle your brow or raise your eyebrows up like you are surprised, then relax.
  2. Eyes and nose. Close your eyes tightly in a squint. Relax.
  3. Mouth, cheeks, and jaw. Stretch your mouth open, as in a yawn. Relax.
  4. Hands. Clench your fists, then release them and relax.
  5. Wrists and forearms. Hold your hands up like you are pushing an invisible wall and tense, then relax.
  6. Upper arms. Flex your biceps, then relax.
  7. Shoulders. Raise your shoulders towards your ears in a shrug, then relax.
  8. Back. Arch your back gently, then relax.
  9. Stomach. Tighten your stomach muscles like you are "sucking it in," then relax.
  10. Hips and glutes. Flex your glutes, then relax.
  11. Thighs. Tense your thigh muscles above the knees, then relax.
  12. Ankles and feet. Flex your feet, raising your toes as high as you can, then relax.
  13. Toes. Curl your toes as tightly as you can, then relax.

After this process, take a moment to simply feel.  If you have any muscles that are still tense repeat the tensing three to four times on that group to achieve relaxation. 

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is about paying close attention to how you are feeling.  You want to be relaxed in bed, and just concentrate on your body. Whatever thoughts and feelings you experience, note them and let it go.  Do not spend time analyzing and processing your thoughts during this.  Focus on what your body feels.  Start with five long deep breaths.  Focus on how this feels in your body, how your chest expands, and as you exhale imagine you are exhaling the day's events away.  Pay attention to how you are feeling.  You may have thoughts rushing through your head, but just let them go and focus on you.  Don't worry about fixing the day's problems or what you'll do tomorrow, just simply feel.  Focus on your body against the bed, pillow, how the blanket feels, the air around you, what you physically feel.  Take note of your body.  Are you feeling heavy or light?  Are you in pain anywhere? Are you tense? If you are experiencing any tension try the above muscle relaxation exercise.  Focus on how your breathing feels and moves your body.  Then, go through your day.  Think of the conversations and events but don't make it about solving the day, simply watch the day go by in your mind.  Once your day is back to you being in bed, focus again on your breathing and how your body is feeling.  Then last, turn off.  Start at your toes and focus on each part of your body and imagine them turning off. 

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