Sometimes I lie in bed, anxiously waiting for my brain to shut up. My brain goes on and on with random thoughts; chatting away excitedly, all while I just sit there, silently watching the minutes pass by on the clock. My brain often times doesn’t get the hint that I want to go to sleep.
I have an arsenal of sleep techniques, which include taking a warm bath, reading the words most boring books, playing audio-books & sleep stories, watching “Moving Art” on Netflix, and/or listening to white-noise apps. In worst case scenarios, possibly taking Melatonin. But, for me, the most effective way to get to sleep has been guided mediations.
Guided mediation is like a sleep-story, but instead of just listening to the narrator tell you a story, you focus on the narrator as he/she guides you into relaxation. Basically, helping you obtain self-awareness. Sometimes is a visual guide (like relaxing on a beach) or a basic guide to breathing and relaxing the body. The entire point is to calm your busy brain and relax the body.
I may have shared this before, but I tell ya, I love these guys! The Honest Guys, on YouTube. They have amazing guided mediation videos and if you aren’t much of a visual person, just the sounds alone are peaceful enough to induce relaxation.
Below is one of my favorite videos I listen to that help me go to sleep. I love it for several reasons:
- It’s a short video, only 30 minutes, but for whatever reason, I am out like a light before it’s over!
- The deep breathing exercise, in this particular video, is different than some of their other videos. Instead of just taking in a few deep breaths, this video guides you along a breathing technique called “4-7-8 breathing,” in which, studies have shown to help the nervous system relax.
- This video also guides you through your noisy brain, by helping you return to the present moment, rather than floating off into the future or dwelling behind in the past.I have noticed that if I truly focus on listening to the guided mediation, my noisy brain does fade away into the background.
- The guide (Rick Clarke) speaks with a slow, whispered deep voice. It is the whispering of his voice that seems to produce a feeling of relaxation, which is an interesting phenomenon, known as ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). This is actually a new trend that is supposedly therapeutic for those with depression, insomnia, and anxiety.Even the popular App, Calm, has ASMR “sleep” stories, in which their sleep stories are narrated with a whisper. For me, I personally prefer listening to Calm’s Sleep Stories narrated by Matthew McConaughey. 🙂
- The sounds are of really good quality and thus, I totally recommend a pair of headphones. The sounds are perfectly balanced and serene. The music is calming and the nature sounds are not distorted, too loud, or fake.I mean, to me, there are some videos (and apps) out there where ocean waves just sound like tv static. It’s terrible!
However, I have learned, that for this guided meditation to be most effective, you must put forth some effort, especially, if you have a really chatty brain, in listening to the guided mediation and doing the breathing exercises – otherwise, it’s no different than having a radio station playing in the background.
Last night, my brain was super chatty and I kept wandering away from the guided meditation. So, I re-started the guided mediation with the full intent to focus on the sounds of the meditation and without even realizing it, my brain shut up (or faded in the background) and I eventually fell asleep.
If you suffer from insomnia or anxiety, please give this a try. I know it may not work for everyone, but it never hurts to try, especially, if nothing else seems to help. Please have an open mind and hope you enjoy. ❤
Oh, another thing… The Honest Guys are so cool, they have visual guided mediations that are Lord of the Rings themed!