How Sleep Meditation Helps My Family Go To Bed
“Can I have goldfish first?”
“But I’m so thirsty.”
“Only 10 minutes left of this show, mom. Please.”
As a mother of three children, bedtime was always preceded by statements that were associated with words such as stress, struggle and violence. My children never went to bed willingly; The process of getting her to sleep was long, painful, and something I feared on a daily basis. And bedtime is not a waltz to dreamland for me either. While I’ve always enjoyed sleeping, I despise the hour or two before the moment my head hits the pillow.
Even then, I toss and turn, my mind racing to thoughts of anything and everything that has ever gone wrong in my life (and could ever go wrong). I have an active mind and bedtime is the perfect time for me to think back to that time three years ago when I yelled at my daughter. What kind of damage have I done? It’s also a perfect time to rehearse this upcoming presentation at work as the butterflies have kept me wide awake. And God forbid, I turn around to look at the clock and start the fun game, “How many hours of sleep do I get if I fall asleep?” Sleep and I just don’t mix. I was no better than my kids and struggled with the process of falling asleep. It’s a process that should be enjoyable, relaxing, and calming, but it has always been one of the most stressful parts of my already long day.
But then I discovered the world of sleep meditations. After a friend told me how successfully she had lost a lot of weight with a hypnotist in private practice, I started looking for a hypnotist for weight loss on YouTube. Somehow this random search for a quick fix to my fluctuating weight led me to Michael Sealey. Sealey is trained in hypnosis and has a large collection of guided meditations and sleep stories on YouTube designed to guide you to relax before bed. There are meditations to calm fears of traditional calming thunderstorm and rain noises and much more. Each meditation lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours, and his meditations changed my sleep routine forever.
Sleep is such an important part of our emotional and physical wellbeing, and these meditations have forced me to focus on resting and put everything else into the background. They lead me to calm my mind, slow my breathing and, as Sealey reminds me during the meditations, to let go of any stray thoughts as I breathe deeply in and out. Falling asleep really feels like a relaxing journey now. My sleep was instantly more restful and I now wake up refreshed and ready to go every morning. In fact, a recent study confirmed what I experienced: Mindfulness and meditation can improve the quality of sleep.
I soon decided to pass my new and improved bedtime on to my son, who continued to have trouble falling asleep. He’s an active little guy, a constant speaker, and full of energy from waking up to the moment you want his eyes to close. Sealey’s meditations were a bit advanced for a 7 year old, but a quick search led me to New Horizon Meditation and Sleep Stories for Kids – and my son loved it from day one.
New Horizons Meditations for Children are bedtime stories about unicorns, dolphins and fairies that incorporate breathing techniques. Not only do these stories encourage children to breathe slowly and deeply, they also provide the best visualization aids my son has used during the day when he is frustrated or emotional. A story tells the children to imagine their feet forming roots that are firmly anchored in the ground and sending the message that they are safe and grounded. Another suggests that children imagine that their thoughts are balloons over their heads, and when they come up with a thought they don’t want, they just cut the string on the balloon and let go.
These meditations saved me and my son. He no longer defies bedtime with requests for food or drinks. Many nights he even starts going to bed himself and says, “I am now ready to ascend.” He may think he’s just hearing a bedtime story to help him sleep, but he also learns to calm his fears, focus his thoughts on the positive, and realize that he is safe and surrounded by love.
Just recently, before going to bed, he asked me, “Do you want to know where my safe places are, Mom?”
Hmmmmm. I wondered where he’d heard of this concept. “Sure, Emmet. Where are your safe places?”
“My safe places are in the car and at school.”
I couldn’t believe what I had just heard! How fantastic that my son has two safe places and can identify them as such. I kissed him good night and played with his favorite unicorn sleep meditation. Then I heard the soothing voice. “You are in a safe place now,” said the voice.