Updated: Jan 28, 2021
Getting a good night’s sleep may feel like a clamber up a craggy, slippery rock face at times. So much effort and very little rest! Re-wiring your body and mind to be able to sleep well again can take time. However, there are a number of small things that you can do with very little effort that add up, brick-by-brick, to re-build your temple of deep and peaceful sleep.
The combination of different tools and techniques, to treat the body and mind at the same time, unlock long-term change and transformation when it comes to your sleep. You will not only be improving your sleep but recalibrating your daily cycles and refilling your deepest resource of energy, creativity and insight.
In this article, I will explain how to harness the power of your mind by using sleep mantras or positive sleep affirmations. The simple quality of “I am” prefixed to a statement of desire can bring your mind into the present positive, rather than ruminating on less constructive future or past concerns.
How to practice sleep mantras
You can practice these sleep mantras when you are brushing your teeth, after an evening meditation, when you switch your light off and lay your head on your pillow or if you wake up in the middle of the night or too early in the morning.
It’s really as simple as recalling and repeating to yourself quietly a few positive, personal and present words over a duration of 5 to 10 minutes. Try to focus on the words and feel the words as true. As you repeat the mantra, feel the words becoming more and more alive, feel their meaning amplify and expand. If you get distracted, just gently bring your mind back to the words and start again. There is no need to feel frustrated, as each time you bring your mind back you are flexing your mindful muscles.
Practicing mantra and mindful breath at the same time can also make it easier to focus. The combination of mindful breath and a meditation brings you to a state of relaxation – and sleep – very quickly. Simply breath in as you say the first half of the sleep mantra and out as you repeat the second half. For example, “I am,” breathing in…. “so sleepy”, breathing out… Extending your outward breath slightly so that it is longer than your inward breath, also helps your body relax and let go even more.
Mantras are a way to flood your body and mind with a positive message with the intention of letting your body follow the lead from the mind. When we repeat mantras, we physically feel the energy of their meaning and are able to feel the positivity that they bring.
Here are a few sleep mantras - positive sleep affirmations - for you to try yourself.
12 Sleep Mantras
1. “I am so sleepy”
2. “I trust that I will fall asleep now and get all the sleep that I need”
3. “I am falling into a deep sleep”
4. “I am safe and secure in my bed (my family are also safe in their beds)”
5. “I am exactly where I should be in this moment”
6. “I am free from all concerns in this moment”
7. “I am ready for a long, deep, restorative sleep”
8. “I am deeply relaxed”
9. “I am free to fall asleep”
10. “I am letting go now”
11. “I am at peace with myself and the world"
12. “I am confident that my body knows how to sleep – there is nothing for me to do”
What does the science say?
Science is catching up with what the yogis have known all along. Focusing your mind in meditation helps to calm the default mode network in the brain that is responsible for feelings of distraction, over-reflection and mind-wandering. This over-active default mode network can result in our minds whirring at night, unable to find the off button, and is at the source of many modern sleeping problems.
Mindful meditation has been proven to help sleeping problems. In a 2015 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, found that mindful awareness practices significantly improved the sleep quality and levels of daytime sleepiness of trial participants.
Mantras are particularly useful at suppressing the default mode networks. A Swedish study in 2017, found that during an 11-minute practice of mantra meditation, the activity in the default mode network decreased significantly. They also suggested that it doesn’t matter whether you use Sanskrit words, words from other religious traditions or any particular group words at all. It’s the repetition and focus that really counts.
Choose words that make you feel safe, secure, sleepy and repeat them as you prepare your body and mind for a long, restorative night’s sleep.
Got a sleep question? Please fire away! Contact me to ask questions and book a free introduction call.