How to sleep better depends on your state of mind. If you go to bed with a calm, peaceful mind, or at least a sense of peace and calm in the background of the noise of your mind, sleep will come much more easily.
If you go to bed carrying many worries or distracting thoughts, not only is sleeping more difficult, but the quality of sleep will likely be poor.
To get better sleep you need to be in a calm, relaxed state as you lay down to sleep.
How To Calm Your Mind
- As you lay down to sleep, instead of giving all of your focus and attention to the thoughts or feelings you have, take your awareness to your breath.
Simply notice what the breath is doing, feel its movements and the movements of the body with it. Do not judge or comment on what is happening, just allow the breath to flow.
Remain with the breath for a while. You may notice that thoughts or emotions are still arising, pulling your attention away from your breath. The important thing to remember is that it is ok for these thoughts and emotions to arise and even pull you away from awareness of your breath. Accept everything that arises, and go back to your breath.
- Feel that you are the awareness behind the breath, in the same way that you are the awareness of any thoughts or emotions that are arising.
This awareness does not judge or get involved with any thought or emotion, it is simply aware.
Practice this feeling of awareness, with an added awareness of space within the body. Begin by noticing the space of your breath, the space around your breath, and the silent space that fills your body.
Any distractions that arise do so within this silent space of awareness, which is part of who you are. Do not concern yourself with what your mind is doing, go deeper into the space by simply remaining as the space itself.
This silent space is full of peace and calm. As you go deeper into it your mind will slow down by itself, and your mind and body will go into a more relaxed state.
Be mindful of your body parts - your feet, legs, back etc - how do they feel? Notice any tension within them, as well as the space within and around them. As you become aware of any tension, it will release by itself.
Use the breath as part of this body mindfulness - as you breath in, imagine the breath moving in from your legs into your whole body, filling it in a balanced and peaceful way, dissolving any negativity or resistance as it does so.
Do Not Resist
No matter what your mind is doing, do not resist it, do not fear it. Simply be there as the witnessing consciousness of it, without judgement, and see what happens. Then there arises a gap between you and your thoughts - and you see that these thoughts are not who you are.
It can even be enjoyable to watch the futility of the mind as it throws up many fears and worries, concerns of past or future - these things serve no useful purpose at all, so withdraw your belief in them.
How to sleep better also involves grounding. Sleep can be disturbed by being ungrounded. In can result in scary dreams or feeling spaced out or out of your body.
Being grounded means that your energy is evenly balanced over your body, and that you can strongly feel your energetic connection to the earth. Sleep is easier in this state.
For grounding see the Grounding Meditation.
I have recorded a Sleep Meditation for anyone who would like an audio aid for better sleep.