The Easiest Way to Meditate Before Bed
What do you do when your head hits the pillow but your brain is still working? In the past, we have recommended box breathing , visual image shuffling , and various relaxation routines . But I always thought that it was either too much work for my brain or too boring to do them for several minutes at a time. I came up with a new, easier way, and it really works.
I mean, I know I’m not the only person who thinks too much about my breathing if I have to “focus on my breathing”. (Am I breathing too deeply? Oh no, I was inhaling longer than I was exhaling, it must be the other way around, right? Okay, now my nose feels weird.) And while I understand what the structure of apps and podcasts meant for meditation, I know that if I pick up my phone to launch the app, I’ll just be sucked into Instagram or Reddit or something like that.
So I drew inspiration from all that has been written about how meditation can be anything . Let’s not over complicate.
Count 100 breaths
That’s it, it’s a hack. Lie down, close your eyes and count how many breaths you have taken. When you hit 100, you’re done. (Most likely, you will fall asleep before you get there.)
You may find it more accessible than the fancier forms of meditation because there are no other rules . You can think of anything between the numbers until you stop counting. However, there is no penalty for losing your account: just dial the last number you remember. We were over 30? Okay, 31…32…
You don’t need to breathe deeply, you don’t need to “focus on your breath” or count the length of your inhales and exhales. You do not need to tense or relax any muscles. You don’t have to lie still, and you definitely don’t have to look at your watch or wait for the timer to ring or listen to a recorded voice telling you what to do. Just count the next breath.
How does it feel to fall asleep like this
I did this last night when I thought I wouldn’t be tired enough to sleep. I’ve lost count of about 50 several times, and the last number I clearly remember is 82. My sleep app tells me that I usually take 15 breaths per minute while I sleep. This would mean that a score of 100 would be somewhere around 6-7 minutes. Maybe 5 if you’re fast, maybe 10 if you keep losing count.
What happens if you reach 100 and still don’t sleep? Re-evaluate. If you’re fully awake, it might be time to get out of bed and do something else (sleep experts always suggest reading a book) and try again later. On the other hand, if you are relaxed and want to sleep, maybe just lie on the pillow a little longer. You can do another cycle of 100 breaths if you like.