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Two Guided Meditations I Use to Fall Asleep at Night

I am not the best sleeper. I sometimes have trouble falling asleep at night and I almost always wake up in the middle of the night sometime around 3 a.m. and have to coax myself back to sleep. What is it about the 3 a.m. hour that intensifies everything and makes you feel like you need to run a marathon or get up and work? This is something I have struggled with since I entered the working world after college.

Over the years I have discovered ways to deal with these sleep issues and I want to share them with you because I know I’m not alone in this.

One of the most effective ways I calm my mind is practicing yoga in my head. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone through ashtanga primary series in my head, visualizing each inhale and exhale and every pose. 99% of the time I am asleep before I get to the seated postures.

Two Guided Meditations to Help You Fall Asleep at Night
If you don’t practice yoga or ashtanga, I have two tried and true meditations for you to try. I have played these meditations on countless nights and I don’t know what else to say other than they’ve been lifesavers for me.

1) Yoga Nidra led by Rod Stryker 


What is yoga nidra?

“Yoga nidra is a powerful technique from the Tantra Yoga tradition. It is both a name of a state and of a practice which creates an altered state of consciousness allowing the practitioner to relax and heal their being, expand their faculty of imagination, enter the realm of subconscious and superconscious, effectively manifest seemingly magical changes in their life, certain karmic debris in their life clear (if you believe in Karma) and assist in reaching a state called by some enlightenment.”source

I have been using Rod Stryker’s guided yoga nidra meditations since I went through yoga teacher training four years ago. They are both relaxing and transformative.

Here are links to two of Rod’s guided meditations that you can play:
Yoga International

Even if you’re not looking to use this for sleep it’s an amazing meditation for relaxation. Please try it!

2) Ribbon Breath Meditation

This ribbon breath meditation takes you through the chakras– the energy system of the human body–to promote body, mind, emotional and spiritual health and balance to find a deep state of relaxation.

I will admit that this is meditation is a little more “out there” but it works for me every time.

How do you deal with sleep issues? What tools and methods have you discovered to help you fall asleep and stay asleep? 

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Kacy November 20, 2014, 5:21 am

    Love Rod Stryker’s guided meditation too- used it during high stress/anxiety driven times! I’m really excited to try the ribbon technique! I’ve written about this before in my blog, but I used to (and still do) imagine a large yellow ribbon circling around my belly. I am convinced that the healing power of creative visualization helped put me into remission with my UC.

    • Jen November 21, 2014, 11:52 am

      that is so powerful kacy and i definitely believe in the power of intention with our thoughts and visualization.

  • Kira S November 20, 2014, 11:26 am

    Have you used any of the guided meditations on the Insight Timer app? I haven’t, but was wondering if there are some good ones. Maybe I’ll try a few over the next couple of days!

    • Jen November 21, 2014, 11:51 am

      i have not. i use the insight timer for meditation but haven’t tried the guided. let me know if you stumble across any good ones.

  • susan November 20, 2014, 11:45 am

    have you heard of young living essential oils? they are amazing and have oils that promote relaxation and sleep. let me know if you’re interested!! i have samples too!

    • Jen November 21, 2014, 11:51 am

      i have not susan! sounds interesting!

  • tara November 20, 2014, 12:57 pm

    i was literally up at 3AM this mornging form hearing a noise outside which eventually morphed into someone is out there breaking into my house and going to murder me. i never did find out what the noise was. if i cant sleep i count backwards from a number and deep breath in between. if i forget the number i start over. so say in my mind i “say” 20, deep long breath in and out, 19, deep long breath in and out, and so on. most of the time i dont get to far and find myself forgetting my number by 15. my boyfriend sometimes uses a white noise machine as well.

    • Jen November 21, 2014, 11:51 am

      oh i love the white noise app on my phone and turn it on many nights! love your breathing countdown technique.

  • Lauren L November 20, 2014, 1:22 pm

    Hey Jen! Long time blog reader. Thank you SO much for this post. I have been dealing with sleep issues since after college and have a lot of the same difficulties you wrote about. I just started going to yoga again regularly and meditating daily and I am hoping these help. I will definitely check out these meditations! Thanks for being so open and not making me feel so alone in this. 🙂

    • Jen November 21, 2014, 11:50 am

      you are so welcome! thank you for taking the time to comment and for reading.

  • Vanessa November 20, 2014, 2:16 pm

    Remove all clocks from your bedroom and don’t use your phone to check the time. This trick has worked for me because I don’t spend those middle-of-the-night-wake-ups stressing about the fact that it’s 3 am and I should be sleeping and the alarm is going to ring in 3 hours and then I have to go to work and at work I have to take care of this, this, and this, etc.

    • Jen November 21, 2014, 11:50 am

      how do you wake up if you remove all of the clocks???

  • Courtney November 20, 2014, 2:24 pm

    I’ve become a light sleeper over the past few years and have often woken up around 3am having to coax myself back to sleep as well. I did lots of things that were helpful but never fully solved the problem (sleepytime tea, white noise machine, don’t drink fluids too close to bed, etc.) and just in the past few months developed full blown sleep maintenance insomnia – this is where I fall asleep okay but wake up between 12:30-1:30am and am up for HOURS. Especially problematic when you have to be up for the day at 5am and you’re barely falling back to sleep by 4am. Finally I decided to go see an acupuncturist and within one week, I was sleeping like a baby every night. Totally worth it!

    • Jen November 21, 2014, 11:49 am

      wow! courtney, that is amazing. i have heard such great things about acupuncture. i need to give it a try!

  • Katie November 20, 2014, 3:48 pm

    I love your blog….you inspire me to do more yoga! I’ve never commented, but since you’re asking about sleep…this is what helps me: I take a health product called Plexus Slim (it does help with weight loss, which you don’t need, but it’s SO much more) it is an all natural “pink drink” that helps balance blood sugar, so it helps with energy, mood, cravings, appetite and sleep! I’ve never slept or felt better in my life. My friend sleeps so much better that she is off of her Ambien. It also helps with my running and workouts (no more pain!) and my recovery is WAY shorter. I couldn’t go a day without it.

    • Jen November 21, 2014, 11:49 am

      katie – thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. i appreciate you sharing info on this…i’ve never heard of it so i’ll do some reading!

      • Katie November 21, 2014, 12:47 pm

        No problem…I can’t help but share! I have a website where you can look into the products and I am happy to answer any questions along the way! 🙂 http://www.pasoslim.com

  • Liz November 21, 2014, 5:55 am

    I made your flourless chocolate chip cookies last night. So good, thanks for sharing! I may take them for my cookie exchange this year! Any other holiday cookie recipes you have to pass along?

  • erin November 29, 2014, 6:43 pm

    these are awesome!! can’t wait to listen to the meditations and love the suggestions in the comments. i’m 8 months pregnant and recently, i just can’t get a good night’s sleep. i’m really hoping that these suggestions will help.

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