Anxiety, racing thoughts, and negative emotions can make it Mission Impossible to get a good night’s sleep—or any sleep at all. If your usual bedtime relaxation ritual just isn’t doing the trick, you might want to consider a fresh approach: reciting a mantra before bed.
Don’t worry: It isn’t complicated.
If you’re curious to learn more and try this out for yourself, keep reading. In this article, we’ll discuss what a mantra is and how it can help with sleep—in addition, we’ll provide you with several mantras you can consider using tonight.
What You Should Know About Mantras
Mantras date back roughly 3500 years and were first uttered in the Vedic Sanskrit language. Traditionally, mantras were used in Hinduism with the intention of either 1) communing with a deity to invoke their help, or 2) seeking to reach spiritual enlightenment. Over time, the concept of a ‘mantra’ spread outside its mother continent India and came to be used in and adapted for other, newer religions such as Jainism, Buddhism, and Taoism (among others).
While mantras are still used for spiritual and religious purposes today, they have also gained popularity as a means of meditation, relaxation, and focus. In this regard, the purpose of a mantra is to focus your mind on a single word, phrase, thought, or idea. Doing so centers your mind and your body, provides feelings of peace and positivity, and allows you to relax.
Some people find that chanting a mantra before bed helps them fall asleep faster and get a better night’s rest. And it turns out there’s some science behind this:
- The act of repetition has been shown to calm one’s cerebral cortex by reducing anxiety.
- This reduced anxiety promotes better sleep by increasing one’s melatonin levels at night.
Another reason reciting a mantra may help you fall asleep is that it can serve as an affirmation that you are, indeed, ready to unwind and go to sleep. This aspect of meditation is especially important if you struggle with racing thoughts at night or simply feel restless upon lying down in bed.
How to Add a Mantra to Your Bedtime Routine
Interested in adding a mantra to your bedtime routine? Here are a few tips for you:
— Choose a mantra
The first thing you should do is choose your mantra. You have several options in terms of language (Sanskrit or your native tongue) and category (specifically for sleep or more general). In addition, you can choose a mantra someone else has written or make your own.
There are a few things to remember when choosing or creating a mantra for yourself:
1. It should be positive.
2. It should be relatively short.
3. It should resonate with you.
— Lie still in bed
For best results, you should avoid tossing and turning in bed while reciting the mantra. Find a position that’s comfortable for you and stick with it—this will help to calm your body as well as your mind. Having a good, comfortable mattress can really help you settle into this.
— Focus on your breathing and how your body feels
It’s important to tune yourself into the way you feel before and while reciting the mantra.
Some people find that repeating one part of the mantra while inhaling and the other part while exhaling is an effective way to sync their mind with their body for relaxation.
Others use the 4-7-8 breathing method, during which one inhales for 4 seconds, holds their breath for 7, and exhales for 8. This technique is thought to help an individual slow their breathing, which is conducive to good sleep.
Another method is called the ‘body scan.’ Essentially, this is where you focus on one part of your body and strive to release tension or stress from it; you then move onto another part of your body, and so on.
Feel free to experiment and find what works best for you!
— Repeat the mantra several times
Once you have a mantra picked out and are well-situated, start repeating the mantra. You can do this in your head or out loud. By repeating it several times, you’re giving your mind something specific—and something positive—to dwell on. This will relax your mind and allow you to fall asleep more quickly.
— A Few Mantras You Can Try
In case you aren’t sure where to start, you can scan through the following sleep and anxiety mantras we’ve collected from around the web. If one or two of them resonate with you, try incorporating them into your bedtime routine tonight and see how you feel upon dozing off and waking in the morning.
- My mind is calm and my body is relaxed.
- I am becoming more relaxed with every breath.
- I am grateful for this time to rest.
- I deserve to rest.
- I breathe in peace and exhale stress.
- I rest inside a pause.
- The world is sleeping and all is well.
- All experiences are helping me grow.
- I love and approve of myself.
- I allow myself to be happy.
- Every heavy thing falls away.
- I am free to be in the present.
- I think best when I’m rested.
We hope you found this article useful and inspiring, and that you’re feeling better prepared to take the plunge and try mantra meditation before bed. You now know a little bit more about what a mantra is, the potential benefits of mantra repetition at night, and what types of mantras might work best for sleep.
If you have any questions—or maybe a favorite mantra/affirmation you’d like to share—feel free to drop us a comment!
Until next time, wishing you a more restful and calming slumber.
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