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Healing & Well-Being

Sleep Better: A Guide to Meditation Before Bed

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Currently, 2,500 apps exist to provide you with guided meditations at bedtime. The apps are for those chasing tranquility before bed.

If you’re looking for an app or have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia, you may want to try a simple meditation before bed that refocuses your mind on the Lord.

Person holding a phone with apps displayed.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” 

Before you retire, why not draw near to God as you lay yourself down and prepare to sleep through the night?

Whatever your sleep pattern, sleep hygiene, or length of sleep cycle, you can train your internal clock and improve your quality of sleep with good sleep hygiene principles and a meditation practice.

Let’s explore a Christian sleep meditation guide that helps you gain the benefits of meditation and get your best sleep.

How to meditate for better sleep

It’s easier to meditate during the day when you’re fresh and full of vigor. At the end of a long, tiring day, when you’re ruminating on the day’s events or thinking about the next day’s battles, it might be more challenging.

Man lying down on a bed

Here are a few steps to help you set the scene and meditate before sleep:

  • Turn off all your electronic devices and get the kids into bed. Wear comfortable clothes and turn down the lights. Lie down on your bed with your head on a pillow and close your eyes. 
  • Focus on your breathing: Inhale and exhale.
  • When your mind wanders, surrender to the Lord. In your heart, say, “Jesus, I trust in you,” and let the thought go. 
  • Focus on your breathing again until you’re present in the moment and recall a Bible verse. It could be your first call to faith or your favorite verse. Meditate on the words of the gospel passage. 
  • If any disturbing memories or negative thoughts come to you, surrender again and exhale. Allow the thought to leave you. 
  • Perish any doubt or distrust. In Genesis 18:8, the Lord says to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Whatever your worries, surrender them in the hands of an all-powerful God. 
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Sleep relaxation exercises

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There are various deep sleep relaxation exercises that you can do before bedtime, such as the breathing exercise that we discussed earlier.

A variant of this is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. 

Here, you inhale for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight seconds. 

Repeat this several times. Meditative breathing exercises can lower cortisol levels, which are associated with stress. Once this breathing exercise becomes a healthy sleep habit, you can add on and master others.

Another relaxation exercise is autogenic training. 

It uses a series of exercises to focus the mind on specific physical sensations. These include sensations of warmth and heaviness in different areas of the body.

After you finish the breathing exercise in bed, say to yourself, “My arm is heavy” five times. Or you could cue yourself to feel warm by saying, “My leg is warm.” For this exercise, you target one part of your body at a time.

Through these cues, you can create a state of calmness in different areas of the body and induce a sleep cycle.

If you experience daytime sleepiness or have narcolepsy, then you should skip this exercise.

Meditation before bed

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Alternatively, you can meditate and reflect on Bible scenarios. The most popular verse is Psalm 23. You can use this entire Psalm as a guided imagery technique. 

Jesus also quotes the allegory of the sheep and the shepherd in His parables. Commit the Psalm to memory and juxtapose yourself against the sheep. 

Jesus is the shepherd who makes you lie down in green pastures, leads you beside quiet waters, and refreshes your soul. He lavishes His attention on His sheep and is even willing to die for their care. 

jesus with sheep on his shoulder and surrounded by sheep

Imagine the green pasture, a lovely meadow, a gurgling brook, and the carefree sheep basking in their shepherd’s care.

You could use various Biblical passages to meditate for a good night’s sleep using imagery, such as Jesus calming the storm, teaching at the Mount, or praying in the early morning at the tomb of the resurrection.  

This is helpful for those who have chronic insomnia and for whom sleep onset takes longer.

Guided meditation

You can also complete a guided meditation, which is a meditation technique that leads you through the meditation process and helps you stay in the present moment. 

Our meditative prayers can serve as this guide. 

You can do guided meditation with or without an aid. An aid could be a visual scene or a painting in your sleep environment. 

To start, you can try without an aid by using these famous Bible verses as a guided sleep meditation. 

Repeat these verses as you breathe gently:

  1. Proverbs 3:24 - If you sit down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
  2. Psalms 4:8 - I will both lie down and sleep in peace for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
  3. Psalms 3:5 - I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
  4. Psalms 127:2 - It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for he gives sleep to his beloved. 
  5. 1 Peter 5:7 - Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
  6. Isaiah 26:3–4 - Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace, in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.
  7. Philippians 4:6–7 - Do not worry about anything but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
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Jesus is the answer

There are numerous meditation guides and apps out there to improve poor sleep and overall well-being. Yet, despite all the sleep hygiene and wellness practices, the one answer to it all is Jesus. He is the good shepherd who promises to let His sheep lie down in green pastures.

No matter what your circumstances, sleep problems, or how broken or lost you are, Jesus asks us to come to Him with all our burdens.

Take the time to create your sleep meditation routine. If you need help, try out our program that uses biblical bedtime stories and daily prayer as a sleep foundation to help you fix your eyes on Jesus and get a better night's sleep.

Download our app from the Apple store or Google Play store and read a few bedtime Bible stories or get meditation guidance for better, more restful sleep.

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