In this time of heightened anxiety, good quality sleep can prove more elusive than ever. One tactic that has been found to quiet the mind, reduce stress and — when done before bedtime — help us sleep more soundly is meditation.
Thrive Global and Audible have enlisted the help of best-selling author, motivational speaker, and life coach Gabby Bernstein to create an original meditation meant to help you drift off. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll feel centered, calm, and ready for a restful night of sleep. “It’s essential, now more than ever, to help give ourselves the sleep our body needs,” Bernstein shares on her Facebook. “I recorded a Yoga Nidra Meditation to help.”
Meditation is central to Bernstein’s own days. “I’ve made the commitment to amp up my spiritual practice now more than ever,” she tells Thrive. While she knows that meditating can feel intimidating for those new to it, or not a priority for some, she encouraging us all to try, even one minute a day, to reap the well-being benefits. In this interview, Bernstein shares her own evening routine and a one-minute meditation we can try right now. Then, wind down tonight with her free Yoga Nidra-style guided meditation meant to help you fall asleep.
Thrive Global: How are you coping and handling stress these days?
Gabby Bernstein: I wake up at 5:45 a.m. to take a bath and meditate. Then as soon as my son goes down for a nap I meditate again for forty minutes at noon. In the evening, I follow all the sleep hygiene rules. All of these practices are non negotiable right now. My positive energy is my highest priority so that I can show up for my family and for the world.
TG: Your bedtime routine is really important to you. Can you share what you do?
GB: I power down an hour before bed. No devices in the room! I take a bath, then I read for 20 minutes. I like to read spiritual books before bed. Then I meditate with the lights off and mantra music on. I practice Yoga Nidra to help me fall asleep. And if I feel too amped to sleep, I’ll stretch, journal, and maybe take a salt bath.
TG: Meditation is a huge part of your life, and you encourage everyone to practice. But it can be intimidating for some. How does it help?
GB: When meditation becomes your habit, your life will change forever. You’ll no longer look to your phone for distractions like news updates, mindless videos or social media to numb out. Instead you’ll log in to meditate. All it takes is a minute a day to start. As you add up the days, feeling good becomes a habit that is stronger than your fear. Your daily meditation practice will give you energy, release anxiety, and calm your nervous system. When you reduce your stress, your body benefits.
TG: What if someone is new to meditation and doesn’t think they can do it?
GB: A lot of people are saying that they don’t have time to meditate right now. Start out by practicing a one-minute breath and do that daily. Each day add a minute. This practice alone will be something you can turn to whenever you feel anxious.
Here’s how it works: Sit comfortably in your meditation space (remember, it can be a closet, a bathtub, a backyard, wherever you can be alone for a moment). Gently close your eyes and practice this one-minute breath pattern
Then, focus on your breath. Important note about your breath. When you meditate I suggest that on the inhale you extend your diaphragm and on the exhale you relax it. This is yogic breath and it ensures that you get a full inhale and exhale. Breathe in for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, and release your breath for five seconds
You can do this for just one minute to start. But if you are inspired to practice this meditation longer, you can press play on soothing music and continue.
Audible and Thrive Global have come together to bring you exclusive, original audio sleep experiences — like guided meditations and bedtime stories — to help you recharge during these restless times. While we will be making this content available for free, Audible and #FirstRespondersFirst will also be donating meals daily through Newark Working Kitchens to help make sure first responders and those in need don’t go to bed hungry. You can learn more here.