I did a guided meditation every night for a week and it changed my quality of sleep

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Falling asleep is hard enough when the world is peachy and wonderful—but let’s just say that 2020 has done no favors for anyone’s quality of sleep.

Between working from home full time, being on lockdown, and not knowing what’s on the horizon, it’s completely normal that so many of us have been struggling to get a good night’s sleep.

That said, I haven’t exactly been trying my hardest to practice healthy sleep hygiene—but when I started feeling like I needed a nap half way through the afternoon, I knew I had to try something to get out of my funk… and sleeptime meditation seemed to be worth a try.

Here’s exactly what went down when I decided to try practicing guided meditation every night for a week—and why I will be continuing to practice the healthy night time habit into the future.

Day One

I’m pretty used to doing guided meditations—I used to work at a personal development startup a few years ago and, yeah, you get the idea.

There were a lot of woo-woo practices involved in our team building activities and daily team meetings. I got used to the concept of meditation and took it with me when I left to pursue my own business.

That said, I usually only mediate when I’m stressed out or anxious—and definitely not as part of my evening routine—so trying to work it into what I already struggle with was, well, a struggle.

I usually fall asleep watching TV (I know it’s not the healthiest!) and then wake up to brush my teeth and do my minimal skincare practice so remembering to work in a guided meditation—even on day one—was quite the challenge but I managed to do a 10-minute night time recording that I found on the Headspace app.

Day Two

I actually forgot to do my night time meditation on the second day. I was already in bed with my eye mask on when I darted out from under the covers to grab my phone.

I crawled back into bed and just put on a sleep meditation and popped in my earbuds. It was super relaxing and actually calmed me down better than the usual sleep stories I listen to from the Calm app. I made a mental note to try meditating while already in bed tomorrow as well.

Day Three

I woke up this morning before my partner—it’s a true miracle! I usually sleep until he wakes me with the scent of coffee but I actually got up and made the coffee for once today.

I’m not sure if it was entirely because of the meditation but I definitely feel more rested and didn’t wake up in the middle of the night, which I usually do.

I decided to get into bed around 9pm tonight (admittedly I was tired after getting up so early) and read rather than watch TV. After about an hour and a half I popped on a random sleep meditation on the Calm app and fell asleep before it was even finished.

Day Four

I’m feeling genuinely rested today for the first time in a while. I also noticed my general energy level and spirits were a lot higher than they’d been in a while—coronavirus has made it tough to get excited about things, you know?

I always thought it was an exaggeration when sleep and wellness experts suggested turning off all screens long before trying to fall asleep but it really does help—and adding in the guided meditation while I’m trying to sleep has only made it easier and more relaxing to try and get grounded before bed.

Day Five

Honestly this practice has worked really well for me.

I’ve never had great sleep hygiene—I’m always struggling to fall asleep, spending half of the night on the couch, or sleeping way late into the morning, but getting into bed early and being intentional about what I consume while I’m trying to wind down for the evening has been a total game changer for me.

Not only did the guided meditation help me fall—and stay—asleep much easier, but crawling into bed and reading instead of allowing myself to fall asleep watching reruns of Real Housewives felt like I had finally broken a bad habit I didn’t want to admit I had.