Quick Body Scan for Sleep
Here's a quick body scan to help you decrease or let go of your stress, and help you fall asleep. I recognize that I have never written about body scans before, even in all my writing on mindfulness. When I was in my graduate program I learned to do body scans each night as I had to come off sleeping medication for insomnia in order to work 24 hour awake shifts. It was a challenge, but this quick meditation helped me essentially learn to sleep without medication.
Body scans are exactly what they sound like, you are scanning your body, noticing any tingles, aches, pains, and even the temperature in your body, or of the sheets, you may even notice the weight of your body as it molds into your mattress. A scan may last anywhere from 1 to 20 minutes.
Lie down, close your eyes, and begin to take note of the sensations in each part of your body, starting at your toes, and traveling up to the top of your head.
Notice the sensations in your toes, moving up your feet, up your calf's, towards your knees, onwards to your thighs and then onto your hips. Notice what sensations are present, how the covers feel upon your body, how the mattress feels below it. Notice any and all sensations, temperature, heaviness, twitches, or movement.
Next, notice where your pelvic area and the areas that have contact with the bed. Notice any sensations that come up, allow them to simply be.
Start to move up your lower back, towards your mid-back, and gradually towards your upper back. As thoughts flow in, notice and accept them, and bring your attention back to your body. Let any other thoughts simply float on by like a balloon drifting through the sky.
Bring the attention now to your shoulders, notice any tension that you may be hanging onto from the day, let it drift away. Notice any sensations in your arms, hands, and fingers. Scan for any tingling, heaviness, aches, or other sensations that may arise.
Moving up, notice your face, your forehead, your eyes, and nose. Notice your cheeks and mouth, any sensations of tingling, tightness, or temperature. If you can, allow any tension to float away.
Notice your face in the pillow, as it makes contact with the pillow. Notice any pressure, tension, or other sensations. Then notice the top of your head, any sensations, and let them be.
If you haven't fallen asleep already, move back down your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.