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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

20 of the Best Guided Meditations for Sleep and Insomnia

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20 of the Best Guided Meditations for Sleep and Insomnia

Do you have trouble sleeping at night, or suffer from insomnia? According to the National Sleep Foundation, 30 to 40 percent of adults have difficulty sleeping, and 10 to 15 percent suffer from chronic insomnia.[1] This is where a guided meditation for sleep can help.

You know what it feels like to not get enough good sleep. The next day you feel lethargic, have trouble focusing, and lack motivation. But, did you know that insomnia can have more serious health consequences?

Chronic insomnia can put you at greater risk of various medical conditions, such as stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a weak immune system that can leave you vulnerable to diseases. It puts you at greater risk of mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Insomnia can affect your memory, judgment, focus, and sex drive, and it can even shorten your life expectancy.[2]

The good news is that in most cases, there are some simple solutions. In this article, we’re going to focus on guided meditations for sleep. I’ve reviewed several meditations available on YouTube and provided you with my top 20 picks.

Before I give you the list, I think it’s a good idea to give you a better understanding of the nature of insomnia. This will give you a better idea of which guided meditations for sleep will work best for you.

Causes of Insomnia

There are various causes of insomnia. They can be either a medical condition, psychological problems, stress and anxiety, or simply lifestyle.

Medical conditions can include allergies, stomach and intestinal problems, chronic pain, lower back pain, breathing problems, and more. If you have one of these problems, or suspect another medical condition may be keeping you awake, I suggest consulting with your physician.

Psychological problems, mainly depression, are common causes of insomnia. Depression leads to changes in mood, which can affect hormone balance, and therefore, lead to difficulty sleeping. Studies have also shown that insomnia can make depression worse.

Stress and anxiety are also common causes of insomnia. We often ruminate about the past and worry about the future. Sometimes, we may feel stressed out and overwhelmed by our responsibilities. And sometimes, it is just our overstimulated mind that is keeping us awake.

For some people, lifestyle can be a cause of insomnia. Some people work odd hours that make it difficult to keep a normal sleep pattern, or get enough sleep. Sometimes, they don’t have enough time to unwind before they go to bed.

Food and diet can also affect your sleep. A heavy meal or empty stomach can make it difficult to sleep. It’s a good idea to have a light snack before bed, something that is low in sugar, as too much sugar in your bloodstream can give you a feeling of anxiety.

Alcohol, while it can help you fall asleep, will actually disrupt your sleep later in the night. Too much caffeine, or drinking it too late, can also make it difficult to sleep. Nicotine is another substance that can disrupt your sleep.[3]

How Meditation Can Help

Although insomnia can have several causes, the good news is that meditation can help in various ways. The main way that meditation can help you sleep better is by reducing stress and anxiety.

The way it works is rather simple. Meditation helps calm your thoughts, and by calming your thoughts, you reduce the feelings associated with those thoughts.[4]

Meditation can calm just about any racing mind, but it would help to reduce some of the things that are overstimulating your mind, such as too many activities and excessive background noise. Basically, any sensory stimulation will create a chain of thoughts, and if your day is filled with activities and noise, then your mind is being overstimulated.

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For the most part, meditation is a break from sensory stimulation. While the guided meditations for sleep have music and a voice to guide you, the sounds are slow and soothing, which help slow your mind down.

Meditation is a powerful antidote for depression. Studies have shown that when done properly, it can be just as effective as antidepressant medication. If you suffer from depression and want to try meditation as an alternate treatment, be sure to consult with your doctor first.

Meditation can even help address some of the physical causes of insomnia. Studies have shown that meditation can ease physical pain, especially lower back pain.

20 Best Guided Meditations for Sleep

Here are 20 guided meditations for sleep. They are divided into 4 categories:

  • Deep relaxation
  • Binaural beats
  • Hypnosis
  • Unguided meditation

It’s not clear which type of meditation is more effective than others at helping you sleep. While they’re all intended to help you sleep better, they have slightly different goals and mechanisms for aiding your sleep. Based on the explanations and descriptions below, you can choose the one(s) that suits you best.

The meditations vary in duration. Some are under an hour, while others are several hours long. Most have guiding words at the beginning, which eventually fade out, leaving you with soft, soothing music to help you drift off to sleep.

You can listen to them as long as you want as you lie down to sleep, or you can even play them while you sleep. This is more a matter of preference.

Deep Relaxation

As the term suggests, the deep relaxation meditations will help you calm your body and mind. They generally use a body scan to relax each body part, and the soothing voice and background music help calm your thoughts.

When listening to the meditations, keep in mind that relaxing the body and mind is a process. Don’t expect perfection. That is, it’s okay for your mind to wander off, or get distracted. Instead of forcing your body and mind to relax, just allow them to relax.

1. Floating Amongst the Stars by Jason Stephenson

Length: 1 hr. 2 min.

Jason Stephenson has some of the best quality meditations on YouTube. His voice is soothing, and he has the right choice of background music. His recordings have a good balance of music and voice volume. As the title suggests, this meditation gives you a sense of floating amongst the stars.

2. Blissful Deep Relaxation by The Honest Guys

Length: 18.5 min.

The Honest Guys also have good-quality recordings. In this meditation, the music is soft and slow-moving, with gentle waves in the background. This is a relatively short meditation you can comfortably listen to right before you go to bed.

3. Fall Asleep So Fast by Lauren Ostrowski Fenton

Length: 1 hr. 17 min.

Lauren Ostrowski Fenton has a soft and relaxing voice. The dreamscape music pitch is well balanced with her voice. Her guided meditation has good positive affirmations that help improve self-esteem.

4. The Happiness of Your Higher Consciousness by Kim Carmen Walsh

Length: 33 min.

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This recording by Kim Carmen Walsh is designed to help you recognize your own inner happiness. It then guides you into a deep and restorative practice for improved sleep.

5. Cultivate Self Love While You Sleep by Nicky Sutton

Length: 2 hrs

This is a great meditation by Nicky Sutton. The music alone is warm and loving. Combined with her soft voice, the self-love affirmations really touch your heart.

Meditations With Binaural Beats

Binaural beats are a technique that triggers a slow-down in brain activity to make you sleepy. Here’s how it works: Your brain creates brain waves from the pulses of electrical activity when the neurons interact with each other. Generally, higher frequencies of brainwaves are associated with higher levels of alertness, such as concentration. Lower frequencies are associated with lower levels of alertness, such as deep sleep.

Ingrained in the background music are two tones of slightly different frequencies, one in each ear. Your brain, instead of processing both tones, processes half of the difference between the two frequencies. For example, if you receive a 300-hertz tone in one ear, and a 280-hertz tone in the other ear, your brain will process a 10-hertz tone.

The two frequencies in the meditations are meant to slow down your brain activity for deep sleep. As you may have guessed, you need to listen to these meditations with headphones in order to get the desired effect.

Binaural beats have two more effects that benefit sleep: They raise sleep-promoting hormones, and they reduce pain that may be keeping you awake.[5]

6. Perfect Deep Sleep Talkdown by The Honest Guys

Length: 30 min.

This is another good guided meditation for sleep by The Honest Guys. As with most of their meditations, it is short compared to most other meditations on YouTube. The music is slow, and the voice is soothing and relaxing.

7. Guided Meditation for Sleep and Healing by Meditation Vacation

Length: 40 min.

The scene of this meditation is the beach at night with a bonfire. Along with the dreamscape music, you can hear the sounds of the waves and the crackling of an open fire. This meditation will promote healing while you sleep.

8. Deep Sleep Meditation with Affirmations by PowerThoughts Meditation Club

Length: 1 hr. 44 min.

Here is a meditation that boosts your self-esteem. It will help you overcome your fears, so you can develop greater inner strength. The music is calm, the voice soothing, and the affirmations powerful. After a while, the voice fades out and the music helps you drift into a deep sleep.

9. Deep Sleep Guided Meditation by PowerThoughts Meditation Club

Length: 1 hr.

This is a guided meditation that will help you calm your racing mind. The slow, soothing voice forces your mind to follow the slower pace. As with the previous guided meditation, the voice fades away after a few minutes.

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10. Guided Meditation for a Deep Peaceful and Calm Sleep by Meditation Vacation

Length: 47 min.

This sleep meditation uses guided imagery to help calm your body and restless mind. The background music is slow and drifting.

Meditations With Hypnosis

Guided meditations with hypnosis are an effective way to reprogram your subconscious mind for a desired way of thinking or behaving. When we’re in a deep state of relaxation, our mind is more receptive to new information, so during meditation, it is an excellent time to assimilate positive affirmations that can improve the quality of your life.

These meditations will mainly help change your views about sleep. One is geared to facilitate healing, and another will help you deal with stress and anxiety.

11. Deep Sleep Hypnosis for Mind Body Spirit Cleansing by Michael Sealey

Length: 1 hr. 30 min.

Michael Sealey is one of the more popular guided meditation artists on YouTube, and for good reason. The recordings are high quality and use a good balance of the different elements to achieve the desired effect. This guided meditation uses soft music and guided imagery to promote inner healing while you sleep.

12. Sleep Talkdown Guided Meditation by Jason Stephenson

Length: 1 hr. 2 min.

Here is another guided meditation by Jason Stephenson. This one uses hypnosis techniques to promote deep sleep. The music is soft, slow, and heartwarming. Since the voice fades out after a while, you can just start this meditation and let it play as you drift off to sleep.

13. Guided Sleep Meditation by Jason Stephenson

Length: 50 min.

This guided sleep meditation will help you reprogram your mind to release stress and anxiety. It uses guided imagery and soft, relaxing music to calm your body and mind for more restful sleep.

14. Sleep Hypnosis Meditation Female Voice by Soothing Music Relaxing

Length: 3 hrs.

Though not as popular as most other guided meditations, this one uses a female voice and hypnosis techniques to guide you into a deep sleep. Her voice is soft and soothing, and the music is a slow dreamscape that gives you a feeling of floating on air.

15. Hypnosis with Subconscious Programming To Fall Asleep by Nicky Sutton

Length: 1 hr. 16 min.

Here is another good meditation by Nicky Sutton. The first 18 minutes help you relax your body. Afterwards, the affirmations help reprogram your mind to go into a deep sleep.

Unguided Relaxation Meditations

Although this list of meditations is mainly of guided meditations for sleep, there are some excellent recordings of either just soothing music, sounds of nature, or a combination. Some nature sounds, such as ocean waves, are symbolic of relaxation. When we hear those sounds, our subconscious mind will associate them with relaxation and sleep.

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These are the type that you may just want to play softly in the background while you go to sleep.

16. Aura Cleansing & Balancing Chakra by Meditation and Healing

Length: 8 hrs.

This video plays heartwarming dreamscape music that will help you drift off to sleep any day of the week.

17. Dreamscape Music for Relaxation and Sleep by Peaceful Productions Studio

Length: 8 hrs.

This is another recording of soft, dreamscape music. This one uses Delta waves, the same frequency of brainwaves you experience during deep sleep.

18. Deep Sleep Music: Ocean Waves and Relaxing Music by Soothing Relaxation

Length: 3 hrs.

This meditation combines relaxing music with ocean waves to lull you into a deep, restful sleep.

19. Gentle Night Rain Sounds for Relaxing Sleep by The Relaxed Guy

Length: 3 hrs.

Some people like the sound of rain to help them relax. This recording is nothing but gentle rain.

20. Angelic Music with Affirmations for Sleeping & Healing by Jason Stephenson

Length: 2 hrs.

This guided sleep meditation is almost entirely heartwarming music with intermittent affirmations in a soft, angelic voice.

The Bottom Line

If you have trouble sleeping at night, let not your heart be troubled. These guided meditations for sleep will help you slow your racing mind and make sleep much easier. The best part is that you don’t have to do anything but just listen to them and relax.

Your sleep is important, not just so you feel better the next day, but also for your long-term health and success in life. Enjoy these meditations, and enjoy your life.

More Tips About Meditation Practice

Featured photo credit: Ben Blennerhassett via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medical News Today: Insomnia: Everything you need to know
[2] Healthline: Effects of Insomnia On the Body
[3] Sleep Foundation: What Causes Insomnia?
[4] Very Well Mind: Getting Started With Guided Sleep Meditation
[5] Psychology Today: How Can Binaural Beats Help You Sleep Better?

More by this author

Charles A. Francis

Author, meditation teacher, and director of the Mindfulness Meditation Institute

How to Start Living in the Moment and Stop Worrying 20 of the Best Guided Meditations for Sleep and Insomnia How to Learn to Let Go of What You Can’t Control How to Cope with the 5 Common Stressors In Life and Feel Better 10 Ways a Silent Retreat Improves Your Mental Health

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Under the Weather? 13 Immune Boosting Foods for a Quick Recovery

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Under the Weather? 13 Immune Boosting Foods for a Quick Recovery

Immunity truly does encapsulate the entire physiology of a person.

When you target your immunity by eating a variety of immune boosting foods, then you really can improve your entire body, both physically and mentally.

The immune system of a human being involves all aspects of one’s physiology and one’s daily experience. Eating certain foods can boost your health in a variety of ways. Below I outline several foods that will get you back on track if you’re feeling under the weather.

Be sure to stock up on these foods if you’re in need of a boost.

Immunity Boosting Superfoods

In order to even broach the topic of foods good for one’s immune system, it’s important to consider all aspects of the human body and experience.

What I mean by the human experience is one’s day to day mood, energy levels, and many other factors that signify how one engages with themselves and the world around them.

Before indulging in these foods below, I suggest striving for consistency with diet, activity levels, rest, and incorporating the practice of meditation or spending time in nature as part of your daily routine as well.

If you’re ready to feel better, not just when you’re under the weather but all the time incorporate these foods in your diet regularly.

1. Water is a Wise Choice

Yes I know I’m starting things seemingly simple, but one of my most popular YouTube videos discusses the importance of water!

When I ask people how much water they drink a day, the majority of time the answer begins with ‘not enough’.

So if you know you don’t drink enough water, why continue this pattern of behavior?

Now if you’re one that does hit that 5+ and more (pending activity levels) 8oz glasses a day – good for you! Water is life, and that’s where I’ll leave it.

2. Eggs: The Most Complete Protein

Widely regarded as the universally most complete nutritional protein source, eggs are packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids and 9 essential amino acids.

Egg whites are rich in Vitamins D/E/K, B2, B5, B6, B12, and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

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Meanwhile, egg yolks pack the calories and fats along with cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and lecithin.

It’s important to note that the average medium egg contains 76 calories, 7.5g protein, 5.1g fat, 1.4g sat fat – so consider this while integrating this near perfect super food in your next dish!

3. Raw Spinach Supports Immunity

This leafy green is a personal favorite of mine due to its versatility and great taste!

Spinach is loaded with vitamin C which helps fight cold, flu, and reinforce the immune system.

It’s also quite high in antioxidants and beta-carotene, which supports our immune system in fighting infection and viruses.

When enjoying this plentiful plant, do so raw. Its nutrients are best absorbed when the vegetable is raw; consider adding spinach as a fresh salad, rather than to a cooked dish, to reap the most immune system rewards.

4. Turmerics Benefit on T-Cells

Gaining popularity for its delicious taste, this powerful spice is also gaining notoriety for its anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin (which also creates the vibrant orange-yellow color).

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology notes that curcumin activates the production of T-cells, which are of the primary cells fighting on behalf of your systems immunity. [1]

5. Garlic is Really Good for You

This popular food not only tastes great but packs quite a punch.

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which boasts a variety of medicinal properties. Garlic is also not very calorie dense; 1 ounce yields about 42 calories with 1.8g protein and 9g carbs.

Garlic also boasts Vitamin C, B6, Fiber, and Manganese.

The properties mentioned above helps maintain healthy bones, prevent diabetes and epileptic seizures, regulate thyroid, combat osteoporosis, reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, improve cognitive function, and regulate glucose metabolism!

So, forget about garlic breath–eat this food in abundance!

6. Wild Salmon is Wonderful

A personal favorite of mine, wild Alaskan salmon is one of those super foods that covers all your nutrient bases!

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Salmon can be cooked a variety of delicious ways, and yields some of the highest immune system boosting benefits.

Salmon contains fish oil Omega-3’s, which protect against developing heart disease and heart attack. Oils contained within such fish are quite unique in that they have Omega-3 fatty acids that are not present in any other food.

Also consider that wild salmon contains (per 4oz) 128% Vitamin D, 95% Vitamin B12, 94% tryptophan, 62% selenium, 53% protein, 53% omega 3’s, 45% Vitamin B3, 37% phosphorus, 32% Vitamin B6, 19% choline, 14% potassium, and 8%(157) calories.

This is one of those super foods that you could stand to have in your diet several times per week. Beyond the incredible taste, its nutritional benefits make it well worth seeking out.

7. Essential Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Many home cooks consider this an essential ingredient in preparing dinner. But it’s also quite good for you!

Extra virgin olive oil is widely regarded as being a healthy addition to any kitchen, with modest amounts of Vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids.

Per 100g of olive oil you can expect 14% saturated fat, 73% Monounsaturated fat, 10% Omega-6, 1% Omega-3, 72%, and 75% Vitamin K.

It also boasts an impressive antioxidant profile. This includes the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal, as well as oleuropein, a substance that protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation.

8. Natural Greek Yogurt Has Many Benefits

When I talk about natural Greek yogurt, I mean the type that is not flavored in any way. Those added sugars won’t help boost immunity.

Many people have convoluted the immunity and health benefits of natural yogurt with the all too popular sugary treats that flood grocery stores. But it’s the plain stuff that’s the best to include in your diet.

Natural Greek yogurt not only goes great with many dishes, but it contains vast amounts of protein which will leave you feeling satisfied.

The reason why I’ve specified ‘Greek yogurt’ is because one cup of plain, low-fat conventional yogurt typically has 5 to 10 grams of protein, where Greek yogurt averages about 13 to 20 grams of protein.

Greek yogurt also contains essential probiotics (live microorganisms). These are bacteria microbes that help improve digestive function, the immune system, and overall gut health.

Add natural Greek yogurt to your diet, whether as a breakfast food, a substitute for sour cream, or as an addition to a healthy smoothie.

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9. Ginseng Tea: Chock Full of Ginsenosides

Ginseng tea’s primary health benefits are due to the naturally occurring chemicals called ginsenosides present in the root.

One of ginseng’s most widely understood benefits include it’s rich anti-cancer properties. [2]

Studies also indicate that people who drink ginseng tea have a lower risk of developing cancer.

Ginseng tea can also help relieve menstrual cramps, lower blood pressure, and improve brain function; and it has also been shown to help with sexual (erectile) dysfunction in men.

10. Green Tea Fights Aging

Just as powerful as ginseng tea, this extremely popular tea is rich in polyphenols that have effects like reducing inflammation and aiding in the fight against cancer.

Green tea is in fact 30% polyphenols, including large amounts of a catechin called EGCG. Catechins are natural antioxidants that aid in the prevention of cell damage and provide several other benefits.

EGCG, and substances like it can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, helping protect cells and molecules from damage.

Free radicals such as these are commonly known to play a role in aging and all sorts of other diseases.

This wonderful also tea contains small quantities of minerals that are important for overall health, so it may be worth picking up some green tea when visiting your next local tea shop.

11. Dark Chocolate: The Delicious Superfood

Don’t get too excited with this one – everything in moderation, of course!

And I’m not just referring to any chocolate — I’m talking specifically about dark chocolate and cacoa nibs, which are both immune system boosting super foods.

We’ve already covered free radicals in this article, and dark chocolate is one of those wonderful super foods that helps fight against such free radicals.

It does this with its high antioxidant profile which is believed to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from their damage.

Dark chocolate’s antioxidants include vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – helpful plant compounds. Much like other immune boosting foods on this list dark chocolate will also help balance cholesterol, blood pressure, and improve heart health, and cognitive function.

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You now have a healthy excuse to eat some dark chocolate; but, go for the lowest sugar and highest cocoa content varieties you can find to reap the most rewards.

12. Frozen Blueberries for All!

Personally I love adding frozen blueberries to smoothies; however, sometimes I’ll pop over to the freezer just to grab a small handful as a treat!

Frozen blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which come from compounds called anthocyanins; these give blueberries their purple hue.

One really neat fact about the ice crystals that form when the berries are frozen is that they disrupt the structure of the plant tissue and make anthocyanins even more available – how cool is that? Talk about hacking blueberries!

Even if not frozen, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits. They have been known to boost memory, cardiovascular system, and eyesight. The fruit also encourages a process called authophagy, or ‘cell clean-up’.

Berries in general (raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries) are extremely high on the ORAC scale. This means they contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals.

Frozen blueberries in particular may aid in defending colds and flu, as they are high in pterostilbene.

Next time you visit your local grocery store, consider how ideal blueberries are for your immune system and general health.

13. Raw Honey: A Natural Antioxidant

Saving the sweetest for last!

Pure natural raw honey follows the rest of this super food list with its antioxidant profile, however it also contains antibacterial and anti fungal properties.

Raw honey contains antioxidants called phenolic compounds, and certain types contain just as many antioxidants as fruits and vegetables.

Raw honey can help the body kill-off unwanted bacteria and fungus as it naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, which is a strong antiseptic. Raw honey also contains phytonutrients, commonly found in plants, which provides both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Aside from these wonderful benefits, raw honey can also aid with digestive issues, however this typically varies person to person.

Indulge in Better Health

But also, don’t forget to rest! When considering one’s overall health, it’s important to not only incorporate these immune boosting foods, but also to ensure adequate sleep, and take efforts to reduce stress.

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Eating these immunity boosting foods will enable you to take back control of your health and prevent illness… all while satisfying your cravings!

Reference

[1] Journal of Immunology: Curcumin
[2] NCBI: Ginseng for Fatigue

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