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Last Updated on May 12, 2020

20 Best Guided Meditations for Sleep and Insomnia

20 Best Guided Meditations for Sleep and Insomnia

Do you have trouble sleeping at night, or suffer from insomnia? Well, you’re not alone. 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]

You know what it feels like to not get enough 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, and sex drive. 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.

But 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, and can improve their effectiveness.

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.

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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.

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

I divided them to give you a selection of the different types available.

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.

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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. Guided Meditation for Sleep… Floating Among the Stars (Jason Stephenson) (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 among the stars.

2. Guided Meditation – Blissful Deep Relaxation (The Honest Guys) (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: Guided sleep meditation (Lauren Ostrowski Fenton) (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. Guided Sleep Meditation – The Happiness of Your Higher Consciousness (Kim Carmen Walsh – Paradigm Meditations) (33 min.)

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 sleep.

5. Cultivate Self Love While You Sleep: Affirmations For Self-Love Sleep Meditation (Guided Meditations with Nicky Sutton) (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 brainwaves 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. And 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]

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6. Perfect Deep Sleep: Talkdown with Delta Wave Isochronic Tones & Binaural Beats (The Honest Guys) (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 with Binaural Beats and 3D sounds (Meditation Vacation) (40 min.)

The scene of this meditation is the beach at night with 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: Unstoppable Courage, Confidence, & Inner Power | Delta Beats (PowerThoughts Meditation Club) (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: Relaxation Music – Delta Binaural Beat – Dissolve Overthinking (PowerThoughts Meditation Club) (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.

10. Guided Meditation for a Deep Peaceful and Calm Sleep (Meditation Vacation) (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 behavior. 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 (Rain & Music for Guided Dreams Self-Healing) (Michael Sealey) (1 hr. 30 min.)

Michael Sealey is one of the more popular guided meditation artists on YouTube, and for good reasons. 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: Fall Asleep Faster with Sleep Music & Spoken Word Hypnosis (Jason Stephenson) (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 (Let Go Of Stress, Anxiety) Sleep Hypnosis Meditation (Jason Stephenson) (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 – Guided Meditation Sleep (Soothing Music Relaxing) (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.

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15. Guided Meditation for Sleep. Hypnosis with Subconscious Programming To Fall Asleep (Guided Meditations with Nicky Sutton) (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 or sounds of nature, or a combination. Some nature sounds, such as ocean waves, are symbolic of relaxation. So when we hear those sounds, our subconscious mind will associate them with relaxation and sleep.

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

16. “UNBLOCK ALL 7 CHAKRAS”: Aura Cleansing & Balancing Chakra (Meditation and Healing) (8 hrs.)

Nice heartwarming dreamscape music.

17. Dreamscape Music for Relaxation and Sleep (Peaceful Productions Studio) (8 hrs.)

Another recording of soft dreamscape music. This one uses Delta waves, the same frequency of brainwaves during deep sleep.

18. Deep Sleep Music: Ocean Waves and Relaxing Music (Soothing Relaxation) (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 (The Relaxed Guy) (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 (Jason Stephenson) (2 hrs)

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

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 about them 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. So, enjoy the meditations, and enjoy your life.

More Tips About Meditation

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

5 Ways Mindful Breathing Calms Your Nerves How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying How to Stop Intrusive Thoughts from Eating You Alive 20 Best Guided Meditations for Sleep and Insomnia How to Cope with the 5 Common Stressors In Life

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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