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Last Updated on March 16, 2021

20 of the Best Guided Meditations for Sleep and Insomnia

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, 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

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Last Updated on March 10, 2021

10 Green Tea Benefits and the Best Way to Drink It

10 Green Tea Benefits and the Best Way to Drink It

Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can put in your body. It can help you focus, fight aging, and even give you an energy boost! You’ve probably heard a lot about green tea benefits and how it is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that are great for your body and mind.

In this article, you will learn about the health benefits of green tea and how you can drink it to enjoy it best (for its taste and benefits).

What Is Green Tea Good for?

Green tea has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. Originating in China but widely used throughout Asia, this beverage has a multitude of uses, from lowering blood pressure to preventing cancer.

The reason that green tea has more health benefits attached to it than black tea is due to the processing. Black tea is processed in a way that allows for oxidation (the same process that makes an apple go from white to brown), whereas green tea’s processing avoids the oxidation process[1]. As a result, green tea retains the maximum amount of antioxidants and poly-phenols, the substances that give green tea its many benefits.

Furthermore, green tea has significantly less caffeine black tea, meaning that it leads to less of a “slump” after drinking it. It will offer you energy without the intense caffeine kick that black tea and coffee often lead to.

Let’s dive more into the various benefits of drinking green tea.

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10 Green Tea Benefits for Your Body and Mind

While a great deal is known about the benefits of green tea, more research is still needed in order to expand our knowledge on just how green tea benefits us. Here are some green tea benefits currently supported by research.

1. Weight Loss

Green tea is known to decrease inflammation in the body, aiding in the weight loss process. More research is needed, but one study found that “the combination of GTE and exercise also produced greater changes in anti‐inflammatory (increases in adiponectin) and metabolic (decreases in hs‐CRP) markers than exercise alone”[2]

If you’re looking to lose weight, exercise is the first step, but adding in green tea can help speed up the process, even if only slightly. Check out this article if you want to find out more about this: Is Drinking Green Tea An Effective Way For Weight Loss?

2. Increased Satiety

One study on how green tea affects insulin levels found that, while green tea had no effect on insulin levels after a meal, it did increase feelings of satiety, which means that study participants were less likely to continue eating[3]. This can have positive effects on health by helping you consume less calories.

3. Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Scientists believe that green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them stay relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. It may also protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks.

One study found that, in general, coffee and certain types of teas (including green tea) reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease[4].

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4. Reduce the Risk of Esophageal Cancer

One of the most impressive green tea benefits is that it is thought to reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but it is also widely thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them.

In one study, researchers found that the high concentrations of tea polyphenols “have shown inhibitory effects against the development, progress, and growth of carcinogen‐induced tumors in animal models at different organ sites, including the esophagus and lung”[5]. While this kind of research needs to be replicated in more studies, it does suggest that green tea can slow the growth of some types of cancers.

5. Reduce Cholesterol

One literature review looked at 31 trials involving studies on green tea and cholesterol and found that, in general, “green tea intake significantly lowered the total cholesterol”[6]. It specifically seems to target LDL as opposed to HDL, which an important distinction to keep in mind if you’re trying to target a certain type of cholesterol.

6. Delay Effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Green tea is thought to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. One research review discovered that “results seem to support the hypothesis that green tea intake might reduce the risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, or cognitive impairment”[7]. However, many more well-designed studies are needed to provide decisive evidence for this.

7. Slow Tooth Decay

The bioactive compounds in tea, like polyphenols-flavonoids-catechins, have antibacterial properties that inhibit not only bacteria but acid production[8]. Research suggests that this is the reason green tea has been shown to prevent cavities and tooth decay. This doesn’t mean you should stop brushing your teeth, but it does mean that green tea can really help when it comes to oral hygiene!

8. Lower Blood Pressure

Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. One literature review found that several studies concluded that green tea significantly reduces both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure[9].

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9. Depression

While several studies have shown that a higher consumption of green tea leads to lower levels of depression in elderly individuals, more human trials are needed to determine the way green tea influences depressive symptoms. In one study on mice, green tea polyphenols were shown to have antidepressant-like effects, suggesting that the same could be true in humans[10].

10. Antiviral Properties

Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents that make them effective for treating a variety of infectious diseases[11]. While they may not prevent you from getting a viral infection, they may help reduce their severity, which is a great green tea benefit.

How Much Green Tea Should You Drink?

These are some of the many benefits of green tea, but the reality is one cup of tea a day will not give you all the abundant gains. The jury is out on how many cups are necessary; some say as little as two cups a day while others insist that it’s five cups of green tea for the full benefits. If you are thinking of going down this route, you may want to consider taking a green tea supplement instead.

Potential Risks of Drinking Green Tea

There is caffeine in green tea. If you are sensitive to caffeine, then one cup a day should be your limit. Here’s a way to help you reduce a bit of caffeine in it:

How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It

Green tea also contains tannins, which can decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, then green tea may not be ideal for you.

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How to Drink Green Tea

The best temperature to brew green tea at is about 185 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, simply let boiling water cool for about two minutes to achieve this temperature. Add the sachet of tea and let it steep for three minutes. You can then remove the sachet and enjoy your tea!

You can also try mixing green tea with other healthy ingredients, such as ginger, a healthy and tasty beverage option.

You can also try matcha, a specific type of green tea that has a thicker texture.

Final Thoughts

Green tea is an ideal beverage for those looking for its delicious flavor, as well as its many health benefits. It’s important to remember that it does contain some caffeine, so it’s best to avoid drinking it about 6 hours before bed. Whether you want to lower your cholesterol, reduce symptoms of depression, or slow tooth decay, green tea can help, so start brewing a cup today!

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Featured photo credit: Matcha & CO via unsplash.com

Reference

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