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Last Updated on April 19, 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, 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

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Last Updated on May 14, 2021

3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation

3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation

One of the most serious – and common – causes of chronic disease is inflammation.

High levels of inflammation in the body cause your cells to deteriorate and lose their ability to function properly. In turn, this leads to the development of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune dysfunction, and other disorders.

Inflammation is a necessary biological process that kickstarts your immune system. Chemical mediators alert the body to the areas that need defending or repairing. Unfortunately, when inflammation continues for too long, it can have serious consequences.

The level of inflammation in your body is influenced by a number of factors, including diet, lifestyle, and environment.[1]

In the gut, inflammation can also be caused by an imbalance of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. When harmful microbes or yeast such as Candida grow and spread, they can severely damage the lining of the gut. The resulting immune response can cause further inflammation and damage.

Fortunately, reducing gut inflammation can be a matter of altering the choices you make in everyday life. In fact, there are three simple steps you can take today to reduce inflammation in your gut. Let’s take a look!

1. Drink More Water to Get Rid of Toxins

Every single day, we are exposed to toxins. Air pollutants, heavy metals, mold, and airborne pathogens are around us all the time – without us even knowing it.

Many of our foods are full of toxins too, like pesticides, antibiotics, and even added sugars.

These toxins are serious contributors to inflammation. They ‘turn on’ genes that promote inflammation causing cancer, heart disease. In the gut, these toxins can cause imbalances in your gut flora that allow inflammatory chemicals to be released. This inflammation promotes changes elsewhere in the body that can lead to chronic diseases.

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One of the best ways to flush toxins from the body is also one of the simplest. Drink more water! Drinking plenty of water each day is an effective and essential way to help your gut and body detoxify:

  • Your intestinal tract needs water to function optimally, moving waste efficiently through the gut and out of the bowels.
  • Your liver and kidneys are two of your body’s most important detoxification organs. Both of these require a constant supply of water in order to function properly.
  • Your sweat also flushes toxins out of your body. Sweat is largely made up of water.

Just as importantly, each of your cells requires adequate hydration to carry out its proper functions. Studies have shown that inadequate cellular hydration can contribute to the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals and even lead to inflammatory disorders.[2]

In general, the more hydrated you are, the less inflammation will be present in your body.

What to Do:

Try to drink 2-3L of water each day, or six to eight glasses. Make sure your water is fresh and filtered, or at least free of contaminants such as chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals.

It may be helpful to carry a bottle of water with you throughout the day, so you can keep sipping it instead of guzzling a large amount of water at once.

One of the healthiest ways to drink water is with a squeeze of lemon juice. Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and can boost your immunity.

Not sure if you’re properly dehydrated? There’s an easy way to find out! Check the color of your urine when you’re next in the bathroom. If it’s yellow, your body likely needs more water. If it’s clear, you’re properly hydrated.

2. Exercise Regularly to Keep Your Detoxification Organs Active

Daily exercise is absolutely essential for keeping your whole body in good working order, including your gut.

Physical activity stimulates your body’s major detoxification organs, including your intestines, urinary tract, sweat glands, circulatory system, and lymphatics.

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When these systems are able to move toxins and waste out of the body, inflammation is kept to a minimum.

New research shows that as little as 20 minutes of exercise could have anti-inflammatory effects on the gut and the entire body.

Exercise improves the body’s anti-inflammatory response by activating the sympathetic nervous system. This boosts your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. As a result, your body releases hormones including epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream, which have the job of activating the adrenal receptors of immune cells.

In a recent study, researchers examined the effects of a single 20-minute session of exercise on immune system activation. They found that even this small amount of exercise was enough to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by 5%.[3]

Inflammation is a necessary part of the body’s immune response, but too much inflammation can lead to disease. Chronic inflammation may contribute to diabetes, obesity, celiac disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

It seems that even short periods of exercise can reduce the body’s inflammatory response, which may lead to exercise being recommended as a part of future treatment plans for inflammatory conditions.

Exercise also forces fresh blood to your tissues, which reduces inflammation by helping flush away metabolic debris. It provides nutrients to inflamed or damaged tissues, which facilitates repair and restoration.

Just like hydration, exercise also keeps your digestive system moving and promotes good digestive health, further reducing inflammation in your gut.

What to Do:

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s vital that you make a plan to walk, jog, swim, or stretch for at least 30 minutes every day.

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Most modern phones now come with some kind of activity tracker. For example, if you own an iPhone then you might already be familiar with the iOS Health app. This handy app will track the steps that you take each day. Many people aim for 10,000 steps per day, which is a very healthy goal to have.

Equally, try to avoid sitting for extended periods of time. If you work long hours, set a timer to get yourself up and moving on a regular basis, at least every hour.

And, as I mentioned earlier, be sure to follow your exercise with plenty of water!

3. Take Curcumin — a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Remedy

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, a bright orange spice. It’s one of the most powerful, natural, anti-inflammatory remedies on earth, especially for the gut.

Curcumin aids digestion by relaxing the smooth muscles on the walls and helping with the movement of food through the intestines. It also helps to relieve the buildup of gas and bloating as food is being broken down.

In the colon, curcumin promotes a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is essential for your immune system to function optimally.  It also encourages cells of the intestinal lining to regenerate and heal following damage caused by pathogenic bacteria or yeast overgrowth such as Candida.

Recent studies have even shown that curcumin may an effective means of inhibiting intestinal fungal infections. Clinical trials have reported that high concentrations of curcumin have a powerful antifungal effect against this harmful yeast, as well as other fungal infections. There is evidence that curcumin can inhibit the growth of Candida albicans more effectively than common antifungal drugs.[4]

Research has shown that curcumin’s medicinal activity is largely due to its phytochemicals. These are plant chemicals that harbor antioxidative and antibacterial properties. These phytochemicals may also help to ease nausea caused by mental issues such as anxiety and stress.

The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity in curcumin may also help reduce gut pain caused by spicy foods, alcohol, or pathogenic bacteria. The incredible compounds in curcumin support your natural digestive processes, which can mean that your gut doesn’t have to work as hard to break down food. 

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What to Do:

Taking curcumin is as simple as finding a quality supplement from a good health store.

You can also blend turmeric powder into smoothies, meals or a turmeric latte. Be sure to add a healthy fat such as coconut oil, as well as black pepper. This helps your body to absorb the active constituents of the curcumin.

The Bottom Line

When reducing inflammation in your gut, your first priority should be to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory factors in your diet and lifestyle.

The three steps mentioned above are very easy to incorporate into your daily routines, and will help to minimize the inflammatory processes happening inside your body.

By supporting your body’s detoxification functions with adequate exercise and hydration, you’ll be dramatically reducing the amount of harmful toxins that your immune system has to fight every day. Fewer toxins means your body can focus more on healing!

This is significantly improved by adding curcumin to your daily diet, whether as a supplement or in your meals. Curcumin is a remarkable ingredient for an inflamed gut: it will help soothe those irritated membranes, fight off yeasts such as Candida, and support the healing of the intestinal lining.

Take these simple steps and start to reduce your inflammation today. Your gut will thank you!

More Resources About Gut Health

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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