In today’s bustling world we all find ourselves caught up in the business and chaos of balancing work, relationships, families, chores, finances, and much more.

Life is full of obstacles that can affect us mentally and physically, all of which can impact how we rest, relax and sleep. Sometimes emotional pain can keep us awake, even when we’re exhausted. Sometimes physical pain can stop us settling. Sometime the stress of the day keeps our mind whirring over one thought or another, unable to get the rest we know we need.

Sleep is not simply about how many hours we’re in bed, it’s also about the quality of those hours. Sleep meditation is designed to help people enter a state of restfulness before they eventually nod off. When we spend a few minutes to calm the body and wind down the mind, we are more able to enjoy deep, uninterrupted and quality sleep.


Meditation is a practice that promotes awareness of now, the present moment. One of the biggest disruptors of sleep is a chaotic mind. If left to its own devices, the mind will flick from one thought to another, keeping you stimulated, awake, and even stressed. Meditation directly targets experiences like this and allows us to let go of the inner dialogue that pulls at us and prevents us from relaxing.

Mediation does this by focusing our awareness on something present, such as your breathing. The more we focus on the breath, the less space there is for our thoughts to pull us from our experience of rest and calm. When our mind becomes still, our body will follow, during meditation our breathing will slow, our heart rate will slow and our parasympathetic nervous system begins to take over.

All of this helps relax the body, still the mind, and helps you find the rest you need for a long, deep night’s sleep.


Sleep is an underrated component of health and well-being. We all know that diet, exercise, and stress management are core to a healthy lifestyle, however sleep seems to be on the sideline in this equation.

Statistically people in the western world struggle with getting enough sleep. Evidence suggests that adults required roughly 7-9 hours a night as part of a healthy lifestyle, however many of us get less than that. In America and Canada:

  • 68% of children aged 10-13 years get the recommended about of sleep

  • 72% of adolescents aged 14-17 years  get the recommended about of sleep

  • 40% of Americans sleep for less than 7 hours

  • 30% of Americans say they struggle falling asleep and staying asleep

Now let’s look at the health risks associated with sleep deprivation. Sleeping fewer than seven hours each:

The need for sleep is clear, there is a growing amount of evidence to suggest that it is one of the most important areas of our lives to promote health and wellness, and we know we don’t get enough.

Not only can poor sleep cause our health to suffer, it can also affect our relationships, work, alertness, mood, and mental stability.

Meditation is one way you can spend a few minutes every night before bed to prepare yourself for quality, restful, and deep sleep. Over time, a daily practice will help you find stability and calm more quickly, quieten the mind more consistently and find you rest more deeply.

Like many things in life, habit building is key. Meditation is no different.


So, we’ve covered the research and some of the needs for sleep, but why does sleep evade so many of us?

Unfortunately sleep slips from our fingers not because we want it to, but because modern lifestyles cause it to. Most of us want good sleep, we want rest, relaxation, and the fresh feeling in the morning from a good night’s kip.

However there are many aspects of modern life that prevent us from experiencing the enjoyment of a good night’s sleep. Here are some examples:

  • 90% of Americans use some sort of electrical device in the hours prior to sleeping. This may be your phone, computer, TV, video games etc. However, this screen time has a negative effect on your ability to find that ever elusive perfect bed-time. The light emitted from modern screens contains wavelengths that make your brain believe the sun is still high in the sky. When this happens, your body and mind don’t wind down for the night, but stay awake. As a result, your sleep will suffer and your rest will escape you.

  • Eating habits can impact your sleep also. Unhealthy eating patterns will prevent you from finding your much needed rest.


Meditation for sleep helps all of the above. It allows us to find the rest we need, improve our well being, health, alertness, and clarity. It stops the groggy, lethargic feeling we get after poor sleep, and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

However, there is another benefit we can get from sleep meditation. The practice of meditation itself promoted awareness of the present moment, and a more connected feeling to our surroundings and our inner thoughts and feelings. Instead of our mind being pulled around by these things, we learn to simply observe them.

After some time practising meditation, the positive benefits start to spill over into the time when we’re not actively meditation. We develop a passive awareness of the world around us, our responses to it, and the people we spend our time with. This awareness will allow you to observe your thoughts as they arise, and catch them before they pull you into negative patterns of thinking and acting.

In this way, the benefits of meditation spill into almost all areas of your life, from your work, stress management, relationships, gratitude, self control, self awareness, compassion, and responsibility.


When it comes to sleep meditation, there are two practices that stand out that are both simple to use and effective.

When you lay in bed trying to sleep, your mind may well be keeping you awake. We tend to go over all of the day’s events, things we’re embarrassed about, things we should have done, and things we have yet to do. All of this noise can be debilitating for our sleep. However, there are simple and effective meditations that we can use to quieten the mind and calm the body.

To set yourself up for your sleep meditation, lie down comfortably on your back with your eyes closed, and draw in a handful of deep breaths. On each out-breath imagine your body un-clenching, like a fist. From here choose one of the two meditation techniques below to help you relax:


This meditation is sometimes called progressive relaxation. The purpose of this kind of meditation is to scan the body from head to toe to find regions of tightness, stress, tension, discomfort, and release these feelings to achieve relaxation.

The meditation begins with the breath. Once you are relaxed you start at the very top of the head and imagine yourself slowly scanning down (like a barcode scanner). At each new body part you try and notice how it feels, and if there is any tension present. If you find it, simply release and relax before moving on to the next area of the body.

This meditation promoted tension release and feelings of relaxation. We often hold stress in our muscles and it stays there until we consciously release it. The slow relaxation of this meditation also helps people fall asleep.

  • Set a 10 minute timer

  • Sit comfortably with a straight back and your hands in your lap

  • Close your eyes

  • Pay attention to the pressure of your body pressing down on the chair and your hands in your lap

  • Starting at the very top of your head imagine a scanning beam is slowly passing down your body.

  • Slowly go from the top of your head, your ears, torso, arms, belly, legs, and feet.

  • Pay attention to how each area of your body feels

  • If you get distracted, just begin again


This meditation practice is probably the most common and has its focus on awareness of the present moment, surroundings and mental state.

The purpose with mindfulness meditation is to set your awareness on what can be observed now, in the present moment.

Being present means that during mindfulness meditation we do not dwell on the past or fear the future, we are just aware of our surroundings, whether that be the sounds around us, the feeling of the body, or the breath.

It’s important to note that during this awareness we should make an effort not to judge what we observe, but to be indifferent. This means that we may hear an annoying sound or thought, however it is what it is, the thing that makes it annoying is our judgement.

A benefit of this type of meditation is that we can practice it anywhere. Whether we’re at work, on our commute, at home, waiting in line, we can always focus our awareness on the sounds, feelings and senses of our surroundings.

  • Set a 10 minute timer

  • Sit comfortably with a straight back and your hands in your lap

  • Close your eyes

  • Focus on your breath, counting 1 on the inhale, 2 on the exhale

  • Try and get to 10 and reset.

  • If you get distracted, just begin again


Meditation is one way to improve you sleep, however to get the most benefit from your well earned rest, there are a number of other things you can do.

The quality of our sleep is determined by a huge number of different factors. The most important of which is habit building. Once we develop repeating, consistent habits about how we approach sleep we can transform our time in bed from restless frustration, to a soft cocoon of relaxation, restoration and comfort. Here are some ways to help this along:

  1. Screen Time: at least an hour before bed cut off screen time. Your phone emits blue light which stops your body from winding down at the end of the day. Cutting out screen time, phones, TV, computers etc will help your mind and body get ready for sleep, and shorten the time it takes between your head hitting the pillow and falling into slumber. Apps like flux can filter out blue light from your screen. So, if you absolutely have to check your phone before bed, these blue light filters are a good middle ground.

  2. Sleeping Area: Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet. It’s not a surprise that light and sound can stop us from sleeping properly, so make sure you have these covered before you go to bed. If you need to, eye masks and earplugs can help. Temperature is also important. Cooler temperature help us sleep, some people have a cool shower to get ready for bed, some open a window, and some turn the heating off in the hours before they are due to sleep.

  3. Stress: We’ve already covered the fact that one of the reasons we have difficulty sleeping is the mind running through thoughts and feelings. Stress magnifies this, it keeps us on edge. Luckily meditation is one of the best ways to manage stress. So if you follow the practices outlined above on a consistent basis, you should see stress begin to melt away, giving way to peaceful sleep.


Sleep is an extremely important component of physical and mental health, it supports our hormones, moods, energy, concentration, stress levels, and alertness. Chronic lack of sleep has been linked to a range of health problems from heart disease, obesity and diabetes. As a result, it’s clear that a good, consistent sleep cycle is core to a healthy life.

Meditation is a great way to help you sleep. It not only helps reduce feelings of stress, so that you fall asleep more quickly, it also helps find deeper, more rejuvenating sleep.

Give it a go. The benefits are huge, and it’s only 5 to 10 minutes of your time before bed.

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