One of the best ways to increase relaxation and ready the mind for sleep is by incorporating daily meditation into your nighttime routine.
Although it is recommended that adults obtain at least 7 hours of sleep per night for maximum health and well-being, more than 40% report not getting enough sleep. Sleeplessness can be attributed to a variety of factors, including stress, anxiety, medications, lack of exposure to sunlight, and physical pain.
Insomnia and sleeping less than the recommended allotment of hours can cause more than just fatigue or headaches. Doing so can result in obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Sleep aids like guided meditations are an excellent way to combat these gatekeepers of sleep and their unpleasant health effects. They are a natural and effective way to not only fall asleep but achieve a higher quality of sleep by lowering heart rate and slowing down the breath.
Continue reading for a list of the 12 best-guided meditations for sleep, found on both free and paid streaming platforms and apps.
Best Guided Meditations for Sleep
- Insight Timer
- Smiling Mind
- The Mindfulness App
- Spotify Playlist: Guided Meditation for Sleep
- The Honest Guys
- Guided Body Scan by One Mind Dharma
- Guided Meditation with Deepak Chopra
- Before Sleep: Beginners Spoken Guided Meditation by Jason Stephenson
Voice: Male or Female
Cost: $70 per year
For most of us, our phones are like an extra appendage. Even when we lay down to sleep at night, our phones are usually within reach. Although studies show that screen time before bed and the blue light emitted by cell phones have negative effects on melatonin, which is the hormone that your sleep cycle depends on, we’ve become hardwired to keep our phones by our pillows.
The makers of Calm, the #1 rated application for Sleep, Meditation, and Relaxation, understand this. They also understand how important a good night’s sleep can be for creating a happier life. They created Calm to be a useful resource for people who struggle with sleep and to be available on the phones we can’t seem to put down.
The app is designed to ease beginners into daily guided meditations which can be scheduled into your day whenever works best for you. The meditations are designed using evidence-based sleep and mindfulness resources and are created by an educated team of sleep and medical professionals.
If you find that guided meditations aren’t working for you, the app also offers a library of relaxing soundscapes and bedtime stories, some of which are narrated by smooth-voiced celebrities you may recognize.
The app itself can be downloaded on the Apple app store or Google Play for an annual subscription of $70. New users can take advantage of a seven-day free trial. There are also a plethora of free guided meditations available on their website to try, to help with topics from grief and anxiety to sleep.
Voice: Male or Female
Cost: $69.99 per year
Headspace is a general meditation app that encourages short, daily meditations. It allows users to focus on managing everything from relationships to stress. They also offer guided meditations and soundscapes specifically for help with falling asleep.
Headspace offers listeners unique sleep music and an extensive library of soothing sleepcasts to fall asleep to. These stories vary in length from 45 minutes to 1 hour and consist of an initial visualization exercise designed to help the mind wind down, followed by a descriptive story that has no beginning, middle, or end.
This section of the app is designed with a darker color palette to help combat eye fatigue and avoid triggering the issues that stem from screen time before bed.
The app comes with a free 14-day trial.
Voice: Male or Female
Cost: Free / Premium Options
Insight Timer is an incredible free resource for those in need of guided meditation for insomnia. There are over 80,000 guided meditations available to choose from, with topics ranging from healing and stress to sleep. It can be downloaded as an app on your phone or utilized through their website.
The sleep meditations range from 15 minutes to more than an hour, all with different narrators. Users can filter the available meditations by different lengths and whether or not they would prefer a female voice or a male one.
There are also several hundred music tracks to put users into a calm and relaxed state. There are hundreds of sleep talks where users can listen to classic stories like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or The Velveteen Rabbit as they fall asleep.
If you enjoy the app and want to dive deeper into its premium features such as the ability to download your favorite meditations, Insight Timer offers a yearly subscription for $60 in addition to a 30-day free trial. However, you can easily find a good mediation for sleep free with their abundant content.
Length: 5 to 15 minutes
Voice: Male or Female
A lesser-known app that has some of the best sleep meditations is Smiling Mind. This non-profit app and website have several hundred different guided meditations to choose from, including programs for kids and teens, healthcare workers, families, and educators. The app’s meditations are created with the expertise of medical professionals and psychologists.
There are six structured program sessions dedicated to sleep. The app can be connected with smart home devices like Google Home so that you aren’t tempted by your phone screen as you try to fall asleep.
What makes this particular app even more unique is that it was originally designed for children and young adults. Although the app has evolved and adults can learn great mindfulness techniques through these meditations, if you have a child who suffers from sleep problems or insomnia, they may benefit from the app’s content.
The Mindfulness App
Length: 3 to 30 minutes
Voice: Male, Female, or Unnarrated
Cost: Free / Premium Options
The goal of The Mindfulness App is to help people become more present, more relaxed, and ultimately healthier. It is ideal for both beginners and meditation experts.
It utilizes built-in timers to remind users to complete their short, daily meditations. These timers can be customized to work with your schedule and are catered to different moods and times of the day. If you wanted to utilize the app for sleep purposes, simply set a timer for a few minutes before you’re ready to go to sleep.
The Mindfulness App introduces newbies to the act of mindfulness within a 5-day introduction. After that, users have access to 450 meditations, both with and without narrations. Users can favorite specific meditations or choose from different timed sessions, many of which can be personalized to the individual listener.
Much of the content on the app is free to use. However, for more access to courses and premium content, they offer an annual membership for $59.99, or a 1-month membership for $9.99.
Spotify Playlist: Guided Meditations for Sleep
Length: 27 hours 39 minutes
Voice: Male and Female
Cost: Free with Ads / Premium Options
For a taste of the best sleep meditation tracks, music streaming apps like Spotify offer a wide selection of playlists. One of the best-guided meditation playlists is the Guided Meditations for Sleep by user risinghighermeditation. It is full of 25 different tracks of different lengths, narrations, and voices.
All of the tracks revolve around finding peace and relaxation through sleep. It’s an eclectic mix that allows you to “drift and dream” throughout the night. It is best to listen to the guided meditations with headphones.
Length: 3 minutes+
Voice: Male or Female
Cost: Monthly, Annual, Lifetime Subscriptions
Aura is an app by Aura Health Inc. designed specifically for better sleep. It is an all-in-one app that can be personalized for optimal mental wellness and higher sleep quality. There are thousands of sleep stories, music and soundscapes, hypnosis sessions, and even CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) lessons.
One of the most unique features of Aura is that the app generates recommended guided stories and meditations based on the mood you’re in. Simply track your moods over time and set daily reminders to complete your meditation to help build a sleep meditation practice and improve your overall mood.
There are hundreds of coaches, psychologists, therapists, and meditation experts who create sleep meditation content. The voices are diverse and provide a wide range of choices so you can find the perfect meditation to fit your individual needs. The app also boasts the largest library of wellness tracks that can be downloaded for offline use.
The app reports that 99% of users find Aura to be a helpful resource to help improve their quality of sleep. The hypnosis tracks are a particular favorite for people who suffer from insomnia.
There are also a variety of subscriptions to choose from for your budget. Monthly subscriptions cost $11.99, yearly subscriptions with auto-renewal cost $59.99, and lifetime subscriptions are a one-time charge that costs $399. They also offer free trials during which the chosen subscription can be canceled.
The Honest Guys
The Honest Guys are a team that creates high-quality audio tracks to help people find and use meditations that are suitable for different genders, cultures, and more. Their goal is to be as neutral and inclusive as possible.
The sleep meditations are created by a unique team of professionals and published as YouTube videos. These videos are extremely accessible and free, so anyone can enjoy them to obtain relaxation, healing, and anxiety relief. The team behind the videos cares about people achieving quality sleep.
Their channel has over 1 million subscribers and hundreds of videos with thousands of views. Some meditations are simple sleep stories, guided meditations with cue words, and relaxation in front of roaring fireplaces or lovely forests. You can enjoy rainy nights, descriptions of desert oases, and even anxiety relief.
The meditations also help manage stress and help listeners achieve a level of deep relaxation.
Length: 6 minutes+
Voice: $12.99 – $49.00
Cost: Monthly / Annual / Lifetime Subscriptions
Saatva is an app that provides daily recommendations, curated playlists, and 100+ meditations to enjoy. It combines profound and authentic principles of meditation created by Sanskrit scholars who have passed down mediation techniques for thousands of years.
The app combines yoga, established, and over 100 scientific-based meditation practices. Whether you’re in a good mood or a bad mood, are a beginner looking to get your feet wet, or are a seasoned sleep meditation professional, there is something for everyone in the app.
There are dozens of side effects available with the app. Heart rate monitors, mood trackers, in-depth stats, milestone challenges, mantras, playlists for easy access, collections, sacred sounds, and of course guided meditations. The app is known for teaching its users how to do mantras to help people enter a meditative state that will lead to a lasting relationship.
The app also integrates with the popular health and fitness Apple app. It has both light and dark color palettes which are ideal for nighttime use as well as consistent upgrades to UX and interface design.
The app itself has over 6,000 4.8 star reviews. It is only usable on iOS 11.0 or later or a Mac with the Apple M1 chip. It also can be used in a variety of languages, including French, Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, and German. The most expensive subscription is an annual payment of $49.99.
Guided Meditation Body Scan by One Mind Dharma
Those in the know understand how valuable guided meditation can be before bedtime. One great way to get into a daily guided meditation is to view YouTube videos like Guided Meditation Body Scan by the One Mind Dharma on YouTube. The guided meditation is one part of a 10-day program.
The team at One Mind Dharma not only offers daily guidance on how to meditate and its importance, this meditation is a soft-spoken body scan that is ideal for generalized anxiety and physical soreness. It starts with a full-body scan visualization exercise that, when practiced regularly, can help implement faster and more prevalent sleep.
The woman speaking has a clear, no-nonsense voice that helps you follow the meditation direction in a way that is relaxing and helpful for falling asleep. Plus, the meditation is fairly short, so if listening to voices as you fall asleep can be difficult, this may be the solution for you.
In addition to the video mentioned above, One Mind Dharma offers daily guided meditations that help users build meditation habits and learn more about how to meditate for mental health and physical wellbeing. They offer this content free for a week-long trial.
Guided Sleep Meditation with Deepak Chopra
We would be remiss if we didn’t include Deepak Chopra on our list of best-guided sleep meditations.
Deepak Chopra is a celebrated author, philosopher, and doctor who advocates for alternative medicine. In his opinion, Western medicine relied too heavily on the prescription medicine reliance both doctors and patients had exhibited. He began to meet with transcendental meditation gurus such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and learned to utilize herbal teas, oils, and the idea that material goods cannot buy happiness.
He has also dabbled in guided meditations through training with alternative medicine experts. This particular sleep meditation features Chopra’s voice instructing individuals on how to identify the sensations in their body, experiencing letting go and becoming one with nature and their surroundings, and ultimately relaxing enough to fall into a deep sleep.
His voice is deep, calming, and serene. It comes highly recommended by previous listeners who report using the meditations to fall into a deep, restful sleep that rejuvenates and empowers them.
If you don’t like this guided sleep meditation, Deepak Chopra has other meditations for sleep available on YouTube to try out.
Before Sleep: Beginners Spoken Guided Meditation by Jason Stephenson
This popular YouTube guided meditation is narrated by a gentleman named Jason Stephenson, an Australian man with a deep, soothing voice that will have you drifting off to sleep in no time.
This guided meditation starts with a body scan visualization exercise that allows you to wind down, focus, and relax into the following meditation. Gentle, soothing music plays in the background, offering a calming ambiance that compliments Stephenson’s voice and meditation narration.
Stephenson is passionate about offering inspiration and guided visualizations to people to help them achieve maximum harmony within themselves. You will find yourself following the ups and downs of his voice and reaching a supreme level of relaxation.
His entire channel is devoted to guided meditations of all kinds, so if you find yourself enjoying his sleep videos, you may want to explore some of his other content to enhance your practice.
Guided meditations are an excellent way to increase mindfulness, relax the mind and body, and combat the negative health effects associated with minimal sleep. We highly recommend you try out the meditations listed above and let us know what your experience is like.