Transform Your Sleep: Your Guide to Meditation Before Bed

+ 4 Meditation Techniques For Nighttime


Getting good night sleep is as important as exercising and nourishing your body well, however, millions of people worldwide struggle to get enough rest.

This lack of quality sleep can lead to a host of health issues, both physical and mental, and many people are turning to time-tested practices like yoga and meditation to start to sleep better.

Today, we will share how integrating yoga and meditation before bed into your evening routine can transform your sleep experience, providing practical steps and insights to help you drift off into peaceful, more restorative sleep.

Dive in with us!

a man sitting cross legged on a bed with a moon illustration over his head

The Science Behind Meditation and Sleep

At its core, meditation is a relaxation technique that induces a state of restful awareness.

When you practice meditation before bed, you may start getting deeper, more restorative sleep, and there is plenty of science to back it up.

According to neuroscience1 Neuroscience Reveals the Secrets of Meditation’s Benefits. (n.d.). Scientific American., meditation activates the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with decision-making and self-control, which will certainly aid in dealing with stress and anxiety – common causes of sleeplessness.

Meditation activates your body’s relaxation response, a state opposite to the stress response.

It promotes slower breathing, lowers blood pressure, and reduces cortisol levels – the stress hormone2 Mayo Clinic. (2019, March 19). Chronic stress puts your health at risk. Mayo Clinic.

This relaxation response not only helps in falling asleep faster but also enhances the quality of your sleep.

Several studies3 Summer, J. (2022, December 16). Meditation and Sleep. Sleep Foundation. also show that when you meditate consistently, especially right before you go to sleep, you can begin to alter your sleep patterns.

The Role of Meditation in Reducing Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting restful sleep, despite having the opportunity to do so.

Causes of insomnia4 Crosta, P. (2020, July 28). Insomnia: Causes, symptoms, and treatments. can vary widely and include psychological factors like stress, anxiety, and depression.

Lifestyle influences, such as irregular sleep schedules, unhealthy sleep habits, or prolonged use of electronic devices before bed, also contribute. Physical health issues, including chronic pain or certain medical conditions, can lead to insomnia as well.

Meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation, has been shown to enhance sleep quality, functioning as a type of mind-body therapy.

By combining mental focus with physical aspects like deep breathing, meditation targets both anxious thoughts and physical stress symptoms, thereby preparing the body for sleep.

woman doing meditation before bed

Beginner’s Guide to Meditation Before Bed

For beginners, it’s important to understand that meditation is a skill that improves with practice.

Its effects are cumulative, so the more often you sit down to meditate, the deeper the effects of the practice will be.

Here are a few basic considerations before starting meditation in bed, especially if you’re a beginner:

  • Create a comfortable environment: Choose a quiet and peaceful space to do your nighttime meditation. Use soft lighting and perhaps play some soothing meditation music. Your bedroom could be the perfect place!
  • Dress comfortably: wear loose, soft fabrics or slide into your pajamas!
  • Decide on the duration: start with short sessions of 3 to 5 minutes, and gradually increase the duration if that seems necessary for you. Feel free to use a timer like this one.
  • Choose a comfortable posture: Freely choose to sit cross-legged, on a cushion, or even leaning against a wall, or sitting on your bed. You could also meditate lying down on the ground or the bed, but what matters is that you’re comfortable so that you can fully relax.
  • Focus on your breath: Inhale and exhale gently, focusing on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body.
  • Observe and redirect your mind: Blanking your mind isn’t as much of a thing as you may have been led to believe. Instead, when thoughts arise, acknowledge them without judgment and gently bring your focus back to your breath.
  • Take time to reflect: After each session – if you are still awake – consider creating a meditation journal to help you take notice of the effects of your practice.
  • Stay consistent: Same as trying to wake up and go to bed at a similar time daily is of great benefit, meditating at the same time each night will also help you establish a routine. The more consistent you are with your meditation before bed, the more likely you are to get better rest in the long run.

Creating the Perfect Nighttime Meditation Space

One of the easiest ways to start setting an evening routine to get better sleep is by creating the right environment.

For starters, you can remove any electronics like televisions, tablets, and phones from the space, especially if it is your bedroom.

Creating a comfortable and clutter-free meditation space in the bedroom can significantly enhance your pre-sleep routine. The key is to minimize distractions and promote relaxation.

  • Choose a comfortable spot in your bedroom, perhaps near your bed, with a soft cushion or chair.
  • Except for a device used for meditation apps or guided sleep meditation, keep technology like TVs and laptops out of the meditation area to avoid distractions.
  • A clean and organized environment promotes a peaceful mind. Keep your meditation space free from unnecessary items.
  • Use gentle, dim lighting to create a calming atmosphere. This could be as simple as a small lamp with a soft bulb.
  • Incorporate soothing colors and soft fabrics in your meditation practice space to enhance the sense of tranquility.

By crafting a dedicated space in your bedroom, you’ll create an ideal environment for winding down and practicing your before-sleep meditation.

4 Meditation Techniques for Nighttime

Taking time for meditation before bed can look different for everyone.

There are many meditation and breathwork exercises that can help you release the day, and here we want to present you with just a few:

1# Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation before bed is beneficial as it shifts focus away from daily stressors, allowing the mind to settle into the present moment.

This type of meditation can alter brain patterns associated with stress and help you to get good sleep.

Try this 10-minute meditation with Manoj Dias, where he invites you to get comfortable, connect to your breath, and relax:

2# Yoga Nidra

When trying before bed meditations, Yoga Nidra can be a great one to try.

Also known as yogic sleep, Yoga Nidra is a powerful meditation before sleep technique that induces a deeply relaxed state right on the edge of waking and sleeping.

It involves lying down in a comfortable position and following a guided meditation that leads you through various stages of body scanning, breathing exercises, and emotional exploration.

This practice promotes deep relaxation, reduces stress, and significantly improves sleep quality.

Unlike traditional sleep where the mind is unconscious, Yoga Nidra allows you to remain in a state of conscious awareness, providing a unique blend of alert relaxation and restorative peace.

3# Guided Visualization

Guided visualizations for sleep are a form of meditation where you listen to spoken narratives that guide you through peaceful and calming imagery.

This technique involves visualizing a tranquil scene, like a serene beach or a quiet forest, which can help shift the mind away from daily stressors and into a state of relaxation.

By engaging the imagination in positive and restful images, guided visualizations can reduce the mental chatter that often impedes sleep.

This practice is particularly helpful for those who find their minds racing at bedtime, offering a gentle way to guide the mind toward sleep.

4# Body Awareness Exercise

This is a form of mindfulness exercise, and it is often called a body scan.

It involves paying attention to different parts of the body in a sequential manner, typically starting from the toes and moving upwards.

This practice is a great meditation before bed since it helps in identifying areas of tension and consciously relaxing them.

As you focus on each body part, you become more aware of your physical sensations, helping to ground you in the present moment.

Combining Yoga and Meditation Before Bed

Gentle practices like Yin and Restorative Yoga prepare the body for relaxation, easing physical tension that might disrupt your sleep.

The slow, mindful movements of yoga can help in calming the mind and reducing stress, making it easier to transition into a restful state.

Following yoga with meditation further deepens this relaxation.

This 15-minute restorative yoga and meditation before-bed practice with Faith Hunter serves as a gentle space for you to move a bit, relax, and release:

To Conclude

Integrating mindful practices like yoga and meditation before bed into your bedtime routine can significantly improve your sleep quality.

Meditation before bed can increase the time you spend in the deep sleep stage, which is responsible for restoring your physical health and processing your emotions.

Consider different meditation styles to suit your needs, and stay consistent to reap the benefits of pausing and letting go of the stresses of the day with meditation.

Read this article next if you’d like to explore companion apps to help with your meditation journey:

Photo of author
Laia is an Afro-Catalan accessible and inclusive yoga & meditation teacher. She has trained in hatha, vinyasa, trauma-informed yoga, yin yoga, and restorative yoga and holds E-RYT 500 and YACEP accreditations with the Yoga Alliance. Additionally, she is a freelance writer and translator, publishing in Catalan, English, and Spanish. As a former professional athlete who lives with a chronic illness, Laia has gained valuable insights into the benefits of self-care and the importance of pausing and slowing down. She is dedicated to sharing accessible and sustainable practices of yoga and meditation to help people create a more harmonious life. Being a black and chronically ill individual, her mission is to empower non-normative yoga teachers to find their unique voices and develop tools to make wellness practices accessible to the communities they serve, thereby taking up space and creating a more inclusive and diverse yoga industry. Furthermore, as a writer and creative, she is passionate about supporting other creatives and innovators. She fosters a genuine community dedicated to finding balance while staying productive and inspired. Laia has developed unique techniques that intertwine yoga and meditation with writing, journaling, and other accessible methods to help each other stay creative and mindful.

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