How You Can Use Meditation to Improve Your Sleep

Explore how meditation can improve your sleep. Read more to learn practical methods to ensure that you enjoy restful nights.


Did you know that 35% to 48% of adults struggle with sleep challenges today? If you experience similar issues, you may be a good candidate for meditation. Meditation is a mindfulness technique that aims to clear your mind and help you relax, unwind, and settle down. It’s a great way to reduce stress, but as you’ll come to find out in this article, it’s also quite effective at ensuring you get enough restful sleep!

In this article, we're going to unpack the benefits of meditation before sleep, including its relationship, how it impacts sleep quality, how you can use this technique before bed, and some of the most common methods. After reading this article, you'll know everything you need to know to implement this in your routine.

The Relationship Between Sleep and Meditation

The relationship between meditation and sleep has always been touted as highly positive, especially in recent studies on sleep health. For many years, people have used meditation to help them reduce their stress and relax, even to help them unwind enough for sleep. One study showed that meditation programs are commonly discussed today with patients by medical professionals, showing just how prevalent these methods are now in our world (Source: PubMed).

Meditation has even been used by patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease to help them improve their sleep, reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms, and even lower the amount of inflammation in the body. Most surprisingly, these results were visible even after just a 12-minute meditation! Can you imagine the benefits if one were to meditate even longer? As you can see, sleep and meditation are positively associated with one another, even improving our sleep quality over time.

How Meditation Impacts Sleep Quality

With so many positive associations between meditation and sleep, it’s clear that meditation leads to better sleep quality. Even in short durations, meditation can increase the levels of serotonin and melatonin in the body while also activating the parts of the brain that initiate sleep. This is crucial if you're looking for quality sleep and don't have to meditate for hours to enjoy these benefits!

Several studies prove this, especially among college students and other highly stressed populations. Researchers analyzed college students who used a meditation application and discovered that meditation for only 38 minutes per week during the study significantly positively affected sleep disturbances, reducing them and ensuring that people slept more soundly (Source: PubMed).

Patients with insomnia have also demonstrated that even meditation works for them. A study on heartfulness meditations for those with chronic insomnia proved that the majority of patients—an astonishing 87.5% of them—had limited their usual dose of medication and found they experienced better sleep from implementing meditation into their nightly ritual. It's impressive and truly a testament to how meditation improves sleep quality, even for those struggling most with sleep.

Now that you have seen how beneficial meditation is, how can you use it before bed to enjoy the same results? Fortunately, we have some tips for you to use meditation to help improve your overall sleep.

How to Use Meditation Before Bed

If you want to try out meditation before bed, it’s relatively easy. You can do this with or without guidance from applications or even using soundscapes, like ocean waves or the sound of rustling leaves. Ultimately, it’s up to you how you set the scene, but here are the three simple steps you need to follow to properly meditate:

  • Set the Scene: Before you even close your eyes and begin to meditate, make sure that you have the right setting. Ensure you are in a quiet, relaxed, calm space and that you’re comfortable. You can sit or lie down, but if you’re ready to go to sleep, lying down might be best for you to ensure that you are fully relaxed. Do whatever you feel most comfortable with.
  • Close Your Eyes and Relax: Now that you are prepared, whether you’re sitting or lying down, close your eyes and breathe slowly. You should be inhaling and exhaling deeply, focusing on each breath. You can count each breath out if you’d like or simply focus on the feeling. The goal is to tune into your body and how you feel.
  • Eliminate Distractions: If you find your mind wandering while you’re meditating, don’t dwell, but let the idea go and clear your mind. The goal of meditation is to be in the present moment. Let your worries drift away and continue to focus on your breathing.

Meditation is not meant to be a one-time thing but a practice. Start out easy with a few minutes at a time, even just two minutes, to truly wind down and feel relaxed. Many people find that three to five minutes is a great place to start, but then people can even work their way up to 15 to 20 minutes. It’s all up to you, and the more often you complete this practice, the more you’ll experience the benefits!

Different Meditation Methods You Can Try

If you’re looking to diversify your meditation practice or simply want to find what works best for you, there are plenty of different types of meditation that you can use. Whether you opt to do it without programs or audio or you prefer guided meditation to try to shut out the distractions in your mind, here are some standard methods you can try out:

  • Mindfulness meditation is the best practice for those who want to be in the present and fully dedicate time to their body. All you have to do is clear your mind and focus on your breath, and you’ll feel the benefits!
  • Guided meditations are perfect for those who want some support but don’t want to sit in silence. These audios can vary, but the best part is that you can choose what works for you while you meditate and enjoy the benefits.
  • Body scan meditations are designed to take stock of where you are and how you feel. You can do this through a guided meditation that asks you to feel every part of your body, or you can practice this on your own.
  • Counting your breath is another fantastic way to stay present and relax your body. It can help you clear your mind and focus on the task at hand—all while experiencing the same restful results.

Written by

Marie Soukup

Marie Soukup is a seasoned copywriter, editor, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a certificate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). With years of experience working with brands across diverse industries, Marie is passionate about holistic health and crafting compelling content.

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