Top Ten Guided Meditations for Sleep
Millions of Americans suffer from sleep disturbances. These come from a simple poor night’s sleep, to full-blown medical issues diagnosable only through a sleep study. But perhaps, as Deepak Chopra says in one of these guided sleep meditation videos below (#7), the greatest cause of insomnia is fear of insomnia— that feeling of itchy frustration when you’re lying in bed with the lights out while staring at the ceiling.
With your thoughts spinning out of control, you get more discouraged, and sleep seems to be even further away. Knowing that if you don’t sleep now you’ll be exhausted in the morning, and everything that was hard about today—causing you to stay awake—will be even harder tomorrow. Getting better sleep can have all kinds of benefits from lowering overall stress to improving your immune system. Conversely, poor sleep hygiene can result in poorer health.
But there’s help out there that doesn’t require any medication — and it’s just a click away! These ten guided sleep meditations on YouTube can help you let go of those anxious thoughts and perhaps lead you to a place of restfulness and improve your sleep quality. As many of the YouTube commenters noted, sometimes they couldn’t even make it through the entire meditation before they were sound asleep. Others say that these video posts have solved long-term sleep problems.
Keep in mind that these are just anecdotal reports of success. But if you’re struggling to sleep, these are low-risk options that don’t cost anything that might be able to help. Here’s our top 10 favorite guided sleep meditations, with a bit of commentary to help you narrow it down. Which one of these works best for you? Let us know!
1) Guided Meditation for Sleep… Floating Among the Stars
Jason Stephenson (1 hr. 2 min.)
The visual for this audio guided sleep meditation is a simple image of a night sky—perfect for the theme of “Floating Among the Stars.” Stephenson leads the meditation by saying, “Perhaps one day, you were a planet… or perhaps someday you will be.” The audio is around 25 minutes of spoken word guided meditation with music and the remainder is “space sounds”—soft wind noises, twinkling of stars, and celestial chimes. “You, the child of stars, can rest here without fear,” your guide tells you.
Bruno, a YouTube viewer, left this review: “I think I'll never know what happens after 10 minutes of this video because I always sleep within that time. Thank you for this!”
2) Cultivate Self Love While You Sleep: Affirmations For Self-Love Sleep Meditation
Nicky Sutton (2 hours)
Sutton sounds like a very patient and loving nanny. She speaks slowly in an Australian accent accompanied by video of a babbling brook. One of her reviewers said, “You have the most soothing voice... the only person I can listen to while sleeping.” Another writes, “I haven’t made it past 15 minutes without falling asleep every time I listen to this.”
Sutton asks her listeners to repeat, or listen carefully to affirmations like, “I feel peaceful being me,” and “My needs are important.” The spoken affirmations are repeated and last the entire two-hour recording.
3) Deep Sleep Guided Meditation: Relaxation Music – Delta Binaural Beat – Dissolve Overthinking
PowerThoughts Meditation Club (1 hour)
This recording employs the use of binaural beats as well as brief narration. According to Lifehack, “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. And lower frequencies are associated with lower levels of alertness, such as deep sleep.”1 These frequencies are barely perceptible, but they are there if you concentrate. This guided meditation fades away after a few minutes, shortly after describing your eyelids as “ice cubes melting in warm water.”
4) Guided Meditation For Detachment From Over-Thinking
Michael Sealey (42 min.)
Many issues with sleep are grounded in our thinking processes. Michael Sealey is a prolific guided meditation narrator who uses mindfulness meditation techniques to help train your mind to let go of stress and calm your racing thoughts that can intrude on your sleep.2 The video is fairly static and superimposes a galaxy and stars over the silhouette of a nighttime forest. “Make the choice to remain present in the present,” Sealey says. The narration runs through around two-thirds of the video, with the voice being replaced by deep, bamboo wind chimes atop the music through the end.
YouTube viewer Geeky Girl writes, “So I fell asleep listening to this guided meditation. It really puts in perspective how many people like me are suffering. It has 20 million views. That means 20 million people with OCD, anxiety, and depression. I hope everyone who comes across this video to have a happy and healthy year.”
5) Guided Meditation – Blissful Deep Relaxation
Rick Clark (18.5 min.)
Wave sounds and barely perceptible music and chimes float behind the narrative. Clark repeats instructions for breath work like “breathe in deeply, exhale fully.” The audio is accompanied by video of rolling waves in the sunrise, peaceful to watch if you don’t feel like closing your eyes right away. This meditation practice allows you to wake up if you choose to wake up or to continue on to sleep at around 12 minutes in. If you choose to follow the relaxation to sleep, it leaves you with continued wave sounds.
Listener Emma M. writes, “This is so euphoric. I got a tingling sensation in my body when the countdown came. So weird. Never thought I would be able to meditate.”
6) Guided Meditation for Sleep. Hypnosis with Subconscious Programming To Fall Asleep
Guided Meditations with Nicky Sutton (1 hr. 16 min.)
It’s Nicky Sutton again—her voice is just so pleasing. “It’s safe, it’s time to switch off. This time is for you,” she says. In the description of the video, Sutton writes, “Let me help you to get to sleep. This guided meditation for sleep provides subconscious suggestion via hypnosis, and sleep affirmations allowing you to fall asleep fast. Sleep affirmations program the subconscious mind for sleep. The first 18 minutes relax you down (you may fall asleep during this), the remainder of the talk down uses sleep affirmations to guide your subconscious mind to sleep.”
YouTube viewer Cartyr writes: “I can’t sleep without hearing your voice Nicky. Thank you so much; I feel so much better and restful ever since I’ve found you.”
7) Guided Sleep Meditation
Deepak Chopra (4 min.)
Want a tiny bit of Oprah-approved (we assume) guided meditation? Here’s four minutes from one of her frequent guests. Perhaps the most interesting part of this meditation is Chopra’s assertion that the greatest cause of insomnia is fear of insomnia, and his assurance that lying quietly in bed is nearly as good as being asleep. Who knew? Maggie O. comments, “It surely helped me go to sleep faster than my normal train of thought at night, thank you!” The narrative is unrehearsed-sounding and conversational—you might as well be on a couch in his office while he helps you let go of your fears.
8) Sleep Meditation – Fall Asleep
Bedtime Zen (25 min.)
Commenter Claire writes, “Oh I'm telling everyone about you and your amazing talent .... it’s just brill! … Love going to bed now as I know instead of staying awake just lying there in discomfort … I am fully relaxed and so calm. Thank you!” This audio track has no video, but the narrator urges you to imagine yourself lying in a “deep summer meadow.” The background music is keyboards and acoustic guitar. In meditation, you are not only urged to get a good night’s sleep but also to have nice dreams. Like many guided meditations, the male narrator takes you on a journey up your body from your toes to your head, asking you to relax each body part when the time comes. The guided meditation lasts for around 18 minutes and the remainder of the 25-minute piece is nature sounds and quiet music.
9) Fall Asleep with Gratitude Meditation Before Sleep
John Moyer (44 min.)
The video for this guided sleep meditation is simply a spinning galaxy. Moyer sprinkles in personal experiences with his guidance. The guidance is centered on “feeling appreciation… feeling gratitude” and Moyer suggests that if you practice this meditation often enough, you will wake up with profound feelings of gratitude and peace through training your “subconscious mind in every moment to feel appreciation.”
The narrative fills the first 28 minutes of the video; the rest is pleasant, restful music with choral singing with no words. Moyer writes, “The most powerful way to shift our reality for the better and maintain an ongoing joyful reality, is through experiencing gratitude and feeling grateful. How to practice gratitude can be the hardest easiest thing someone can do. It's hard, because people realize why it's so easy. If we simply fall asleep with gratitude every night, that sets the foundation for everything during the day.”
10) Guided Sleep Meditation & Dreamy Guided Visualization for Deep Peaceful Sleep
Relax with Joanne (30 min.)
Commentator Christine writes, “I feel like I'm out of body floating away to the heavens.... so relaxing. Your voice is like velvet. Beautiful music.” Joanne, the narrator, describes this meditation as “a peaceful, dreamy, guided sleep meditation and relaxation for bedtime that lovingly guides you to go to sleep fast. The guided visualization of a soft shimmering light of blue mist will help relax your body and quiet your thoughts as you drift peacefully into the land of dreams.” The video for the narration transitions from a bright nebula to a grassy area with dandelions then back to a dark sky speckled with stars and then finally to black.
Disclaimers for all guided meditations meant for rest or sleep: Do not use these videos while driving or operating heavy machinery; only use them when you can safely and fully relax or when you go to bed. Most of these videos are best enjoyed with headphones. Although an audio/video recording can offer support, it is not a replacement to traditional medical care. Consult alicensed specialist for the best sleep hygiene advice. Everyone here at Cornbread Hemp hopes you get the sleep that you deserve.
About the Author
Jim Higdon, Co-founder
a native of Lebanon, Kentucky. He holds degrees from Centre College, Brown University, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Jim published Cornbread Mafia in 2012, full author bio here.
How can these guided meditations help me?
These guided meditations are meant to help you fall asleep faster, sleep more soundly, or experience a better quality of sleep. Some of the videos may also help you manage insomnia-related anxiety. On average, these videos should be around 30 minutes long (longer than traditional meditation).
What time should I go to bed?
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends adults aged 18-64 get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. How much sleep you need may vary based on your sleep habits, health, and age. Younger people generally need more sleep than older people.
Can I use these videos if I am on medication or have a medical condition?
The Sleep Foundation also recommends that if you are currently on any kind of medications, taking supplements, or have any type of medical conditions to talk to your physician before using such methods.
Can I use these videos every night?
We recommend taking nights off from guided meditations and devoting them to traditional meditation practices. These videos are meant to supplement your practice, not replace it.
1. Francis, Charles A. “20 Best Guided Meditations for Sleep and Insomnia.” Lifehack. Pub: 12 Jan. 2021. Accessed. 13 Feb. 2021. https://www.lifehack.org/844530/best-guided-meditation-for-sleep.
2. “Best Guided Meditations For Sleep: Unlock Inner Peace And Deep Relaxation For The Best Sleep Of Your Life.” Nestmaven. Accessed: 13 Feb. 2021. https://www.nestmaven.com/sleep/aids/best-guided-sleep-meditation/.
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