Meditation for sleep and anxiety

24 November, 2023 / words by IALH Editor

As the stress of everyday life increases, anxiety can sink in, making it difficult to find quality sleep and enjoy sweet dreams. Stress and anxiety can develop in our minds and affect our relationships, productivity at work, and our daily routine. Fortunately, meditation can wipe out the daily stress and end these challenges. 

Meditation is a powerful tool that helps reduce the production of stress and restore calmness, which in turn improves sleep quality. Additionally, it is a practice that can help you sustain a good mood, make informed decisions, and grant you peace of mind. 

Here is a free guided meditation on sleep and anxiety so that you can enjoy all the benefits of meditation; therefore, keep reading.

Understanding the Connection Between Meditation, Sleep, and Anxiety

Meditation, sleep, and anxiety are related to our mental and emotional well-being. For this reason, understanding and addressing the connection between them can significantly impact our physical and emotional wellness.

The Science of Sleep and Anxiety

Sleep and anxiety are closely related to each other, and they can affect our mental health if not addressed properly. Anxiousness can increase sleeping problems or make relaxation hard. It can sometimes keep people awake all through the night or disturb sleep. While inadequate or disturbed sleep can worsen anxiety. 

Anxiety tends to create poor sleep, which can affect our emotional control and the capacity for coping with stress. It may lower our competencies in analysing a situation and solving problems and make us respond irrationally to stressful scenarios. 

Similarly, anxiety creates mental restlessness and disturbing thoughts that can interfere with the sleeping process. This anxiety may be accompanied by nightmares as well, disrupting sleep even more, thereby reducing the quality of sleep.

How Meditation Impacts the Mind and Body

There are numerous impacts that meditation has on the mind and body. Now, we shall see some of its impact in this section below:

  • It helps reduce stress
  • It helps manage body pain
  • It helps lower blood pressure
  • It helps sustain a good mood
  • It helps enhance mental clarity
  • It helps improve sleep quality
  • It helps reduce anxiety and depression
  • It helps handle pressure and control emotions

The above highlighted points are some roles or impacts meditation plays in our mental health and body.

Techniques for Meditation to Enhance Sleep Quality

Meditation techniques like breathing exercises and body scans are meditation for sleep and anxiety. They can help manage stress, reduce rumination, and enhance sleep quality.

Breathing Exercises for Relaxation

Breathing exercise is an effective tool that can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality. Hence, let us take a look at a few of them in this section:

Deep Breathing: Deep breathing is one of the most fundamental breathing exercises for relaxation. It is all about getting yourself comfortable and taking a deep breath in and out. This is how it is being done:

  • Position yourself comfortably and relax your body.
  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of 4, allowing your abdomen to rise and expand while keeping your chest relatively still.
  • Breathe out slowly through your mouth for a count of 6, feeling your abdomen fall as you release the breath.
  • Repeat this cycle for several minutes, focusing on the rhythm of your breath.   

4-7-8 Breathing: This technique helps improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, and relieving stress. This is how it is being done:

  • Lie or sit comfortably on the bed or cushion
  • Take a deep breath through your nose for about four seconds.
  • Hold your breath for a count number of seven.
  • Breathe out slowly and absolutely through your mouth for about eight seconds.
  • Repeat this cycle 3 to four times, focusing on the gentle, rhythmic pattern

Box breathing: This exercise can help manage stress, stay calm, and handle pressure. This is how it works:

  • Relax your mind and body
  • Breathe in through your nose at the count of 4
  • Hold your breath at the count of 4
  • Breathe out through your mouth at the count of 4
  • Hold your breath at the count of 4
  • Repeat the cycle for a few minutes

There are other breathing exercises for relaxation that are not mentioned in this section. But they all aim to make you feel better and healthier. Just include them as part of your daily routine and keep it consistent.

Body Scan Meditation for Sleep

Body scan meditation is another effective meditation technique for sleep. This type of meditation involves focusing your attention on each part of your body, starting with your feet and moving up to your head. As you focus on each body part, you consciously relax the muscles in that area. The goal is to cultivate a sense of awareness and relaxation in the body, which can help to prepare the body and mind for sleep. 

 Incorporating Meditation into Your Nightly Routine

It is worth incorporating meditation into your nightly routine because meditation reduces stress and anxiety and aids sound sleep when done well. In this section, we are going to look at some meditation for anxiety and sleep:

Creating a Calming Environment

You can enjoy quality and sound sleep by creating a calming environment and freeing yourself from distractions. Therefore, ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and free of distractions.

Establishing a Consistent Schedule

To include meditation in your evening practice, you must be consistent. Set aside a particular time each night to meditate; ideally, this should be around 30 minutes before bed. If you create a regular meditation plan, your body will grow accustomed to the meditation practice and know when to relax.

Advanced Meditation Practices for Deep Sleep and Anxiety Relief

Advanced meditation practice can take your sleep to the next level. Below are some meditation practices you can do to have deep sleep and reduce anxiety:

Mindfulness Meditation Techniques

Mindfulness meditation techniques are a practice that can help you relax and sleep well. During mindfulness meditation, you cultivate a sense of presence and acceptance by focusing on your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and surroundings. 

This is how this type of technique is being practiced:

  • Get Comfortable: Get yourself situated in a comfortable place and avoid distraction. 
  • Set a Time Limit: Determine how long your meditation period will last. 
  • Focus on Your Breath: Cover your eyes and breathe in for some time. Focus on the sensation you can feel in your chest while breathing through the nose or in and out of the rising and falling of your belly.
  • Observe Your Thoughts: While concentrating on your breath, you will probably realize that your mind is moving to different thoughts. This is perfectly normal. When that happens, kindly observe the thought without judgment and return to your breathing again.
  • Notice Sensations: Note physical feelings like warmth, tingles, and tightening. Watch any feelings that come up without trying to stop them.
  • Use Guided Instructions: Mindfulness meditation for beginners involves following recorded sessions narrated by qualified guides. 
  • Practice Daily: Mindfulness meditation can only be beneficial if there is consistency to it. Strive to practice regularly, no matter how short every session is.

Yoga Nidra for Sleep

Another fantastic technique for getting a good night’s sleep is yoga nidra. During yoga nidra, one should comfortably lie down and concentrate on gradually relaxing their muscles. You will contract your muscles for a few seconds, starting with your feet, then release the tension. 

The below highlighted point will explain further:

  • Find a Quiet and Comfortable Space: Pick a calm and serene spot free from disturbances. 
  • Set an Intention: Ensure you have an intention before meditating. This is just one statement that can act as a personal goal, a resolution, or just a statement of faith in oneself.
  • Body Scan: Close your eyes and focus on your body now. Be aware of any tightness, pain, or sensation for some time.
  • Guided Visualization: This usually entails some guided script or an audio recording. The guide will show various visuals to assist you in relaxation and outline the necessary steps. 
  • Cultivate Awareness: Be aware of your breath and focus on your meditation practice.
  • Release and Let Go: In this practice, as you advance, it will make you release physical tension, problems, and thoughts. This is a way to help you achieve a deep stage of calmness.
  • Deep Relaxation: In general, yoga nidra entails rotating your awareness all over your body as you guide yourself to relax every piece. It places you in a mode of bodily and psychological tranquility.
  • Gradual Awakening: This practice will let you return to the conscious mode and awaken you slowly off the drowsiness. These can include sounds and environmental sensations.
  • Take Your Time: After this exercise, you should slowly return to a sitting or upright position. Have patience for yourself as you return to complete wakefulness.
  • Reflect: Pause after practice and contemplate any revelations, emotions, or experiences encountered during your Yoga Nidra.

Incorporating these above practices can provide you with a deeper level of relaxation anxiety relief and improve sleeping quality.

Getting Started with Meditation

Meditation is a wonderful decision because it will improve your body’s mental health and enhance your well-being.

    • Find a quiet place: Before you begin your meditation practice, it is good always to find a quiet environment where you won’t be easily distracted. 
    • Position yourself comfortably: Whether sitting or lying down, maintain a good posture and position yourself comfortably.
    • Set a time limit: Set a time limit for yourself, arguably five to ten minutes, if you are beginning. However, you can extend the duration if you are comfortable with yourself.
    • Feel your breath: While meditating, paying attention to how you inhale and exhale is essential.
  • Notice when your mind has wandered: Your thoughts can stray away, and you lose focus when meditating. When you realize this, focus back on your breath and remain focused. 
  • Experiment with different techniques: Use different meditation techniques, like mindfulness, guided meditation, yoga nidra, body scan, etc.
  • Be kind to yourself: Appreciate your progress no matter how small, and be kind to yourself.

Remember that consistency is the key. Therefore, incorporate this into your daily routine and experience a healthy lifestyle. 

This guided meditation for anxiety and sleep will significantly impact and benefit your body and mental wellbeing. However, to reap all the benefits of meditation, you must be consistent with it.

Frequently Asked Question about Sleep & Anxiety

 How do you meditate for sleep and anxiety?

Meditation for sleep and anxiety can be a powerful medicine for anxiety relief and sound sleep promotion. Hence, start sitting or lying down in a quiet and comfortable place, close your eyes, focus on your breath, and breathe in deeply and slowly. Besides, the various meditation techniques listed in this article are for your use. Experiment and choose the one that suits you.

Does meditation help with anxiety and sleep?

Meditation does help with anxiety and sleep. It can help relax the mind and body, reduce stress, and promote calmness, promoting sound sleep and sweet dreams.

What is a good meditation before bed?

You can practice deep breathing, body scan, and other bedtime meditation techniques. They are good meditations before bed. Experiment with different meditation techniques and choose the one that is convenient for you.

How can I calm myself at night?

You can calm yourself at night by following this step:

  • Sit or lie in a quiet and comfortable place
  • Relax your mind and body
  • Practice deep breathing

Make these steps a night routine and experience sound sleep.


IALH Editor


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