Have you ever struggled to fall asleep because your mind just won’t shut off? You’re not alone. From global wars, national unrest, and the daily worries of our personal lives, getting our minds to turn off to sleep at night can be difficult.  One of the best ways I’ve found to support getting to sleep is by incorporating meditation into your bedtime routine. Meditation has been found to improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety. In this guide, we will discuss how to use meditation before bed to improve your sleep and overall well-being.

Set the scene

Setting a scene to meditate easily is essential. Some find a quiet and comfortable spot where you can dim the lights or use candles to create a cozy atmosphere to be ideal. Some find soft music or white noise to block out unwanted noises most helpful. How you set the scene will vary; taking the time to discover what works best for you is most important.

Your ideal scene will most likely change over time and depend on the season you are in. I used to incorporate incense and candles and then when I had young children at home, I worried too much about the scent and flames being a hazard, so I removed those for a season. Be open to changing your ideal scene as your feelings, seasons, and surroundings change.

Candle tip: I ensure that any candles are non-toxic, so I avoid paraffin wax and choose coconut, soy, or beeswax. In addition to the wax, I opt for a fragrance derived from essential oils. The word “fragrance” normally means synthetic fragrance, which often contains phthalates, endocrine disruptors and other carcinogens. 

Focus on your breath

Sitting cross-legged or lying down, take a few deep breaths and breathe naturally. Focus on the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. If your mind wanders, gently redirect your attention back to your breath.

Familiarizing yourself with different breathing techniques can come in handy when it’s time to focus on your breath so that it can come naturally. One of my favorite breathing techniques I use while meditating is alternate nostril breathing. It is a simple and powerful method that alternates inhaling and exhaling one nostril at a time.

Body scan

Starting from your toes and working your way up to the top of your head, pay attention to each part of your body. Notice any areas of tension or discomfort and consciously relax those muscles. Note any sensations and thoughts related that come to mind with each section of your body, including the lack of tension or discomfort. 

The goal of body scanning is not to change anything about the body – rather, it is an opportunity to observe what arises and to be curious about the experience. It’s important to remember that this practice doesn’t seek to “fix” any issues but provides space and attention for the body and mind to come together in stillness. 

Guided meditation

Guided meditation is a form of mindfulness practice involving verbal cues to lead the practitioner through their thoughts and focus on specific themes or ideas. During guided meditation, participants are encouraged to pay attention to their breath, body sensations, thoughts, emotions, and physical environment. Through this practice, individuals can gain insight into themselves and cultivate self-awareness. 

Many guided meditations are available online, specifically designed to help you fall asleep. These can be helpful for beginners or anyone who needs some extra guidance. Some popular apps include Headspace and Calm.

I often like the physical feel of using cards to help guide me in meditation. I’m especially enjoying this card deck, which lets me quickly pull a card, focus on the task, and make space for meditation in 5-10 minutes daily. This meditation card deck is adaptable and great for those new to meditation as well as those experienced.

Once you find meditations that work well for you, take and tweak them to make them what you need. There are days when guided meditation is exactly what I need, and other days when I need to freedom to go in whatever direction I wish. 

Gratitude practice

Before you drift off to sleep, take a moment to reflect on the good things in your life. Think about something or someone you are grateful for and focus on the feelings of gratitude. This will help shift your mindset from negative thoughts to positive ones.

I generally incorporate 3-5 minutes into my gratitude practice to pray for the needs of others. This is a natural flow as I reflect on the people I am grateful for in my life.

Before sleep, I have found it to be a time when my mind wanders to all the things I need to do, conflicts I’m facing, and things I need to fix. It can be overwhelming and lead to staying awake much longer than I should. The act of not forcing myself to forget what’s on my mind but simply focusing on gratitude has been a powerful task. It has even helped me approach my to-do’s and running thoughts with a new and clearer perspective. 

While gratitude practice is great for aiding in falling asleep, it benefits overall health. When practicing gratitude, the brain produces serotonin – a natural mood stabilizer. Serotonin helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression while boosting happiness and overall well-being. Studies have also shown that regular gratitude practice can improve relationships as people become more appreciative of others’ help and contributions. 

Furthermore, gratitude practice has been found to positively affect physical health, such as lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and reducing inflammation – an underlying cause of many illnesses. Gratitude can be an incredibly powerful tool for improving mental and physical well-being. 


Adding meditation to your bedtime routine can greatly benefit your sleep and overall well-being. Finding a quiet space, focusing on your breath, doing a body scan, trying guided meditation, or practicing gratitude can prepare your mind and body for a restful night’s sleep. Give it a try and see how meditation can transform your bedtime routine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *