Written by:

Updated on:

February 20, 2024

Millions lose sleep every night due to intrusive, ruminative thoughts. In this relaxation meditation for sleep, listeners are invited to develop a new relationship to their thoughts, by visualizing them as a flowing river. We can get swept away by the river, or we can watch from the shore and let it flow. By doing the latter, we initiate relaxation within the body. 

Meditation teaches through felt experience that we are not our thoughts, nor do we have to engage with every one of them. There are many techniques we can use to create more space between our thoughts, and our sense of self as an observer versus the thinker. Visualization is one such technique.

By visualizing thoughts as passing us by, we get to know their nature. Thoughts arise, last for a while, then dissolve. Just before bed, it can be especially relaxing to give ourselves space to rest back and let our thoughts go.

  • Practice Time: < 10 minutes
  • Purpose: Improving Sleep Quality and Quantity
  • May Help With: Stress Relief, Relaxation, Letting Go Of Thoughts
  • Practice Level: Beginner
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Here’s a Sample of the “Learn to Guide Relaxation Meditation For Sleep” Guided Meditation Script:

[To be read is a melodic and slow way of speaking]
[ “….” = 3 second pauses]

Perhaps sometimes you may wish that there was an off-button for your mind.
[pause 4 seconds]

An overly busy mind can halt us in many ways throughout our lives….and one of the main things a busy minds interrupts, for millions of people around the world, is a good night’s sleep, every single night.
[pause 4 seconds]

Why is this so?
To answer this, let’s relax your mind just a little bit right now..
[pause 4 seconds]

Imagine that your mind is represented by a river, with waters that sometimes flow by slowly when there is a lack of rain, or sometimes very quickly.
Depending on the weather…and the time of year.
[pause 4 seconds]

Your mind is the river.
Your thoughts are the water.
[pause 4 seconds]

relaxation meditation for sleep, Learn to Guide Relaxation Meditation For Sleep

How quickly is your river of the mind flowing right now?
How fast are the thoughts, represented by water, flowing in the river?
[pause 4 seconds]

Just watch this flow as if you are sitting on the riverbank, enjoying it.
[pause 4 seconds]

[pause 4 seconds]

Now just allow for the seasons to pass and the weather to change and watch your river change along with it.
[pause 4 seconds]

The seasons represent your overall happiness in your life….

Are you achieving quarterly goals you set for yourself?....

Seasons change but each one of them can be viewed as beautiful….

Seasons can be tough, or they can be mild and enjoyable.
[pause 4 seconds]

The waters of the river represent your thoughts….

How to Use This Meditation For Sleep And Relaxation Script

This guided meditation for sleep and relaxation is appropriate for all levels of practitioners. Whether you’re using it for personal practice or using it to guide others, it may be helpful to record this sleep meditation. After all, the goal is to allow the listener to drift off to sleep.

Before creating your audio or video recording, familiarize yourself with the script by reading through it several times. You may want to make minor edits, using words that are more authentically yours, or cutting out parts that do not resonate. When adding, be sure that your additions align with the meditation’s intent.

Read in a slow, soothing voice, allowing for plenty of pauses. Pauses are especially helpful when guiding visualizations as they give listeners space to conjure up their own images.  


Setting time aside each day to practice mindfulness positively influences sleep quality and quantity. With mindfulness meditation, we learn that stopping thoughts is impossible, but we can stop thoughts from keeping us up at night by viewing them from a wider perspective.  Use this relaxation meditation for sleep to help yourself, or someone else, get better rest by learning to let go of intrusive thoughts.

About the author 

Sara-Mai Conway

Sara-Mai Conway is a writer, yoga and meditation instructor living and working in Baja Sur, Mexico. In addition to online offerings, she teaches donation-based community classes in her tiny, off-grid hometown on the Pacific coast. She is a certified 500-hour Remedial Yoga and Applied Mindfulness Advanced teacher with Bodhi Yoga Spain under the Independent Yoga Network (UK).