Mindfulness Exercises For Sleep and Relaxation

Sleep better and feel more relaxed with our free mindfulness exercises, guided meditations, mindfulness worksheets and more. 

What Are You Avoiding

What Are You Avoiding

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Avoidance, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your belly, chest, ...
Read More
Mindfulness Of Your Blind Spots

Mindfulness Of Your Blind Spots

We are not always aware of the blind spots that keep us from fully feeling. Acknowledge what is right in ...
Read More
Gratitude Rock

Gratitude Rock

This Gratitude Rock is a Mindfulness Exercise designed to help you remember the things you are grateful for just by ...
Read More
New Study Shows Even Doing Dishes is a Mindful Meditation Technique

New Study Shows Even Doing Dishes is a Mindful Meditation Technique

A new study by the Florida State University shows even doing dishes is a mindful meditation technique. They felt they ...
Read More
Whats Been Important in Your Life

What’s Been Important in Your Life

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on What's Been Important, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your ...
Read More
Mindful of Your Food and Eating

Mindful Of Your Food And Eating

Mindful of Your Food And Eating. This script encourages heightened awareness of one’s experience during a simple bite. It also ...
Read More
Mindful of the body

Mindful of the Body: A Guide

Here Is Your Free Ebook:https://mindfulnessexercises.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Mindful_of_the_Body_A_Study_Guide.pdf “Monks, I lived in refinement, utmost refinement, total refinement. My father even had lotus ponds ...
Read More
Gratitude and gladness

Gratitude and Gladness

Open to the sense of gratitude and gladness. Explore what these experiences are like and how it has the power ...
Read More
Every Emotion Is Useful [Video]

Every Emotion Is Useful [Video]

Knowing how to work with your emotions is one of the most important mindfulness skills to master. Learn to control ...
Read More
Self Inquiry Can Transform

Self Inquiry Can Transform [Video]

Self-inquiry can transform the way we live & work. The key is to meditate on your thoughts & notice what ...
Read More
Finding the missing peace

Finding the Missing Peace

Finding the Missing Peace describes a selection of meditation tools and techniques for beginners that will help you find peace ...
Read More
Noting B

Noting B

Noting B is part of the FitMind Meditation Program. It is necessary to change how we understand and relate to ...
Read More
Neurofeedback Training

Neurofeedback Training

In this mindfulness exercise, undergo Neurotherapy with a trained professional and find out how neurofeedback training helps the brain to ...
Read More
Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness & Pain 5: Balance and Guided Meditation

Discover ways in redirecting the attention as a way of balancing coming out of the pain in Mindfulness & Pain ...
Read More
How Compassion Heals Regret [Video]

How Compassion Heals Regret [Video]

Have you had any regrets? Watch this free video on how achieving compassion can heal even the deepest regrets in ...
Read More
Get in the Flow State What Jazz Can Teach You About Collaboration

What Jazz Can Teach You About Collaboration

The flow state helps us become better collaborators in an organization. The jazz band offers lessons on how to get ...
Read More
Heart Chakra Meditation Balancing

Sleep Chakra Meditation Music

We are devoted to create a new collection of LONG MEDITATION MUSIC videos for you to relax and enjoy in ...
Read More
How To Deal With Anxiety

How To Deal With Anxiety

A discussion on the three sources of anxiety (loss, hardship, and disappointment) and the best way to tackle and deal ...
Read More
Body Scan A

Body Scan A

Body Scan A is part of the FitMind Meditation Program. It is designed to help you feel and bring awareness ...
Read More
How To Relax and Wind Down at End of Day

Relax and Wind Down

Relax and wind down at the end of a busy day by trying these 4 steps. Don't get stuck in ...
Read More
Love Is The Answer

Love Is The Answer

Spring Washam talks about the topic Love Is The Answer. She also talks about opening the heart, freedom, and joy, ...
Read More
Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra

Learn Yoga Nidra from our FitMind Meditation Program. It is a practice of conscious relaxation and also known as yogic ...
Read More
Balance Meditation App

Balance: A Mindfulness App Made Just For You

Finding “the right way” to meditate can be challenging. Though these ancient practices have become more or less mainstream in ...
Read More
Dealing with Entitled Kids

Dealing With Entitled Kids

Do your kids suffer from the “abundance paradox”? Do they feel entitled to having it all? We can combat entitlement ...
Read More
Energy For Action [Video]

Energy For Action [Video]

1.3: How to Energize Yourself for Change (The Gap) from Fred KofmanBy Fred KofmanPhilosopher and Vice President at LinkedinAction arises ...
Read More
Using Sounds As The Object Of Your Awareness

Using Sounds As The Object Of Your Awareness

Using Sounds As The Object Of Your Awareness is a unique guided meditation script that makes use of sounds instead ...
Read More
No Such Thing As Constructive Feedback [Video]

No Such Thing As Constructive Feedback [Video]

Have you ever experienced receiving feedback from others, especially in your workplace? Understand the concept of "constructive feedback" in this ...
Read More
Befriending Yourself Mindfulness meditation

Befriending Yourself

Rick Hanson talks about Befriending Yourself. This practice aims to cultivate the deep sense of being a friend to yourself ...
Read More
Relaxing Sleep Music [Video]

Relaxing Sleep Music [Video]

Listen to this 3 hours of soothing relaxation music by Peder B. Helland and let go of your daily worries ...
Read More
Sports Performance and Mindfulness

Sports, Performance, and Mindfulness

Seattle Seahawks' mindfulness coach talks about how mindfulness is woven into athletic performance and why a winning team should practice ...
Read More
what defeats you

What Defeats You

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on What Defeats You, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your ...
Read More
Nature of Awareness

Peaceful Warrior in Modern Times

Hatred never ceases by hatred. James Baraz discusses how love is the only way to end hatred as we are ...
Read More
Finding Your Meaning of Life

Finding Your Meaning of Life

You must find what it is that gives your life a sense of meaning and purpose. Pursue your dreams, harness ...
Read More
Mindful Living by Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman – Mindful Living

Mark Coleman, Prana Ambassador, talks about mindful living in this video. How can you live in the moment? How can ...
Read More
4 Minute Meditation by Tara Brach, Mindfulness Meditation

4 Minute Meditation

With this guided 4-minute meditation by Tara Brach, you can begin incorporating mindfulness into your life right here and now ...
Read More
Gratitude: A Worksheet

Gratitude: A Worksheet

Gratitude A Worksheet. This 6-step guide can help you start thinking about gratitude. Positive emotions like gratitude can benefit our ...
Read More
Lesson from Nature

Overcome Addiction (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat to Overcome Addiction. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are played ...
Read More
I Have Been Trying And Trying And Nothing Why

I Have Been Trying And Trying And Nothing. Why?

Eckhart Tolle explains how awakening creates a space where thinking is unnecessary and no longer compulsive. Awakening means you have ...
Read More
Gratitude

Gratitude

Gil Fronsdal is a world-renowned Buddhist teacher and scholar. In this free mindfulness talk, he discusses the importance of Gratitude ...
Read More
Practice as a Path of Happiness

Practice as a Path of Happiness

James Baraz talks about how practice leads us to a path of happiness. By which the purpose of life is ...
Read More
Lesson from Nature

Headache Relief (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat for Headache Relief. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are played ...
Read More
Leaving Your Mark On The World

Leave Your Mark On The World

A video that shows how to try to implement a good balance of self-reflection and action-based motivation. Learn how you ...
Read More
Gratitude & Positivity

Gratitude & Positivity

Develop the habit of gratitude through positivity by using your imagination in a positive way and stressing less on the ...
Read More
Intuitive Awareness by Ajahn Sumedho

Intuitive Awareness

Intuitive Awareness is an essential aspect of the spiritual path. Meditation techniques for beginners can increase one's ability to feel ...
Read More
Mindfulness of Sensations and Breath

Mindfulness of Sensations and Breath

Tara Brach takes you through The Art and Science of Meditation. Listen to the first session as it explores the ...
Read More

Mindfulness For Sleep and Relaxation

The Necessity of a Good Night’s Sleep

The quality of our sleep creates a ripple effect that rises with dawn and impacts the day ahead of us. When we have not been able to fall asleep, or have risen in the middle of the night with racing thoughts, it is impossible for us to have gotten the rest we need – both physically and mentally. The experience of insomnia, or of poor sleep quality in general, is rising, with modern day stressors captivating our minds into hours that are traditionally reserved for rest and rejuvenation. Even when the lights go off, it is hard to find that deep sense of peace and release that carries us into a restful slumber.

Reaching a state of deep sleep is crucial for our overall sense of wellbeing. Sleep & relaxation offers us the chance to reset and restore our energy systems. Our physiology thrives when we have slept well as sleep impacts everything from hormones to emotions to energy levels. Research has shown that proper sleep can help us to regulate our emotions and reduces our tendency for reactivity.

A variety of factors can keep us up at night, or make it difficult for us to fall asleep. Insomnia or some lesser form of such an experience can be brought about by:

  • Anxiety, stress, and fear,
  • Repetitive thinking and ruminating,
  • Technology usage and light pollution,
  • Imbalanced hormones,
  • Dietary factors, such as caffeine, sugar, and alcohol,
  • Underlying medical conditions, and
  • Other personal, situational, and environmental factors.

Sleep issues are a daily concern for many; for others, the experience of sleepless nights crops up during periods of acute stress. Whether short-term or chronic, stress impacts our ability to let go, to surrender, and to ultimately reach a state of deep sleep. However, as we expand our own capacity for mindfulness, we find that the quality of our sleep improves alongside our practice.

How Mindfulness Helps to Improve Sleep

Mindfulness practice helps us to be exactly where we are. Of course we are always exactly where we are, but we often don’t recognize it. With distractions and stimulation ever-present in the modern world, the body may be in one place while the mind is in another. Mindfulness practice helps us to come back down to the present moment, offering us a chance to completely let go when we are within the initiatory stages of sleep.

There are numerous ways that mindfulness promotes sleep. It can help us to rest deeply by:

  • Quieting the mind, bringing repetitive thoughts to rest
  • Drawing awareness into the body and away from the past or future
  • Easing the physical body by relaxing the muscles
  • Reconnecting us to the needs and reality of the present moment
  • Slowing the breath and inducing the relaxation response
  • Creating a sense of connection, contentment, and safety

Mindfulness reconnects us to the breath, a necessity for easing the experience of stress and anxiety. When we struggle to fall asleep, stress is often a primary or contributing cause. When we are stressed or anxious, we often breathe quite shallowly, unconsciously restricting each inhalation from expanding into the entirety of the lungs. This shallow breathing engages our fight-or-flight response – the defensive side of our nervous system that is responsible for protecting us in moments of danger.

While the fight-or-flight response is a crucial survival mechanism in times of imminent threat, it is often stuck on overdrive due to an overactive mind. When the mind is in high gear, the body cannot differentiate between what threats are real and imminent and which ones are perceived and remote. If the mind signals that there is a reason to be afraid, the body reacts by secreting various hormones, such as cortisol, to help defend us against whatever we are facing.

Unless we are in a position to respond to whatever is causing us discomfort, this fight-or-flight mode and the cocktail of chemicals it secretes only fuels the state of inner fear and panic. We begin to breathe more shallowly, feeding into the belief that there is danger ahead.

Mindfulness increases our awareness of the breath, often guiding us to observe the rhythm and depth of the breath’s flow. As we become more aware of the body and its life force in this way, we often find that the breath naturally deepens. We can also consciously draw the breath into the belly if we notice that it is shallow. In either case, as the breath descends further into the body, the relaxation response is initiated.

Benefits of the relaxation response include:

  • Slower heart rate,
  • Lowered blood pressure,
  • Slow and steady breathing,
  • Muscular relaxation,
  • Emotional release,
  • Feelings of resilience, and
  • Increased blood flow throughout the body.

All of these benefits help to further promote a sense of relaxation within the body, carrying us further into a sense of ease, and eventually, to place of complete surrender.

Our ability to navigate stress also helps us to achieve a better night’s sleep by regulating our hormones. One of our main neuroendocrine systems is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, otherwise known as the HPA axis. When activated, this system sparks within us the experience of wakefulness, and research has found that stress-related insomnia activates the HPA axis. In this way, stress keeps us up at all hours – at times when what we need most is rest and release. As we learn to navigate the stressors that hover in either the background or foreground of the mind, we become better equipped to mitigate the physiological effects that stress has on the body by guiding the mind back to the present moment.

Mindfulness Techniques for Sleep and Relaxation

There are a variety of mindfulness techniques we can use to bring about a greater sense of peace and stillness as we prepare for sleep. Implement any of the following practices into your nighttime routine, guiding yourself through these techniques (or using online supports) to help bring about a calm and tranquil state that is conducive to sleep.

Before you begin, allow yourself to come to a comfortable lying down position, supporting yourself in any way that is needed. Ensure that the neck is aligned with the spine and that the shoulders are relaxed. Consciously release any constriction in the stomach, the chest, the jaw, and the muscles around the eyes. By mindfully letting go in this way, we set the stage for relaxation to effortlessly come over us.

Body Relaxation

Body scan meditations help to draw your energy away from the mind and into the body, grounding you in the present moment. It is a compassionate, heart-centered practice that facilitates the release of anxiety and rumination.

  • Begin by breathing into the heart space for a few breath cycles, setting the intention to embrace this practice with compassionate curiosity.
  • Once you have settled into the breath, draw your awareness to your feet, feeling into the physical, visceral sensations of this area of the body. Observe whatever is present without judgment, opening up to any physical sensations from a place of openness and compassion.
  • Slowly draw your awareness upwards throughout the body, noting any sensations that are present in each area that you pass. Hold your attention for a couple of breaths on each muscle group as you move. As you exhale, release any and all tightness, tension, or stress that you come across.
  • Compassionately observe each area of the body individually before holding your entire body in awareness. As you witness the entirety of your physical being, invite all muscles to relax, noticing the way the mind follows suit.
  • Continue to breathe mindfully, allowing your breath to anchor you in this practice until you fall asleep. 

Grounding Practice

When we ground ourselves into the present moment by exploring our connectedness to the physical space we are in, we begin to let go of rampant thought waves attached to the past or future. We gain a greater understanding for what it means to be “right here, right now.” By following this grounding practice, we begin to feel a greater sense of contentment, connection, and safety.

  • Begin by connecting with your breath, noticing the subtle sensations of each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the depth and rhythm of your breath, observing its nature with non-judgmental awareness.
  • Expand your field of awareness by tuning into the physical sensations of the body as it rests. Notice the way that the textures around you feel against your skin. Observe the way you are supported unconditionally by the physical world in this very moment.
  • Feel the body become heavier as you relax more completely, sinking further into the physical space that supports you. Continue to observe the stillness and the simplicity of this moment. In this very moment, your pure existence is in total harmony with the rest of the world.
  • Continue to breathe slowly and steadily, allowing your breath to anchor you in this present moment. Remain within the body, guiding the mind back into the present moment anytime it arises. 

Deep Breathing

Since deep breathing activates the relaxation response, it is an effective tool for setting the stage for a deep and restorative sleep. Allow your breath to be your primary focus throughout this practice.

  • Begin simply by observing the natural rhythm of your breath. Notice the way it feels as it enters the body, and then observe any sensations present on exhalation. Invite the rest of the body to be entirely still, allowing only the breath to move you.
  • Draw your awareness to the stomach now. Since the breath has a tendency to follow one’s attention, you might observe the way it naturally begins to deepen. Continue to follow its flow, moving alongside both inhalation and exhalation.
  • Allow the belly to rise and fall as you breathe. Continue breathing into the full capacity of the lungs, perhaps noticing the way the mind quiets as you become more highly attuned with the present moment.
  • Liken your breath to soft waves, allowing it to ebb and flow inwards and out until finally you come to a state of deep release – that is, until you finally drift into a deep and transformative sleep.

Try Our Free 100-Day Mindfulness Challenge

Free Mindfulness Exercises Delivered Each Day

Receive daily mindfulness meditations, worksheets and infographics to help you start each day mindful.

>
mindfulness exercises