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Mindfulness Exercises For Sleep and Relaxation

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

One Meditation For Increasing Feelings of Safety, Contentment & Care

One Meditation For Increasing Feelings of Safety, Contentment & Care

Rick Hanson, in his book Hardwiring Happiness, shares how meditation can increase feelings of safety, contentment, care, and love ...
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know why you judged others

Know Why You Judged Others

Know why you judged others with the practices of mindfulness exercises. These mindfulness practices can help to increase one's ability ...
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Guided Meditation with Adyashanti [Video]

Guided Meditation with Adyashanti [Video]

Published on Nov 6, 2013A guided meditation prayer with spiritual teacher Adyashanti."Not my will, but the heart's will be done.""All ...
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The Best Of Mozart Slowed Down 432Hz

The Best Of Mozart – Slowed Down @ 432Hz

Enjoy the best piano sonatas by Mozart specially recorded at the natural frequency of the Cosmos, 432Hz, for a unique ...
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Mindfulness exercise

Impulse To Freedom

Anam Thubten urges us to find out about the thought of our impulse to freedom. A spiritual impulse which is ...
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Awareness of Each of the Five Senses

Awareness of Each of the Five Senses

Awareness of each of the five senses is a guided meditation script that brings mindfulness to the senses. Practicing regularly ...
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Experience Your Mind Like An Ocean

Experience Your Mind Like An Ocean

Experience Your Mind Like an Ocean. In this meditation, the reader guides the listener to a deep place of stillness ...
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Basic Body Scan

Basic Body Scan

Tara Brach walks us through a basic body scan meditation. Feeling tense, anxious, or upset? A basic body scan is ...
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Fred Luskin The Choice to Forgive

Fred Luskin: The Choice To Forgive

This video discusses how forgiveness is a choice in every case of loss, and that if forgiveness is chosen, openness ...
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Lovingkindness In The Face Of Adversity [Video]

“Lovingkindness In the Face of Adversity” [Video]

Sharon Salzberg talks about Lovingkindness in the face of adversity. She says Lovingkindness is something that is full of tremendous ...
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Your Brain on Mindfulness

Your Brain on Mindfulness

As with any muscle, the brain must exercise this practice of mindfulness in order to appreciate the completeness of being ...
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Cleansing Aura For Sleep A Spoken Meditation

Cleansing Aura For Sleep – A Spoken Meditation

This guided meditation by Jason Stephenson uses beautiful, soothing music to help you relax, let go of stress & fall ...
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creating complexity

Creating Complexity

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Creating Complexity, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your belly, ...
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Mindfulness for Kids Just Breathe

Mindfulness for Kids – “Just Breathe”

“Just Breathe” is a short film featuring elementary school students who use mindfulness and meditation to cope with a range ...
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How To Feel Safe, Content & Connected

How To Feel Safe, Content & Connected

We have 3 overarching needs. Needs that help us be safe by avoiding harms, help us be content by rewards ...
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Three Mindful Meditation Techniques to Start the Day

Three Mindful Meditation Techniques to Start the Day

Three Mindful Meditation Techniques to Start the Day entails the building of awareness of mind, heart, and body-- wonderful process ...
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Jack Kornfield: 12 Principles of Forgiveness

Jack Kornfield: 12 Principles of Forgiveness

The acclaimed author and teacher explains the principles that are integral to the process of forgiving, according to Buddhist philosophy.One: ...
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Rain on The Nile by Ajahn Amaro

Rain on the Nile

A free mindfulness ebook Rain on The Nile by Ajahn Amaro talks about people's creative instinct, where it comes from ...
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Minfulness meditation for beginners

Meditation For Beginners Who Have Trouble Sitting Still

Meditation techniques for beginners can help by addressing common difficulties like having trouble sitting still. Your body needs to be ...
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Improve Your Inner Calm With These Mindfulness Group Exercises

Improve Your Inner Calm With These Mindfulness Group Exercises

It is quickly becoming aware to many people that mindfulness is an important part of our mental and physical health ...
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Lesson from Nature

Guided Compassion Meditation [Audio]

Guided Compassion Meditation by Bonnie Duran:So, we know that compassion is one of four Brahma Vihara’s. It’s a very wholesome and ...
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Body Scan Advanced

Body Scan, Advanced

Body Scan Advanced. This meditation script is a simple guide for leading a body awareness practice. It includes notes on ...
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Great Patient One

Great Patient One

Great Patient One is Part 2 of Where Are You Going- A Pilgrimage on Foot to the Buddhist Holy Places ...
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Calming Peaceful Music

Calming Peaceful Music

Relax. Let go of the stress & tension & fall asleep better & faster with the soothing sounds of our ...
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Hypnosis Utopia Sleep Meditation [Video]

Hypnosis Utopia Sleep Meditation [Video]

Are you suffering from insomnia, or having difficulty with falling asleep? This sleep meditation video will help you fall asleep ...
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RAIN meditation

RAIN

RAIN meditation is a practice that can be used with any content of mind but typically applied to unpleasant, uncomfortable, ...
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Nachiketa and the Lord of Death

Nachiketa and the Lord of Death

Jack Kornfield tells the story of Nachiketa who puts his ego before him unafraid to face the Lord of Death ...
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Body Scan

Body Scan

Body scan is a guided meditation by Sean Fargo that helps to promote calmness. This offers an opportunity to release ...
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1 Minute Meditation

1 Minute Meditation

Fitting meditation into your day doesn’t have to be a challenge. Try this free 1-minute mindfulness meditation by Tara Brach, ...
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Emotional Validation

Emotional Validation

Processing and understanding emotions can be difficult. This free mindfulness exercise for emotional validation can help you clarify and process ...
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Solar Plexus Activation

Solar Plexus Activation & Healing, Kundalini Sleep Music

The 6th Ray of "Devotion" governs this chakra. This chakra symbol connects us with the energy to "act" and is ...
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The Meaning Connection Between Mindfulness and Happiness

Connection Between Mindfulness and Happiness

Find out how a humanistic-oriented theoretical foundation for meaning in life mediates between mindfulness meditation and happiness.With the strength of ...
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mindful eating with oranges

Mindful Eating With Oranges – A Mindful Eating Exercise

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Mindful Eating, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your belly, ...
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Mantras for Deep Inner Peace

Mantras for Deep Inner Peace

These 8 Mantras for Deep Inner Peace can have a powerful effect in calming your mind. Use it as background ...
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Conscious Expression [Video]

Conscious Expression [Video]

Impulsive reactions are not good for you or anyone around you. Mindfulness practice teaches you emotional intelligence through conscious expression ...
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The Wings To Awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Wings to Awakening

"The Wings to Awakening: An Anthology from the Pali Canon" is the 1st organized set of teachings that the Buddha ...
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Take Action In Your Life

How To Take Care Of Yourself (While Taking Care Of Others)

How do you balance taking care of yourself and others without sacrificing your dreams or suffering burning out? Here are ...
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The Fierce

The Fierce Heart

Spring Washam talks about compassion- The Fierce Heart. There is a lot of suffering in the world, and all are ...
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Two Minute Meditation

Two Minute Meditation

Take a little moment to restore calm and confidence.Instance 150Guided AudioMeditations Effective for reducing stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia.$48 Download ...
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6 Mindful Breathing Exercises

6 Mindful Breathing Exercises

Here are 6 mindful breathing exercises to help you reduce stress, improve sleep, uplift mood and boost brain performance. Pretty ...
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Being Present for Whatever Arises

Being Present for Whatever Arises

Phillip Moffitt leads a meditation to be present for whatever arises or is occurring. To live in the current moment ...
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Meditations 2 by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Meditations 2

Meditations 2. The Dhamma talks included in this volume were given during the evening meditation sessions, and in many cases ...
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Lessons from Nature

Nature: Tropical Storm

Nature Sounds: Tropical Storm. Thunder rumbles the sky as the heavy rain pours down. The rain is cooling down the ...
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Still quiet place within

Still Quiet Place Within

Gil Fronsdal talks about Still Quiet Place Within. As the mind turn inwards for meditation, the still quiet place within ...
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Hardwiring Happiness: Meditation

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As we struggle to find happiness, we discover the importance of peace, love, and contentment. Let us hardwire our happiness ...
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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.

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