Mindfulness and meditation have become mainstream over the past few years. One of meditation’s key benefits is that regular practice can help make you feel more relaxed. This is especially important for when you want to get your head on the pillow and drift off to sleep.
You’ll find several meditation apps that focus on helping you relax, and when the time comes, fall asleep. Here are the best meditation apps for relaxing and sleeping.
Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps and is widely credited for making app-based meditation a part of modern life. The app was co-created by Richard Pierson and Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk.
There are 10 free meditations for you to use; anything more requires a subscription. However, with that subscription, you get access to Headspace’s entire library of meditations. These are broken down into themes like happiness, relaxation, and sleep. The app gamifies meditation, increasing your Run Streak for each consecutive day you meditate with Headspace.
The app has introduced an entire section dedicated to sleep. This new feature has meditations to help you unwind before bed, along with ambient music and some audio visualizations called Sleepcasts. If you have difficulty sticking to a regular bedtime, you can ask Headspace for a gentle nudge when it’s time to wind down.
Calm is another service offering app-based meditations. However, while Headspace’s primary focus is meditation, Calm aims at a range of mindfulness and wellbeing techniques.
It was among the first of its kind to add a dedicated section devoted to sleep, known as Sleep Stories. These are stories read by celebrities noted for their pleasing voices like Stephen Fry and ASMR artist Emma Whispers Red, alongside archival recordings of Bob Ross.
Sleep Stories are updated weekly, so there should always be something new when you load up the app. If you experience ASMR, you might also want to watch some YouTube videos that’ll trigger ASMR.
Calm offers a limited number of meditations for free, but if you want access to the whole library, you’ll need to join Calm Premium. As part of the premium subscription, you can view Calm Body, a series of instructional videos that guide you through mindful movement—a mix between meditation and yogic stretching.
3. Insight Timer
Insight Timer is one of the most successful free meditation apps for Android and iOS. Unlike many similar apps, Insight Timer makes its library of 15,000 guided meditations available for free. If you prefer unguided meditations, the app’s Timer allows you to customize your session by length and ambient noise, along with bell type and frequency. This is important, as controlling the noise around you helps you stay focused.
While most of the content is free, Insight Timer also offers a premium subscription. This grants you access to a new meditation each day, 10 and 30-day meditation courses, and offline playback. If getting a good night’s sleep is high on your priority list, you may want to invest in the premium subscription solely for access to the app’s Night mode.
The 914 dedicated sleep meditations come from over 500 teachers, so you should be able to find a session that works for you. If you join Insight Premium, there is even a 10-day course on getting deeper sleep.
Most mindfulness apps primarily focus on meditation, with sleep as a secondary focus. However, Sleepfulness, as the name suggests, is entirely dedicated to helping you get a better night’s sleep. The app was developed by Mindfulness Everywhere, which also released the meditation app Buddhify.
If you’ve ever used Buddify, you’ll know that the experience is different from many other meditation apps. You can select sessions by scrolling through a play wheel that groups them into four categories; Going to Bed, Can’t Sleep, Waking Up, or Daytime. You can opt to have some appropriate music play for up to 10 minutes at the end of each session too.
Sleepfulness also customizes your experience through in-app questionnaires. The answers you give to these questions feed into the app’s Insights section. This offers you session recommendations, along with guidance and facts to improve your time with Sleepfulness and get a better night’s rest.
5. Stop, Breathe & Think
Stop, Breathe & Think (SBT) started life as part of the non-profit organization Tools for Peace. It aims to teach mindfulness and meditation to teenagers; the development of SBT emerged from that work. It was initially intended for those under 25, but has since grown into a mindfulness app suitable for all ages.
The goal of Tools for Peace and SBT is to help develop kindness and compassion in everyday life. To that end, the meditations broadly revolve around how finding inner peace can cultivate kindness towards others. The emphasis is on building a habit, so the default meditation is just five minutes long. This is manageable enough to fit into even the busiest days.
The app offers over 40 free meditations, and an additional 100 unlock with a premium subscription. SBT caters to those who want to improve their sleep too. There are sleep-specific meditations, soundscapes, and breathing exercises to help you get some shuteye.
The Best Meditation App for You
In our increasingly busy world, it’s essential to make time for yourself to relax and get some good quality sleep. Just a few minutes using one of these guided meditations apps should help you on your way to a more content state of mind. You might still be concerned by the quality of your slumber though. Fortunately, there are apps for tracking your sleep that may be able to help.
If you feel you’ve been spending too much time on your phone, it may help to be mindful of how you use it. In that case, you should consider installing an app that’ll help you fight your smartphone addiction too.