Mindfulness and meditation have become mainstream over the past few years. One of the main benefits of meditation is that regular practice can help you feel more relaxed. This is especially important when you want to put your head on the pillow and fall asleep.
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 to relax and sleep.
Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps and is widely credited for making app-based meditation a part of modern life. This app was co-created by Richard Pierson and Andy Puddicombe, a former monk.
There are 10 free meditations for you to use; anything more requires a subscription. However, with that subscription, you get access to the entire Headspace meditation library. It is broken down into themes such as happiness, relaxation, and sleep. This app does meditation, increasing your Run Streak for each day in a row when you meditate with Headspace.
This app has introduced a whole section dedicated to sleep. This new feature has meditations to help you relax before bed, along with ambient music and several audio visualizations called Sleepcasts. If you’re having trouble sticking to a regular bedtime, you can ask Headspace for a gentle nudge when it’s time to rest.
Download: Headspace for Android | iOS (Free trial, subscription required)
Calm is another service that offers app-based meditation. However, while Headspace’s primary focus is meditation, Calm aims at a range of mindfulness and well-being techniques.
It was the first of its kind to add a dedicated section devoted to sleep, known as Sleep Stories. These are stories read by celebrities known for their lovable voices like Stephen Fry and ASMR artist Emma Whispers Red, along with archival recordings of Bob Ross.
Sleep Stories are updated weekly, so there’s always something new when you load the app. If you are experiencing ASMR, you may also want to watch some YouTube videos that will trigger ASMR.
Calm offers a number of free meditations, but if you want access to the entire library, you must join Calm Premium. As part of a premium subscription, you can view Calm Body, a series of instructional videos that guide you through mindful movement — a blend of meditation and yoga stretches.
Download: Calm for Android | iOS (Free trial, subscription required)
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 guided meditation, the app’s Timer allows you to customize the session according to the length and ambient noise, along with the type and frequency of the buzzer. This is important, because controlling the noise around you will help you stay focused.
While most of the content is free, Insight Timer also offers a premium subscription. It gives you access to new meditations every day, 10 and 30 day meditation courses, and offline playback. If a good night’s sleep is high on your priority list, you may want to invest in a premium subscription just for access to the app’s Night mode.
The 914 custom 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’s even a 10-day course to sleep better.
Download: Insight Timer for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)
Most mindfulness apps focus primarily 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. This 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 the spin wheel which groups them into four categories; Sleeping, Unable to Sleep, Waking Up, or During the Day. You can choose to play appropriate music for up to 10 minutes at the end of each session as well.
Sleepfulness also customizes your experience via an in-app questionnaire. The answers you provide to these questions are entered into the Insights section of the app. It offers you session recommendations, along with guidelines and facts to improve your time with Sleepfulness and get a better night’s rest.
Download: Sleepfulness for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
Stop, Breathe & Think (SBT)
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; SBT development emerged from that work. It was originally intended for those under the age of 25, but has since grown into a mindfulness app suitable for all ages.
The purpose of Tools for Peace and SBT is to help develop kindness and compassion in everyday life. To that end, meditation broadly revolves around how finding inner peace can cultivate kindness in others. The emphasis is on building habits, so standard meditation is only five minutes. It’s manageable enough to fit into even the busiest of days.
The app offers over 40 free meditations, and 100 additional unlocks with a premium subscription. SBT also caters to those who want to improve their sleep quality. There are sleep meditations, sound blinds, and breathing exercises to help you get shuteye.
Download: Stop, Breathe & Think for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)
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