DEEP DIVE

Meditation Apps for Better Sleep

These apps help you go from om to zzz.

Having trouble sleeping? Chances are there’s a perfectly good reason.

“When we go to sleep, we’re processing all these thoughts about what happened during the day,” says Christian Wolthers, cofounder and CEO of Zen: Meditation & Sleep. “But we’re also preoccupying our minds with stuff that hasn’t happened yet.”

These are challenges meditation has been addressing for millennia.

Open any meditation app and you’ll likely find an entire section focused on sleep, with the aim of helping people find the same calm at night as they do during the day. 

“We hear the biggest hurdle for people starting meditation is time,” says Derek Haswell, cofounder of the meditation app Ten Percent Happier. “But the evening is a great place to get in a little self-care.”

‣ Demand is certainly strong these days. Alex Will, chief strategy officer at Calm, says users of his app cite “improve sleep” as their number-one goal.

To meet the need, Calm launched Sleep Stories, bedtime tales read by the exceptionally soothing voices of actors Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry, singer Leona Lewis, and the late painter Bob Ross (whose relaxing Joy of Painting monologues and swishing paintbrush are offered as audio segments).

The stories, Will says, are Calm’s flagship product, “specially engineered to quiet the mind and lull listeners into a deep and restful sleep.”

    Calm

    Meditation and Sleep Stories

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Headspace’s sleepcasts combine breathing techniques, guided meditation, soundscapes, and music to create an immersive experience; they can be as long as 55 minutes and are remixed daily, so you never hear the same one twice.

    Headspace: Meditation & Sleep

    Stress less & relaxing sounds

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Ten Percent Happier offers guided meditations that encourage you to ease into sleep, practice gratitude as you drift off, and dissolve your discomfort. For most sessions, you can choose the length—from 10 to 45 minutes—before you press play.

    Ten Percent Happier Meditation

    Find calm, insight, and sleep

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Zen: Meditation & Sleep has programs that incorporate binaural beats and sounds designed to trigger an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), said to bring about a deeper state of relaxation.

    Zen: Meditation & Sleep

    Anxiety Relief and Relaxation

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