Various studies have shown that meditation enhances the body’s melatonin levels, as well as the precursors of melatonin (serotonin and noradrenaline). (1) Considering the role that this natural hormone plays in sleep maintenance, it’s safe to assume that because meditation enhances melatonin levels, it also supports sleep quality. (2)
Below are our top picks for the best meditation apps (on Apple iOS and Android) to help facilitate better sleep. Whether you’re a seasoned meditator or a total beginner, there’s something here for everyone.
Insight Timer—one of the few free meditation apps—comes with sleep meditations, talks, and calming music tracks to help relax the mind and body in preparation for sleep onset. There are 80+ new free guided meditations added daily, all of which are led by the world’s top mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, and psychologists.
- Free to download and use
- One optional paid feature: Insight Premium Meditation ($9.99/month or $59.99/year), which grants you access to Insight Courses, offline listening, high-quality audio, and more.
Headspace is a guided meditation app that’ll teach you mindfulness skills to “put your mind to bed.” There are hundreds of hours of content, with recordings to suit different moods and lifestyles. You can choose the session length and easily replay your favorites to help quiet racing thoughts, sleep soundly, and wake up refreshed.
- Free to download
- Option for a 7-day free trial (and limited free features)
- Following the free trial, you’re automatically enrolled in Headspace Plus for $12.99/month or $69.99 annual subscription.
- Discounts for students and families
Buddhify contains a variety of meditations (led by soothing narrators) specifically designed for sleep. The content, which ranges from 3-40 minutes, will teach you how to leverage the reliability and regularity of the breath to quiet an active mind and release any remaining tensions from the day. You’ll also learn how to better observe your thoughts without getting caught up in them and focus on gratitude as a way to relax the mind and body.
- $4.99 to download (no free version)
For help falling AND staying asleep.
Calm offers a stacked library of Sleep Stories (bedtime stories for adults!), soundscapes, nature sounds, relaxing music, sleep meditations, mindfulness Masterclasses, and other audio-guided content designed to help you fall asleep easier every night. With guided meditations that range from 3-25 minutes, you can choose the perfect length for you.
Fun fact: the Sleep Stories are narrated by well-known voices such as Lebron James, Kate Winslet, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Winslet, Laura Dern, Lucy Liu, and more.
- Free to download
- Following a 7-day trial, you’re automatically enrolled in Calm Premium ($14.99/month, $69.99/year)
Pzizz is one of the more unique mindfulness apps out there. They utilize psychoacoustic science to create dreamscapes tailored to different stages of your sleep cycle to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed. On top of these dreamscapes are layered voice narrations like diaphragmatic and heart rate variability breathing, mindfulness meditation sessions, guided imagery, somatic awareness, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, hypnosis, and more. You can set your listening time for any length up to 24 hours, and over time Pzizz will get to know what kinds of sounds you like and dislike.
- Free to download
- Pzizz Pro: $9.99/month or $69.99/year
Shark Tank fans out there might recognize Simple Habit, which was featured on the season premiere back in 2017. The app comes with wellness and sleep therapy sessions that include mindfulness and daily meditation programs, guided sleep sessions, and even coaching offerings led by everyone from mindfulness experts at Google to former monks (yes, really). We love the fact that you can also track your progress via Mindful Minutes to stay motivated.
- Free to download + use (there’s a fair amount of free content)
- Premium access ($11.99/month, $89.99/year, or $299.99 lifetime access) grants you access to additional meditations + the ability to download sessions for offline listening
Interested in sleep podcasts/ASMR instead? We’ve got a full list of our 12 favorites.
- 7 Breathing Exercises For Better Sleep
- How To Cultivate An Evening Wind-Down Routine For Better Sleep
- How Stress Affects Sleep
- Guide To Ashwagandha For Stress + Anxiety