When any discussion of meditation in bed comes up, you’ll often see people have wildly conflicting opinions. Unfortunately, that can make it really confusing to figure out what’s true and what’s not. Thankfully, the science on the matter is pretty established, and we can always point to that as a guiding light.

Whether you’re using a guided meditation, or you’re just looking to learn how to meditate before bed the right way, the quality of your experience comes down to how you set things up. However, before we jump into that, we want to show you exactly what you need to know about why this is good for you and which groups of people are the most likely to get the most from this type of mindfulness practice just before they go to sleep.

A lotus flower sits on a dark landscape as a symbol of mindfulness.

How Do We Know Meditation Before Sleep Works?

We’ll make this as plain as we can so that there’s no room for opinion: A really great meta analysis of 18 different studies with over 1,600 participants was conducted between the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Nursing Research and some other entities.

What was their key finding?

The evidence suggests that mindfulness meditation can improve sleep quality in a variety of clinical populations with sleep disturbance.[1]

The science is very much settled on this topic. Mindfulness meditation can help a lot with sleep quality, particularly if you’re having sleep disturbances, as shown by this massive meta analysis. You can also get better sleep by taking days off occasionally just to relax.

If you’re wanting to learn how to meditate properly in bed, and you’re worried about which type of meditation you’re using, another piece of information from this study can be useful to know. Participants used a variety of different specific techniques, and there was no one specific type that stood out head and shoulders above the rest.

The point is this: It’s more important to spend time doing it than it is to spend time worrying about the particulars and getting lost in the details. However, down below, we will show you what we believe to be the easiest way to learn how to meditate in bed, especially if you keep falling asleep while you’re trying to do it.

A woman sits meditating as the sun goes down in the background in front of her.

Why You Should Learn How to Meditate Before Bed

As we saw from the meta analysis noted above, people with sleep disturbances were often able to get better sleep. This was especially the case for those who had sleep-related issues due to various types of anxiety. We can’t say that we’re surprised by that considering how mindfulness meditation and deep breathing are some of the most effective treatments for anxiety in the general sense. The resulting effects of muscle relaxation alone can be enough to affect how you feel at night.

However, you need to think beyond just the immediate night of sleep to really consider the rest of the benefits:

  • Better sleep is associated with a better outcome in pretty much everything in life.
  • That includes health outcomes, monetary outcomes, relationship happiness and more.
  • Taking active steps to make sure you’re getting solid sleep can be like unlocking a cheat code that makes the rest of your life better all at the same time.

When you get better sleep, that makes you have a better day. You don’t have to deal with as many issues falling asleep in the first place, and lying down to go to bed isn’t as stressful of an event since you aren’t expecting it to go poorly.

It’s pretty well-known that getting a good night’s sleep is a key component of maximizing your productivity as well. What we want you to see is that this simple practice can improve one of the most important parts of your life (your sleep) in a way that touches everything you do.

The Importance of Learning How to Meditate Properly in Bed

Trying to do meditation before sleep can be a great thing that helps you in all of the ways that we’ve outlined up above. However, you can also run into some pretty unique problems in the process due to the context of the situation.

For one, you can simply fall asleep while meditating. That’s an issue because you don’t get the full benefit of your practice.

But you can run into other problems as well. For example, you might have a great session with your practice and feel ready to lay down and doze off when you’re done. However, you might not be set up properly to transition from your practice to sleep, and it ends up waking you up instead.

So how do you meditate in bed without these types of problems? We have a really simple and easy-to-learn method outlined in the following that will show you everything you need to know.

A woman sits on a bed meditating on her flower arrangement.

Do It The Easy Way: How to Meditate in Bed Without Falling Asleep

The following is a step-by-step method that will set you up exactly as you need to be to get the most from any type of meditation practice that comes just before falling asleep. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a guided meditation or are simply using deep breathing to create muscle relaxation without actually going into a mindful state.

This is borrowed from certain techniques to help with lucid dreaming. However, it can be applied even if you aren’t a practitioner and just want to focus on the benefits of meditation before going to bed.

Regardless of which approach you use, setting yourself up in bed in the way we show you here will help you to avoid all kinds of obstacles that can get in your way.

Step 1: Position Yourself Properly

  • Fold the covers back from the side of the bed to allow enough space for easily lying down when you’re done.
  • Sit on the opposite end of the bed away from your pillows, but face your pillows during your practice.

Step 2: Perform Your Practice

  • If you need to use a timer for this, sit it on your nightstand beside of your pillow so that you can easily reach it when you’re done with this approach.
  • Stay sitting up during your practice to help ward off the chances of falling asleep too early.

Step 3: Transition to Sleeping

  • When your practice is complete, you want to transition directly to sleeping without doing anything else in between.
  • All you have to do is lay down in the space directly in front of you and pull the blankets back over you from where you folded them over in Step 1.

This is really the easiest way you can make this work. While it sounds simple (because it is), it’s actually formed up in a way to tactically avoid every major issue that stops people from learning how to meditate properly in bed.

With that said, we do have one other issue we want to address directly in the following.

A bed is set up for pre-sleep meditation with the covers pulled to the side and the lights dimmed.

How Do You Meditate in Bed With a Partner You Sleep With?

The above three-step process works great for practicing meditation before sleep if you’re the only person in your bed at night. However, if you regularly sleep with someone else (like a partner or child) in the same bed, then you may have to make adjustments.

The first thing is to communicate what you’re doing. This can often be the only thing you need to do, especially if the person you sleep with can come to bed around the same time you’re lying down.

However, if they need to go to sleep before you, you don’t want to just wake them up. Instead, we suggest setting the process up exactly the same except using a chair or the floor in another room to perform the actual meditation. Once you’re finished, you get up and go straight to bed all the same.

The Bottom Line

The main thing we want to get across here is that boosting the quality of your sleep by learning how to meditate before bed is a pretty big deal for a lot of people. It can affect your life in some pretty great ways, and it’s also a good baseline skill to have to help ward off anxiety or calm your mind before finishing up your day with some rest.

Resources

  1. Rusch, H. L., Rosario, M., Levison, L. M., Olivera, A., Livingston, W. S., Wu, T., & Gill, J. M. (2019). The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1445(1), 5–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13996
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