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MeditationStress and Sleep

Stress and Sleep

When stressed, the body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline — not ideal for sleep. The good news? Meditation and mindfulness are some of the best ways to counteract this. This exercise will help you step away from a busy mind and into a more restful state. Designed to be done during the day.

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Hi, and welcome to this guided meditation on stress and in particular, how stress impacts our sleep. Like all the meditations in this series this has been designed to be done during the day. For so many of us, when that time comes to switch out the light and our head hits the pillow, our mind can go into overdrive. And in some cases it can also feel like a very physical experience. A feeling of restlessness in the body and sleep can feel very far away. So it can be really helpful to address those feelings in the day before you go to bed. Now, stress can be a result of many different factors and it will vary greatly for each of us, Work stress, relationships our finances, global pandemics. There is a lot about modern life that is very challenging. And when we experience stress, our body's fight or flight system is triggered and the body releases a number of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, essentially preparing the body to counter threats by increasing heart rate and circulation, which keeps the mind in a high state of vigilance making getting to sleep very difficult. Now, not all stress is bad. In some instances, it can help us to stay alert and focused. But the problem arises when we are constantly responding to situations as if we were under threat. Which is what tends to happen for a lot of people. The good news is that meditation and mindfulness is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Speaking from my own experience, stress was the number one reason I would not be able to sleep through the night. And for quite a few years it had a huge impact on my health. I tried everything, but meditation was the one activity that truly helped to settle my mind and body. And I can now say I not only fall asleep quickly but I tend to stay asleep. Stressful things still happen but it's my relationship to them that has shifted. And my hope is that by offering this exercise that might start to happen for you as well. So we're going to do a body scan which is a really great way to step out of the busy-ness of the mind and into the body. It's a personal favorite of mine. So I invite you to get into a comfortable position. You can sit in a chair or you can lie down for this. But just rest your gaze about two to three feet in front of you. And then when you're ready, starting with some big, deep breath Breathing in through the nose, and out through the mouth. And with the next, out-breath, just closing the eyes if that is comfortable for you to do so. And allowing the breath to return to its natural rhythm and rate, and taking a moment to feel the body pressing down into the seat or the surface beneath you....


Duration16 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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