Relaxation to Sleep

This is a simple meditation that can help you fall asleep at bedtime or fall back to sleep if you awaken through the night. It works better than you may think.

How to Practice

Remind yourself that you are in bed to sleep and that any worries you have can wait until tomorrow.

Find a comfortable position in bed.

Take a deep breath and let it out. Sigh like this once or twice.

Bring your attention to your upper back near your shoulders.

Notice any physical sensations here: the feeling of your pajamas or bedding against the skin, twinges, tingles, heat or cool. Try not to invest any energy in a story about these sensations. It's not about why there may be a tingle there. It's about noticing the tingle alone. If you have trouble noticing anything, shift your shoulders just enough that you can get a sense of what that upper back area feels like, then sigh softly and settle back to notice.

Scan the whole upper back area. Notice how some sensations change as you watch them. Notice how some stay the same. Notice the areas where there seems to be no sensations at all. Let your drowsy self notice.

If your thoughts wander, sleepily remind yourself what you were doing and gently come back to the sensations in your upper back. Allow yourself the comfort of the bed. Allow your attention to get lazy. Let your awareness drift along the area of the upper back.

In time, you will start to nod off. Let it go and let yourself sleep.


Having trouble sleeping can often be about worried thoughts. This meditation helps not just to distract your mind but to bring your mind back into your body.