It’s no secret that many of us are seriously failing to log the quality sleep we need to feel and function at our best day after day. According to the Sleep Foundation, half of Americans say they feel sleepy during the day upwards of three days per week—and more than 35% of us report getting less than seven hours of sleep per night, despite hearing from everyone and their mother that we need seven to nine.
Like many of these not-so-successful sleepers, I’ve spent my fair share of nights counting sheep (er, more like tasks on my to-do list) when I should have been off romping around in a field of daisies in dreamland. And, also like many of them, I’ve tried plenty of natural remedies in the hopes of sleeping better, from supplements like CBD, magnesium, and L-theanine, to bedtime rituals like warm baths and soothing essential oils.
Could meditation help me sleep better?
For a few years now, I’ve stuck to a pretty regular morning meditation practice. I’ve found that dedicating daily time to cultivating quiet and calming my often-busy mind has worked wonders for my anxiety and helped me honestly just enjoy my days more. It’s not just me, either; plenty of research has linked meditating with benefits like improved blood pressure, gut health, mental well-being, and—oh yes—even better sleep.
Still, I hadn’t considered incorporating meditation into my sleepytime routine. Then, some weeks ago now, I was scrolling through my Peloton app (which costs $12.99 per month) during a particularly stressful week of work deadlines and social obligations and found myself browsing the brand’s meditation content.
Despite my longtime love for all things Peloton (it’s been my workout go-to since the pandemic shut down my gym almost two years ago), I had never tried one of their meditation classes. Perhaps I thought I had that aspect of my routine covered; maybe a small piece of me (I’m a little hesitant to admit) didn’t believe a brand famous for indoor cycling classes and bootcamp workouts could possibly have any authority to help people meditate.
I noticed, though, that I could filter Peloton’s meditation classes specifically to focus on relaxation and sleep—and figured I might as well give them a try. So, I enrolled myself (and my husband) in a little self-experiment: For the next month, we’d do a Peloton Relax & Sleep meditation class before bed and see how we snoozed. (Check out these tips on how to meditate while in bed.)
After trying dozens of sessions from a bunch of Peloton’s beloved trainers, their meditations have officially become my go-to when I’m struggling to fall asleep at night.
These are the best Peloton sleep meditations I tried
In hopes that you can also benefit from the buzzy fitness brand’s sleep-boosting sessions, here are some of my all-time favorites. (I had to test some of them multiple times after dozing off halfway through; they’re that good.)
5-Minute Relaxing Meditation with Cody Rigsby (from 3/16/2021)
I’m absolutely obsessed with Cody Rigsby but never expected he could shift so easily from his infectious, fun indoor cycling class vibe to the totally soothing energy he offers in this quickie session.
The meditation session itself is just a slow, intentional breathing exercise—no visualizations or anything fancy—but it’s really calming and simple, which brings me back to it time and time again. And, yes, in case you’re wondering, Rigsby does absolutely say “bye, boo” at the end.
10-Minute Relaxing Meditation with Aditi Shah (from 7/13/2020)
Aditi Shah’s meditations are among some of my favorites in the Peloton library because her music selection is always simple and grounding and she guides you so beautifully through different physical and mental relaxation techniques.
It was hard to pick just one of Shah’s meditations to include here (I could have easily filled the whole list with her classes), but I particularly love the progressive body relaxation exercise she moves through in this 10-minute session.
It finishes with a few minutes of quiet, mindful breathing, at which point I very reliably fall asleep (which, in my mind, is mission accomplished, even if I don’t finish the class).
10-Minute Sleep Meditation with Ross Rayburn (from 8/30/2021)
My husband is a big fan of Ross Rayburn’s yoga classes, and we both particularly enjoyed this sleep meditation class of his. He takes a beginner-friendly approach that quickly dissipates any of the pressure we might put on ourselves about meditating “properly” or “well,” which I know helped my husband settle in.
From there, Ross walks you through a beautiful process of inviting space, forgiveness, and healing into different parts of the body, which feels like the energetic equivalent of being swaddled for sleep.
10-Minute Relaxing Meditation with Chelsea Jackson Roberts (from 10/14/2020)
Chelsea Jackson Roberts keeps this 10-minute session simple by focusing on breathing deeply, inhaling down all the way to your hips and gently exhaling, and releasing parts of the body that typically get tense while doing so.
Short breath holds between the inhales and exhales help calm you down. By the end of the class, you’re already half-asleep.
10-Minute Calming Meditation with Kristin McGee (from 7/20/2021)
I’ve relied on Kristin McGee’s prenatal yoga classes throughout my pregnancy, so I was eager to try some of her meditation sessions. In this one, after helping you relax your body, McGee guides you by repeating a mantra (“I am love, I am light, I am peace, I am calm”) to settle your mind too.
I don’t use mantras too often but found this meditation to be reassuring, especially after a stressful day that’s left my mind really busy.
For more ways to unwind before bed, check out our guide to nighttime activities that help you relax.