Falling asleep seems to get harder and harder, with so many distractions around us, it’s no wonder that the Philips Global Sleep Survey reported that more than 62% of adults worldwide were not sleeping as well as they’d like to. With around 67% of adults reporting sleep disturbances more than once each night .
Luckily, there are ways to improve the way we sleep and also avoid sleep disturbances too. Guided sleep imagery can help to not only send you to sleep, but also keep you asleep night after night. Guided imagery is one of the best sleep audio options available and millions of people tune into their favourite guided imagery for sleep to help them nod off each night.
We’re about to explore 9 of the best sleep imagery audios for you to try out over the coming weeks, allowing you to uncover the best night’s sleep.
What is sleep imagery?
Guided sleep imagery is used to help calm and relax the listener at bedtime. The aim is to visualise somewhere tranquil and calming that will help relax any tensions or stressors disturbing their sleep. It’s a form of guided meditation used to help sleep, ease anxiety and encourage relaxation.
How sleep imagery works
The main aim of sleep imagery is to encourage the mind to think of somewhere calming and relaxing so you can escape racing thoughts that cause stress and anxiety, leading to a disturbed night’s sleep. By listening to a short or long audio that invites you to forget the ‘everyday’ and instead focus on something much more positive and beneficial, you can distract your mind from stressful thoughts and instead enter a state of relaxation - a perfect state to drift off to sleep.
A 2015 study found that older adults who took part in mindfulness practice, including guided imagery, notably improved their sleep quality. Researchers have suggested that practices such as guided imagery, can help improve the body’s response to stressors and therefore positively impact sleep.
Another study confirms how mindfulness practice programs can help to reduce psychological stress and improve quality of sleep.
Best guided sleep imagery
- The Boathouse - A Binaural Storyscape for Sleep by Kokoon
- Guided Sleep Meditation Fall Asleep Quickly by Jason Stephenson
- Guided Sleep Meditation: The Haven of Peace by The Honest Guys
- Wimbledon Story Scape by Kokoon
- Guided Meditation for Sleep - Floating Amongst the Stars by Jason Stephenson
- Calm Sleep Stories - The Norland Night Train with Erik Braa
- Hot Springs Sleep Meditation | Guided Imagery & Visualization
- The Arctic Voyage, a Sleep Story by You Sleep Guru™
- Autumn in the Forest, a Sleep Story by You Sleep Guru™
This 20-minute long audio was recorded using the industry-standard Neumann binaural dummy head microphone in the Lake District National Park. 'The Boathouse' is a binaural storyscape, offering a 4D immersive listening experience that takes your mind on an uninterrupted guided tour of the relaxing lakes. It helps you settle into a state of calm and relaxation, ready to effortlessly drift off to sleep.
This 3 hour-long guided sleep meditation audio was designed to help you fall asleep quickly. It features spoken meditation with affirmations to help calm your mind and improve your sleep. Jason Stephenson’s voice is relaxing and reassuring as he talks you through positive affirmations to relieve tension and anxiety, creating a better space in which to fall asleep. With over 2 million views, this audio is truly popular, especially if the reviews are anything to go by.
The Honest Guys have created a 12-minute audio dedicated to sending you to sleep by focusing on relaxing sleep imagery. The guided meditation takes you to a quiet and relaxing beach, with the aim of helping you wind down and switch off from the rest of the world. With nearly 10 million views and The Honest Guys’ solid reputation, this is a guaranteed choice for those short on time wanting quick results.
When you think of falling asleep to calming and relaxing sounds, you may not think of the grunts of tennis players whacking balls over a net at break-neck speed. However, Kokoon’s Wimbledon StoryScape can help you unwind and drift off to sleep too. This audio plays the relaxing rhythms of a tennis match - including volleys, pops of racquets, the hum of spectators and the opening of champagne bottles - and turns them into a tranquil and immersive experience - transporting you straight to Centre Court. It’s an 18 minutes unique wind down experience.
This is a one-hour long guided sleep imagery audio which encourages you to visualise floating amongst the stars and galaxies in outer space. There’s an interlude of relaxing and unique space music too to really calm and settle you for sleep.
With over 14.5 million views, this guided sleep imagery is one of the best if judging by the comments and views.
This 30-minute audio has been created by Calm, a well-loved sleep audio brand, boasting more than 40 million downloads.
The narration of The Norland Train guides you through a scenic coast of Norway aboard a remote railway. The audio is soothing, calming and slightly nostalgic, helping you to fall asleep easily during listening.
This 35-minute guided audio helps you to imagine being on a journey to a relaxing hot spring on a chilly day. The audio is super relaxing and warming as you enter the hot springs and surrender to calm and serenity. The narrator’s voice is soft and inviting, helping you effortlessly drift off to sleep.
This 56-minute guided sleep audio helps you visualise that you’re sailing the arctic sea, on an old ship, through a canyon of awesome icebergs. The seas are super calm and the summer sun is shining, making your journey serene and tranquil. The audio starts with breathing exercises and includes relaxing background sounds from the ship’s cabin. Clara Starr creates, produces and narrates the content with her soothing voice sending you to sleep.
Another of Clara Starr’s audio for sleep includes her Autumn in the Forest track. This 20-minute audio focuses on nature for relaxation. It describes an immersive autumnal forest-bathing experience which involves meandering through autumn leaves towards a clearing in order to see the sun set. The listener is immersed in the sounds of nature. The audio uses ASMR sounds of walking through the forest to help send you to sleep. The aim of the audio is to reduce anxiety and create a calm space in which you can simply drift off to sleep.
How to use guided imagery audio for sleep
Guided imagery audio is most effective when you can get the following things right:
- Find the right audio for you.
- Optimise your environment.
- Find the right time to listen.
- Listen to your audio as often as you can.
- Use the MyKokoon app.
1. Find the right audio for you
There are so many different types of sleep guided imagery out there, so picking the best one for you can be tough. However, we’ve made it easier with our list of guided imagery audios, allowing you to work your way through until you find your favourite.
2. Optimise your environment
Listen to the guided imagery audio with headphones that mask external disturbances. Kokoon’s Nightbuds are noise masking and the perfect choice if you want the ultimate undisturbed sleep experience, wherever you’re listening.
3. Find the right time to listen
Try to listen to the audio when you’re home alone or when there’s minimal chance of getting disturbed.
4. Listen to your audio as often as you can
Once you’ve found the audio that helps you fall asleep, make sure you listen to it as often as you can. Consistency is the key here to boost the chances of a positive outcome.
5. Use the MyKokoon app
Listen to your favourite guided imagery audio alongside the MyKokoon app, so when you do start to fall asleep, the app will play white noise to mask disturbances.
Get started with sleep imagery
Not sure where to start? Pick one of our best sleep guided imagery audio tracks from this article and listen before bed or whilst in bed tonight. Why not start with one of our top tracks on Kokoon’s Spotify channel, The Boathouse and see where guided sleep imagery will take you?