So many people that come along to our weekly mindfulness meditation sessions and courses say they have trouble either getting to sleep or staying asleep leading to exhaustion, a short temper, reactive unhelpful behaviour and stress.
Getting a good night's sleep is essential for maintaining physical and mental health. One technique that has gained popularity in recent years for promoting better sleep and relaxation is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings without judgment. It involves being fully engaged in the present moment and letting go of distractions and stressors.
It's not uncommon to hear participants at our sessions share how practicing mindfulness helps them to settle an unsettled mind and manage anxiety and stress, reduce negative thoughts and improve sleep.
Here are some Benefits of Mindfulness for Sleep
Several studies have shown the benefits of mindfulness for sleep. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that mindfulness meditation can improve the quality of sleep among older adults with moderate sleep disturbances.
Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction can improve sleep quality and reduce symptoms of insomnia.
One reason mindfulness may improve sleep is that it helps reduce stress and anxiety, which are common culprits of sleep disturbances. Mindfulness can also promote relaxation by helping you become more aware of physical sensations and releasing tension in the body.
Techniques for Practicing Mindfulness for Better Sleep If you're interested in using mindfulness to improve your sleep, there are several techniques you can try:
1. Mindful breathing - focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale, noticing the sensation of air moving in and out of your body. If your mind wanders, gently redirect your attention back to your breath. Be patient with yourself as you practice training your mind to be more present, like any new skill it takes time to develop and to replace habitual compulsive thinking patterns which may affect sleep.
2. Body scan - start at the top of your head and slowly move down your body with your attention, noticing and paying kind curious attention to any sensations you feel without becoming lost in anything in particular. If you notice any areas of tension, take a deep breath and imagine releasing the tension with your breath as you exhale.
3. Guided meditation - listen to a guided meditation that focuses on relaxation and sleep. Try out one of our free body scan resources Track 6 or 7 available on our website to train your mind to get out of your head and into your body to rest deeply and aid healing, regeneration and energy restoration.
4. Mindful walking - take a walk outside and focus on the sensations in your body as you breathe and move. Pay attention to the feeling of your feet on the ground, the movement of your arms, and the sounds around you. When your mind wanders away into thinking, simply train your mind to pay attention again to the feeling of your feet on the ground, the movement of your arms, and the sounds around you. Repeat this practice over and over again throughout your walk until it gets easier and you feel a shift and internal smile of awareness arise.
5. Progressive muscle relaxation - before you go to sleep tense and release each muscle group in your body, starting with your toes and working your way up to your head. This technique can help release tension and promote relaxation.
Incorporating mindfulness into your bedtime routine can help you relax and prepare for sleep. Keep an open mind and give it a try for 30 days (yes it takes time to replace old habits) by incorporating one or more of these techniques for 10-30 minutes before bed each night.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for improving sleep and reducing stress and anxiety. By practicing mindfulness techniques, you can become more aware of your thoughts and sensations, release tension in your body, and promote relaxation. Incorporating mindfulness into your bedtime routine can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed and energized. So, take some time to practice mindfulness and see the positive impact it can have on your sleep and overall well-being.
If you would like more information on how to improve the quality of your sleep get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org