Many people are having issues quieting the mind enough to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleep is essential because this is when the brain processes the day’s events, muscles and tissues perform much-needed repair, and we naturally lose the most weight when we sleep. Mindfulness practices during the day and at bedtime can help reduce the stress of the day and improve the quality of sleep.
In part one of this three-part series on mindfulness, we talked about what mindfulness is and how to begin practicing it every day, as well as specifics on mindful movement. In part two, we discussed mindful and intuitive eating, to help bring balance to your relationship with food.
Now we’ll look at how mindfulness can bring relief to insomnia and sleep disorders.
Practicing mindfulness throughout the day can improve your ability to achieve deep rest at night. When you stop the worry of past and future and focus on the present, sleep naturally becomes more regulated. Creating a bedtime ritual of mindfulness meditation is a fabulous tool to help focus your thoughts and calm the mind.
Bringing Mindfulness To Your Nighttime Sleep Ritual
At bedtime, calming the mind allows your energy and awareness to “let down” into the body, which allows the body to relax and you fall asleep. Your bedtime mindfulness routine might be a combination of breathing, awareness, and body relaxation.
Here are some tips to get started:
Try to go to bed at the same time every night.
Remove all electronics from your bedroom, turn them off or at least put them in airplane mode.
As you lie down, notice how the bed feels beneath you.
Notice any sounds, such as a fan or your breathing.
Try a diffuser of essential oils on your nightstand.
Try This Mindfulness Breathing Practice
Take several deep breaths, in through the nose for 3 seconds and out through the nose for 3 seconds. Pay attention to how your body feels as you breathe, and let each body part relax into the bed with every breath out.
Focus on your breathing. Your mind can wander to the beach or a walk through the woods – but if you start to worry, bring your thoughts back to your breath and relaxing body part by body part.
Continue, letting your body become heavier and heavier with each exhalation as your worries dissipate into the background.
These high-stress times provide a great incentive to connect with your body and mind and begin a more mindful lifestyle, focusing your attention on breathing, eating, sleeping, and relationships with friends and family. For more on breathing techniques, check out 'Breathing Techniques for Stress Reduction and Better Sleep to help guide you'.
Being aware of your needs will lead to mindfulness, which will, in turn, start you on the road to balance, fulfillment, and happiness.