How can mindfulness help you sleep?
Posted on January 29 2020
Building a mindful wind-down routine is a great way to train your body to know when it’s time for bed. This will increase your chance of sleepiness, and make drifting off a breeze. One way to start building your sleep routine, is to figure out what mindful practices work for you. We’ve put together a few simple ideas to get you started.
Why is sleep such a big deal?
Quality sleep is essential for our physical and emotional health, yet most of us still aren’t getting enough. Almost 30% of us, to be more precise.1 We’re supposed to be setting our sights on those coveted 7+ hours each night, but that’s often easier said than done.2 So, let’s take a look at what can help.
What can you do?
First off, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with what mindfulness really means. It’s basically being aware of your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. So, you can observe your thoughts as they drift through your mind, without getting too involved. Just let them pass through. Mindful practices before bed will help you brush off your day, and prepare you for sleep. Here are a few simple techniques to get you started.
1) Put your thoughts on paper
You can let go of your thoughts and worries by jotting them down on paper. This takes whatever you’re preoccupied with out of your head, so you can drift off to sleep with a clearer mind. Maybe start a gratitude list, so you’re in a positive mindset before trying to drift off to sleep. Or, you can simply try jotting down whatever’s on your mind in order to manage your thoughts. This is a great way to bring your mind back to the present, rather than getting lost in your thoughts. It allows you to wind down, find quiet and process what’s going on in your head.
2) Shower to power down
Rushing around right until you hop into bed will keep you alert, when you want to be winding down. So, focus on a routine activity, like taking a shower, and make it meaningful. Take this time alone to cultivate some calm, and gather your thoughts. One way to make this time more mindful is to focus your attention on one thing in particular, whether it’s the sound of the water, the feeling of warmth, or the smell of your favourite shampoo. This is a great way to start powering down, before heading to bed with a more relaxed mind.
3) Make eating mindful
Your evening meal is the perfect opportunity to start winding down. You can bring mindfulness to the table in the form of mindful eating. Think about the flavours, aromas and textures of your food. Reconnect with your senses and slow down. A simple reflection like this can calm racing thoughts, and give you a feeling of relaxed focus. This mindful technique helps you remove distractions, preparing you to drift off easily later on.
What to remember
Mindfulness is a fantastic place to start when it comes to getting better sleep. Calming your mind helps ease the transition from daytime to nighttime, better preparing you for the night ahead. So, wind down your evening with some healthy habits, and head to bed chilled out. You’ll drift off in no time.
2 Cappuccio, F. P., D'Elia, L., Strazzullo, P., & Miller, M. A. (2010). Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep, 33(5), 585–592. doi:10.1093/sleep/33.5.585