3 Mindfulness Tips to Help You Sleep Better
One of the biggest new age contributors to sleep deprivation is STRESS. Frequently being in a heightened state of alertness can delay the onset of sleep and cause rapid, anxious thoughts to occur at night. Insufficient sleep can then cause further stress. “But I’m not really stressed!” you might be thinking. I am perfectly handling my job, a side venture and two children! Assuming you’ve ruled out a medical cause, consider the possibility that you are, in fact, stressed.
All those with sleep disturbances often attempt self-medication, consuming highly addictive over the counter drugs. That definitely is NOT the solution. A simplistic way to enjoy a restful night’s sleep lies not in some over the counter pill, but a highly effective technique called Mindfulness.
Mindfulness Tips to Fall Asleep
Mindfulness is all about focusing on the present moment; bringing awareness to your physical sensations, thoughts and emotions.
Below are the top three mindfulness practices that have much wider benefits than just helping you sleep better:
Conscious breathing: Focusing on your breath helps calm and relax the muscles in your body along with quieting the mind.
To use this exercise:
- Lie down comfortably and breathe in through your nose for 5 counts.
- Think about how the air feels going into your nostrils.
- Hold at the top of your breath for 3 counts.
- Exhale through your mouth for 5 counts.
- Envision negative thoughts leaving your body like a puff of smoke.
- Repeat the process.
- As you breathe in fresh air, focus on how it nourishes your body.
Visualization: This practice can make it easier for you to get to sleep by taking you away from your worries. Imagining yourself in the least stressful situation possible can ease both your mind and body. To use this exercise think about a place or situation in which you feel calm. Imagine with all your senses. As your mind immerses itself in these feelings, your body will become more relaxed and get you ready for a good night’s sleep.
Body Scan: Stress manifests itself in different parts of your body. This discomfort exacerbates your stress levels. Scanning your body is an extension of conscious breathing and helps by making you more aware of your body.
To use this exercise:
Lie down comfortably and start from your head and consider how it is feeling. Is there any pain? Do your eyelids feel heavy? Notice how it feels. Be aware of it and then move on to the next part of your body. When you come across a very tense area, scrunch those muscles up for a few seconds and then release.
I am sure by now you have already started to relax, but the story doesn’t end here. What’s important to highlight is that neither sleep routines nor mindfulness practice respond to a heavy hand. If you force yourself into sleep, you’re less likely to sleep. If you strain for achieving some perfect state when meditating, you’ll create more stress and uncertainty. Rather setting yourself up with clear-sighted plans and resolutions— intentional, but unforced will help both sleep and mindfulness. So, in short, just take it easy!
(The author is Consultant, Mindfulness Bases Cognitive Therapy, Daivam Wellness. She is trained in hypnotherapy, mindfulness practices, sound healing, Reiki and Yoga science. )
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