Everyone has nights when they have trouble falling asleep. They might start off with you feeling tired so you brush your teeth, set your alarm, get into bed, and suddenly you find yourself tossing and turning for hours. These nights may be rare for some, but for others, this is a daily occurrence. Sleep is a critical part of our body’s overall well-being, so getting a good night’s sleep is of the utmost importance. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there to help people fall asleep, but mindfulness techniques are a way to get to the root of restless nights and ensure quality sleep every day. Consider the following information and tips on mindfulness to help you develop habits that can lead to better, restorative sleep.
How Mindfulness Helps Sleep
Why Do We Have Trouble Falling Asleep?
Sleeping problems don’t start the moment we lay down. In fact, there’s a host of different mental habits that we create throughout the day that keep us up at night. When we constantly worry about our daily problems and responsibilities, our minds become agitated. This leads to us creating a habit for our minds to always be in that state, including when we go to bed. Many of us go through the day stressed, not only because our lives may be demanding but also because we don’t know how to properly handle these feelings of stress or anxiety. This leads to us becoming more agitated and on edge, affecting our minds even in those moments when we’re resting. By working on these habits and implementing supportive mindfulness practices, we can attack the root of the problem and allow the mind to unwind into a restful state.
3 Supportive Mindfulness Techniques For Better Sleep
- Develop a practice that helps you manage stress during the day: The way in which you deal with stress during the day will be similar to how you deal with it at night. Knowing how to relax the mind may not come easy for a lot of us, so learning mindful breathing techniques can be a great start. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, take the time to close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Don’t just breath mindlessly. Really take a moment to think about and feel your lungs stretching/contracting and your heart rate slowing down. This will eventually turn into a habit that will help you ease your stress and can be used at night to help you sleep.
- Take notice of your reactivity when you can’t fall asleep: When you can’t fall asleep, do you become even more agitated? It’s normal to feel frustrated and upset when having trouble falling asleep but it doesn’t help the situation. The more reactive we get, the harder it becomes to relax and fall asleep. Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of how you’re reacting and ensure you prevent negative thoughts from ruining your mood.
- Sleep and mindfulness don’t respond well to a heavy hand: Have you ever tried to force yourself to sleep when you couldn’t? Just like mindfulness, sleep isn’t something we can make happen, it’s something we let ourselves go into. If you sit down and force yourself to pay attention, your mind will end up revolting by stirring up thoughts to distract you. So when you practice mindfulness, try to do it with a soft touch. Simply focus on being present in the moment without striving to be perfect. Cultivate that attitude when practicing mindfulness and it will help you when it’s time to sleep.
What To Avoid When Falling Asleep
We talked about some techniques to help you fall asleep but it’s essential to also cover what to avoid in order to make falling asleep easier. The following are several things to avoid which could be adding to your sleeping problems.
- Using your phone or computer right before bed: To most effectively fall asleep, eliminating distractions is key. Not only can having your phone or laptop next to you while you sleep create a distraction but these screens also emit blue light, which affects your brain by increasing alertness and reducing levels of melatonin. It’s recommended that you give yourself a 20-minute break from your devices before you sleep and place them where you won’t be constantly thinking about them.
- Forcing it: As anyone who has suffered from sleep deprivation knows, the more you lie there trying to make yourself fall asleep, the harder it will be to actually sleep. The pressure we put on ourselves to fall asleep only heightens feelings of stress. Embrace the moment, practice mindfulness, and sleep will come naturally.
- Caffeine in the afternoon: One cause for many people’s sleep problems is having too much caffeine or caffeine too late in the day. The recommended cut-off time for caffeine is 6 hours before you go to bed. So, if you plan to fall asleep around 10:00 PM, avoid drinking any caffeinated drinks after 4:00 PM. If you happen to be someone who loves coffee throughout the day, try switching to decaf for your cup of coffee in the afternoon.
By avoiding these obstacles and implementing mindfulness techniques, you will begin to have an easier time falling asleep.
Sleep-Health Programs For Employees
Getting proper sleep is essential for our well-being and overall function. Without sufficient, quality sleep, you will begin to feel drowsy throughout the day and your cognitive function will become impaired. This can impact not only your personal life but also your work. As such, it is imperative that your business has sleep-health programs available as employee benefits to ensure a productive and efficient work environment. A lack of sleep can greatly affect the health of your employees and that of your business. At Alltrust, our eMindful sessions can help you and your employees obtain better sleep through mindfulness practices. Contact us today to learn more about how eMindful can help in alleviating employee stress and improving sleep.