If you struggle to fall asleep at night, endlessly toss and turn, or wake up stiff and tired, practicing mindfulness may help. The practice of being mindful means dedicating your full attention to something. To truly be mindful, you need to slow down, take a breather, and focus entirely on what you’re doing.
Here are specific ways you can shift your focus and ensure you improve your quality of rest.
Creating the ideal sleep environment – Your bedroom should be a sanctuary dedicated to relaxing. Too often, our bedrooms are multi-purpose rooms that include televisions, computers, gym equipment and other items that don’t promote rest. It’s almost impossible to sleep properly when there’s so much going on in the room.
Eliminating distractions – It seems that people’s attention spans are getting shorter, and it is very easy to get distracted. Scrolling through social media on your phone or messaging friends just before you try to go to sleep can keep your mind awake.
Focusing on your breathing – There’s nothing quite like taking a moment to focus on your breathing to calm down and relax your body. If your breathing is relaxed, sleep becomes the next natural state. When you want to go to sleep, this technique works incredibly well. Climb into bed and get comfortable, then bring all of your thoughts and attention to your breathing patterns. Start inhaling and exhaling in slow, measured breaths.
Scheduling meals correctly – Eating a large, heavy meal just before trying to fall asleep is not conducive to good rest. Your body will still be trying to digest the food while you’re trying to turn most of your internal systems into standby mode. Research shows you should eat your last meal for the day around three hours before you want to go to sleep. This will give your body enough time to digest the food so that it isn’t still in your stomach when you get into bed.
Using relaxation techniques – If your body is tense, it’s alert and wide awake. Whether the tension comes from stress, worry, or a physical ailment, it’s important to learn how to relax. Practicing mindfulness means paying attention to the here and now and focusing on a singular idea. Mental exercises that methodically take you away from thoughts of whatever is causing tension are an excellent way to do this.
It may take time to create a new mindfulness routine, but regularly getting a good night’s rest goes a long way to keeping you happy, healthy, and revitalized.