Many people struggle to get to sleep with an over-active mind, so it’s no surprise that The Sleep Council’s latest Great British Bedtime Report revealed how a third of us are getting a poor night’s sleep most nights, with stress being the top reason.
Mindfulness-based sleep meditation has been suggested to help with many of the issues that stop us sleeping.
Meditation and mindfulness is about controlling your thinking; to stop you focusing on things you cannot fix right now and to help switch off your mind and fall asleep.
In 2010 the UK Mental Health Foundation published a detailed report based on the results of various clinical studies and research on mindfulness. Some of the benefits they highlight are:
- 70 per cent reduction in anxiety.
- Increase in disease-fighting antibodies, suggesting improvements to the immune system.
- Longer and better quality sleep, with fewer sleep disturbances.
- Reduction in negative feelings like anger, tension and depression.
- Improvements in physical conditions as varied as psoriasis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
How to achieve mindfulness:
There are several different approaches to using mindfulness to help you sleep and the first hurdle is recognising that thoughts are only thoughts. They are neither reality nor a predictor of the future.
One approach is to try to see your thoughts as passing clouds, white ones for good thoughts, black ones for bad or worrying thoughts.
You are still aware of your thoughts and acknowledge them mentally in a non-critical way, but you are not acting on them, you are just observing.
You can also try meditation exercises before going to bed or whilst in bed, to help your prepare for rest and put any worries or discomfort behind you. It can take a while to develop a routine of your own so we recommend a guided meditation to get you started.
This one from The Honest Guys will ease you into a deep relaxation helping you to slow down and let go of the stresses from your day. So make sure you turn off the light, get comfortable and press play…