Getting a good night’s sleep is something we all hope for but often don’t get. Oftentimes we think we need more sleep, but really what is needed is a better-quality night of sleep. Numerous factors could be getting in the way of getting quality sleep. By changing a few simple habits, you could be on your way to more restful sleep and feeling your best throughout the day! Here are 7 strategies for utilizing mindfulness to improve your sleep
1. Eat for Better Sleep
Most people don’t realize that what you eat plays a role in how you sleep. For starters, eating a large or heavy meal right before bed can cause your digestion to ramp up and make your sleep more restless. To avoid this, do your best to eat your last meal a couple of hours before you go to bed. Also, try drinking more water throughout your day to avoid excessive thirst at night – which results in lots of bathroom trips when you’d rather be in bed!
We tend to try and carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and sometimes don’t even realize it. Creating a habit of calming your mind is important and has a huge effect on falling asleep, staying asleep, and allowing your body to maintain a deep R.E.M sleep throughout the night.
Mindful meditation before bed will help you step away from the day, calm your mind, settle your nerves, and prepare your body for a good night’s sleep. Using deep breathing and/or a body scan can be particularly helpful.
3. Pay Attention to Your Nighttime Light
Controlling your exposure to light is important for sleep quality. Did you know that blue light halts the brain from producing melatonin? Melatonin is produced by your body and is a helpful chemical in preparing your body for sleep. Without melatonin, your sleep suffers. It is best to stay off your devices about an hour, or two before bed!
4. Establish a Wind Down Routine
Most of us do not have a set night-time routine, however, it is one of the most important steps in getting a good night’s rest! Creating a nighttime routine involves putting together a short series of activities that you do every night. Some examples include meditation, reading a book, journaling, taking a bath, or doing something creative. Keep your routine to an hour, and don’t overwhelm that time with different activities. You will likely need to take some time of trial and error to figure out what works best and feels right for you.
5. Create a Relaxing Sleep Environment
This isn’t anything complicated, but just involves reviewing your environment to see if there is anything you can alter to aid in better sleep. The goal is to create a space that is calming, comfortable, and conducive to a good night’s rest.
Things to look out for are temperature, extra noise (or the need for some), are your sheets and blankets comfortable? Other things such as removing a tv, adding a diffuser for calming scents, or moving your phone charging station to another room.
6. Stick to a Consistent Sleep and Wake Time
Pick what time you’d like to go to sleep and what time you aim to wake up and start with those! Do your best to be consistent. Doing this will aid in your body’s internal clock and work with your body’s natural rhythms.
7. Get Your Body Moving!
Any type of exercises such as yoga, cardio, or weight training will not only increase your energy during the day but will also help you sleep! Working out reduces stress and calms nerves. Exercising is a powerful tool in reducing symptoms of insomnia, as well as sleep apnea. It allows you to remain in R.E.M sleep for longer periods, making exercise a powerful tool for better sleep! If you want to increase the quality of your sleep and learn mindful practices for everyday life, contact us or sign up for one of our Mindfulness for Sleep classes.