In today’s modern age, when multi-tasking is never enough, shutting down our minds for sleep is difficult. We’ve all been there: laying on our beds, dog tired, with a million things running through our minds, keeping us awake. Maybe you’ve tried all the remedies – drinking a hot cup of tea, reading a paperback novel, shutting down all electronics – and maybe they’ve helped. But one of the best ways to get your mind ready for sleep is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a meditation where you bring your attention to experiences happening in the present moment.
Your attention can be on something as simple as noticing how your shoulders feel when you lie down in bed or how your knees feel when they bend as you walk.
How Mindfulness Helps You Fall Asleep
There have been multiple studies conducted on mindfulness and sleep, all concluding that this meditation relieves insomnia. But how?
The goal of practicing mindfulness is to become more in-tune with your body and to bring your mind to the present. By focusing on your body in the present moment, all your stresses and anxieties from your day retreat. Because your stresses are no longer foregrounded, your mind and your body are able to relax so you can go to sleep.
Studies have also shown that practicing mindfulness triggers the relaxation response. Relaxation response is a term first used in the 1970s that recognizes a physiological shift in the body that’s the opposite to the stress response. When you experience the relaxation response, you are more easily able to fall asleep as your body and mind are relaxed.
Practice these mindfulness meditations to help cure your insomnia:
Meditation in Bed
Practicing mindfulness in bed before you go to sleep is one of the best ways to help insomnia. When you get into bed, lie flat on your back. Then, think about your toes – how do they feel? Are they warm? Cold? Move up to your ankles. Concentrate on them and wonder how they feel.
Notice each part of your body, from your toes to your head. This should relax your mind and prepare you for sleep.
Whether you bathe in the morning or at night, practicing mindfulness during this time is beneficial for your sleep. Instead of making to-do lists or stressing about meetings, notice the temperature of the water on your skin. Notice how the water feels on your body – is it soft or sharp?
Walking can be such a mindless thing – we go from point A to point B sometimes without remembering how we even got there. So rather than mindlessly walking, be mindful of your body in that moment.
When you practice mindfulness during the day, and especially before bed, you relax your mind and your body by becoming more aware of the present. This feeling persists throughout the day, so you’ll have a better sleep. So, next time you’re having trouble falling asleep, practice these mindfulness exercises.