How Practicing Mindfulness Can Promote Better Sleep and Better Health
Practicing mindfulness can make your life better in every way, especially when it comes to becoming happier, healthier, and reaching your fitness goals. One of the biggest changes you can make in your life to improve your health and overall well-being is to make getting deep, restful, quality sleep a priority. But that’s often easier said than done. If your sleep could use some improvement, the answer may come from mindfulness.
Mindfulness and Sleep
You probably already know that not getting enough sleep can affect your mood, appetite, focus, productivity, performance, health, and even your waistline. But get this — mindfulness meditation has been shown to cut the wake time of people suffering from insomnia by up to 50%. How mind-blowing is that?
One of the ways mindfulness is so powerful is that it serves to improve our sleep, which is a critically essential function. Lack of sleep or poor sleep leads to weight gain or difficulty losing weight, stress, heart disease, mental health challenges, and practically every chronic health condition there is.
By slowing down and becoming present in the moment, practicing mindfulness meditation to improve sleep has carryover benefits to your overall health and wellness. How you sleep can affect your food choices, which can affect your mood and energy, which can affect your workouts, which can affect your stress level, and on and on. It’s all connected.
Not only will taking the time to prioritize a mindfulness practice help you sleep better, but you’re likely to experience benefits such as improvements to your overall wellness, focus, energy, mood, as well as health advantages such as the alleviation of back pain, improving enzymes in your brain to help fight Alzheimer’s, enhancing athletic performance, and even making your sex life better.
Making Time for Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation is an activity that between 200-500 million people across the world engage in, and it has tripled in popularity over the past decade. You don’t have to travel to a mountaintop to study with a teacher, go on a silent retreat, or sit for hours trying to quiet your mind in order to get the deep, restful, sleep-supportive benefits of mindfulness.
Your practice can be as simple as sitting quietly with your eyes closed for 5-10 minutes, focusing on your breath, or you could use an app like Headspace or Calm.
All too often, we find ourselves so in our heads, thinking about everything we need to do that we forget to be PRESENT in the moment. In the process, we are robbing ourselves of the chance to make TODAY a great day.
It’s the classic dilemma of letting the “urgent” get in the way of the important. We all do it from time to time, focusing on all the things we think we should do, which usually means putting our own self-care on the backburner.
But here’s where we get it twisted: the 30 minutes you spend TODAY taking care of yourself will make everything else in your life easier. It all comes down to today. What you do today is going to impact your tomorrow.
Thirty minutes of quiet time is literally just 2% of your day. Choosing to practice mindfulness during that short window of time each day will enable you to experience all of the health and wellness benefits of slowing down to gain deep, restful, restorative sleep and the proven positive effects of meditation.