Mindfulness Exercises For Better Sleep And Calmer Mornings
You can practise mindfulness any time of day, and we’d all benefit from including it in our routines daily and nightly. We’ve collected some tips to apply right before bed and first thing in the morning for more mindful starts and ends to your day.
Night-time mindfulness tricks
By now, it’s probably not news to you that technology and blue light are not great companions for good sleep. Put your tech to bed at least 30 minutes before you.
You may be holding tension in your body without realising it. Mentally scanning through your body to identify tight muscles can prompt you to release the tension. It can also bring your attention to your physical sensations. Focusing on how you feel physically can help move your mind away from troublesome or distracting thoughts that can make it difficult to switch off.
Try not to force it
Once you hit the 20-minute mark of not getting to sleep, it’s time to switch your consciousness to something mindful or intentional. While it may feel like you’ve been intentionally trying to fall asleep, consider if you’ve been lying there focusing on negative, distressing or anxiety-provoking thoughts – night-time is often when these thought patterns come to the surface.
A few mindful options to try out at this point include:
- Getting up. Spending too long in your bed while struggling to sleep can create unhelpful associations with the environment. Get up and stretch, make a tea, or do another gentle activity without turning on too bright a light. Ideally, you’ll be closer to winding down when you return to bed.
- Breathwork. Try circular breathing (hold down one nostril at a time switching between left to right, so your breath always enters through the left and exits through the right). Or, try breathing in for four seconds and out for seven, or another mindful breathing technique that helps you feel calm. Allow your attention to stay with your breathing and try to let other thoughts come and go as you refocus on your breath.
- Focus on the senses. What can you hear? How does the material of your bedsheets feel against you? The more sensory information you can offer our nervous system, the more chance you have of entering a rest and digest state instead of fight or flight.
- Journal. Writing down your thoughts can help slow that swirling of anxious thoughts in the brain.
- Gratitude and gratitude journaling. Redirecting your thoughts to what you are grateful for or looking forward to can help distract from what you’re worried about or dreading.
- Follow through worry thoughts to the end. This may sound counterproductive, but if you think beyond that work meeting you’re nervous about or the social event you’re anxious to attend, you can remember that after comes the drive home or the chicken sandwich you’ll make for lunch – life goes on.
White Chestnut is traditionally used to help calm those distracting worry thoughts. This ingredient makes RESCUE Sleep® an all-natural sleep aid to help switch off and relax.
Morning mindfulness tricks
Delay tech in the morning
Beginning your day by opening up your eyes to blue light and immediately engaging with the virtual world may be depriving your brain of a more healthy natural wake up.
Aim to get some fresh air and sun, or at least get up and hydrate before plugging in. If you rely on your phone for an alarm, consider investing in a separate alarm clock to avoid interacting with it the moment you wake.
Make time for mindfulness habits in the morning
You may like to mimic your favourite night-time routines in the morning or tick off the ones you didn’t have time for the night before. For example, you might like to fall asleep after circular breathing and wake up with deep breathing. You may prefer to do gratitude journaling at night or in the morning or both.
Starting your day with RESCUE Remedy® can help give you a hand in feeling composed, patient and focused for the day ahead. Pair this with mindfulness practices and you may discover a life of less stress and better rest!