Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness can help us to relax, and reduce intrusive thoughts that can get in the way of sleep. While these practices are not specifically designed to improve sleep, it can be a beneficial side effect.
One simple definition of mindfulness is ‘being present in the moment’, while a simple definition of meditation is ‘concentrating on something without being distracted’ – both things we could definitely do with having more of in our lives!
Tips for getting to sleep
- If you are getting up earlier than normal, we can experience ‘alarm clock anxiety’, where we look at the clock and calculate how little time we have left to sleep, and get stressed about it. Turn the clock away from you, or even better have a manual alarm clock that does not illuminate
- Use a relaxation technique such as mentally concentrating on relaxing your muscles, or counting your breaths
- ‘Paradoxical intention’ can help you fall asleep more quickly – try as hard as you can to stay awake with your eyes closed while lying in bed
- If you still can’t sleep, try leaving your bedroom and doing something relaxing – like reading a book in a room with low light, or having a cup of camomile tea – then return to bed when you feel tired again
- While meditation and mindfulness can sound like the reserve of hippies, it is actually widely used.
- The US Military has trialled the effect of mindfulness on soldiers, and found that it can reduce stress and symptoms of PTSD