5 Mindfulness Tips for A Better Night's Sleep
Many of us struggle to switch off at the best of times but when your bedroom may now be your office too, zoning out and getting a good night's sleep probably feels like a distant memory.
Getting good quality sleep is so important for a number of reasons. It increases your productivity and concentration, it has a positive impact on your mental and physical well being and it generally allows your body to become well rested for the following day, giving you enough energy to perform daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, exercising and working.
While there may be different reasons as to why you‚ are not getting enough sleep, like the quality of your bed linen or the support of your pillows, having the ability to fully switch off and relax before you get into bed at the end of a long day is ultimately what will help you get the best night sleep. We have compiled a list of top tips for mindfulness before shutting your eyes and dozing off.
What is Mindfulness?
You may be wondering, what does mindfulness mean? Essentially, mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment and has countless benefits. Including decreased stress, increased focus and feelings of happiness. Practising mindfulness allows you to fully engage with whatever you are doing in the present moment without any distractions. This is why before going to sleep is the perfect time to practice mindfulness, as it lets us focus on our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.
If you own an Apple Watch or Fitbit device, many of them have two-minute breathing exercises on them. This is a great way to take control of your breathing and help you relax when you first get into bed and it keeps you away from your phone. If you don't own a smart watch, there are plenty of breathing exercises you can do to relax before going to sleep. A couple of examples are:
The 4-7-8 Exercise, Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound, close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, exhale completely through your mouth, making the whoosh sound to a count of 8. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three times.
Breath Counting ‚Count to yourself as you exhale. The next time you exhale, count ‚two‚ and so on up to ‚five. Begin a new cycle, counting one on the next exhalation.
Mindful breathing has been shown to reduce stress levels in your body and lower your heart rate, helping you to feel much more relaxed before going to sleep.
There are many mindfulness apps available, each offering different methods. They often have a free trial where you can test a few sessions for free and see if it will work for you, but some ask you to subscribe and pay a small fee each month.
There are mindfulness apps for everything whether you're looking for one to help with stress and anxiety, improve your focus and of course, improve your sleep quality. Here are some we recommend for a better night's sleep:
Calm - This app has lots of great tools you can access for free, it has multiple options for a variety of different meditation styles so you're likely to find something that suits you. It has specific sleep meditations with music and sounds that help a lot of people drift off.
Breath Counting - Count one to yourself as you exhale. The next time you exhale, count two‚ and so on up to five. Begin a new cycle, counting one on the next exhalation.
Headspace - This app is well established. The free version offers sleepcasts‚ which are 45-55-minute audios experiences designed to help you visualise calming experiences. They refresh the stories regularly too.
Blocking Blue Light Before Bed
Blue light is a short wavelength which produces very high amounts of energy. It is found in TV screens, smartphones, laptops and most other electronic devices. Looking at blue light for extended periods of time can trick your brain into thinking it's daytime, therefore delaying when you feel ready to fall asleep.
While it's so tempting to scroll through social media or watch a film before going to bed, the likelihood is that it probably isn't contributing to a good night's sleep.
Try reducing your exposure to blue light in the evenings and swap your phone for a good old paperback book.
Colouring books are certainly not just for children anymore! There are so many options, whether you want to colour in pretty mandala patterns or a selection of floral outlines - the list is endless! And it's the perfect activity before bed to help yourself drift off.
By focusing on the colours and the feeling of your pencil against the paper, your brain experiences relief by entering a meditative state. Spending time colouring in a nice pattern will lower stress levels, expel negative thoughts and achieve ultimate mindfulness.
Getting Your Snacks Right
You are what you eat definitely plays a big part before you go to sleep. It's also important to give yourself plenty of time to digest your food. Try to eat your last meal of the day a good few hours before going to bed.
Some foods are wonderful for helping your body feel relaxed before getting into bed. Foods which contain calcium, tryptophan and magnesium are all great for helping you feel calm. For example: Berries, bananas and low-fat yoghurt.
Herbal teas are also perfect for relaxation before bedtime, as they can help towards getting you to drift off into a deep sleep. Try lavender, camomile or mint tea for a sound night's sleep.
Different techniques work for different people and it's all about testing which relaxation methods work for you. Experimenting could help you improve your sleeping routine and ensure you're getting enough hours of shut eye. In addition to trying out any mindfulness techniques, make sure your mattress and pillows are right for the way you sleep; - whether it's on your front, back or side - and always choose luxury bedding for the ultimate snooze!
Bookmark our DUSK blog for more expert bedding advice and bedroom inspiration.