Welcome to this week’s Mindful Monday!
This week, I have decided to shift the focus slightly. Over the previous week I have been extremely stressed and under pressure with deadlines, meaning that my normal sleeping routine has suffered drastically. Even when I have wanted to sleep, I have struggled due to the crazy amount of information flying around in my brain. Due to this, I have decided to incorporate mindfulness into my sleeping routine in an attempt to claim back my 8 hours a night!
So, today, the focus is going to be on sleep.
Ahhh, sleep. It is something that all of us need to do every day to function and survive, and actually something that I imagine most of us look forward to by the time the day is up! With Mindful Monday’s I usually ask you to include mindfulness into your day, but this week I am changing things up a little, as I am asking you to add it to your night-time routine. For many of us, sleeping is the only time that we actually stay in one position and relax for more than 10 minutes, so why not allow it to be your moment of mindfulness? Personally, I find that practicing mindfulness when I get into bed helps me to fall asleep much quicker and easier, even when I have a lot of things on my mind. Exercises that encourage ‘moment by moment’ thinking can allow us to wind down and relax, as focusing on our breathing can prevent our minds from wandering to concerns about the past, or uncertainties about the future. This is the perfect way to direct your thought processes before going to sleep, as it evokes calmness, tranquility and ultimate relaxation. After practicing mindfulness techniques within my night-time routine consistently over the previous few days, I have noticed a huge difference in getting my sleeping pattern back to the way it should be – no more grouchy morning lectures for me!
Ending the day in such a mindful manner can be incredible for leaving the stresses of that day behind. Putting yourself in the present moment before going to sleep can ensure that you don’t carry over the stresses and uncertainties of your day into how effective your sleep is, and also into the morning. If you have lots of things on your mind, it can make it increasingly difficult to fall and/or stay asleep. Additionally, it isn’t uncommon for negative thoughts to fester into the following day, if you don’t give yourself the time to forgive yourself for feeling that way, and accepting it and moving on from it; you will continue to feel these negative emotions, and your sleeping pattern will suffer as a result. Not to mention, increasing the amount of mindfulness that you incorporate into your life has a huge number of benefits, including mental clarity, increased concentration and an overall improved general wellness. I have personally reached the point where I am finding some form of way to include mindfulness into my everyday life, and I have actively noticed the differences that it makes in my life – and I can certainly tell when I’ve been lacking in my routine.
Personally, controlling my breathing exercises before going to bed takes no more than 10 minutes, and it puts me in a perfect state of relaxation so that I can wind down for bed. Sometimes I choose to tie this in with a camomile tea in my all-time favourite mug, which of course has sleeping benefits of it’s own!
Things to focus on:
- What do you see when you close your eyes and focus on your breathing?
- Do you see shapes and patterns behind your eyelids? Do you see specific colours?
- What do you hear when you have your moment of silence?
- Do you listen to calming music or do you choose to fall asleep in silence?
- What do you feel when you let go of the tensions in your body, as you allow yourself to relax into the pillows and mattress around you?
- What do you feel when you shut your mind off from past and future thoughts? Do you feel relaxed?
- What do you smell in the air when you take deep inhalations of air?
- What do you taste when you take your first sip of your camomile tea?
- What do you notice when you tune in to all of your senses?
Taking just 10 minutes longer to get yourself into bed can have a huge positive impact on your quality of sleep, and in time, your quality of life. Feeling totally grounded and relaxed just before going to sleep is the perfect time, if any, to practice mindfulness – particularly if you struggle to sleep or face a number of issues regarding stress, anxiety, and more.
I would love to hear about other ways you incorporate mindfulness into your life, or how being mindful in the evenings has allowed you to have a better night sleep! Please feel free to comment below.