Happy to Bed, Happy to Rise - Mindfulness ZZZ’s 4 Better Sleep
The world isn’t ordered in a way that offers free deliveries of happiness, health, and success to our doorstep. We’re bombarded with daily stresses, busyness, materialism, unhealthy eats and drinks, information overload, and on and on… Keeping thoughts in the NOW is challenging.
How you lay yourself down to sleep, what you do when you wake in the night, and how you choose to rise and shine in the morning are powerful times of your day. These moments can positively or negatively change your outlook, your health, and your productivity.
If happiness, health, and success are your goals… Mindfulness sleep habits can help you get what you want.
What do you think about before you go to sleep? What do you think about when you wake during the night—How about as you wake in the morning?
Studies have found that after most people lay their head on their pillow, they rehash the day and sometimes their entire life—quite a lot of activity when it’s time to call it a day and relax. Instead of relaxing, thoughts about things we don’t want and don’t like tend to spin in our heads.
Worrying before sleep is an unhelpful-unhealthful habit!
Having a good ol’ worry-palooza is how many people spend their last minutes before they fall asleep—upsetting conversations, mistakes made, overwhelming workloads are all past and future thoughts that make it difficult to relax and feel good physically and emotionally as we go to sleep.
Whether you have a boatload of work to do the next day, the kitchen sink is full of dishes, or you or someone you know is facing a significant difficulty in their life, the only thing worrisome bedtime thoughts can change is how you feel in the moments before sleep and possibly whether you sleep well.
Multiple studies, including those done by New York University researchers, show that people who sleep well have better memories, greater capacity for learning, higher levels of work and athletic performance, and lower risk of anxiety and depression—these are just a few of the benefits of a good nights’ sleep.
Try These Mindfulness ZZZ’s 4 Better Sleep to Create New Sleep Habits!
Once you’re in bed…
- Take 3 deep breaths.
- Think about things you’re grateful for—this can help you relax.
- Now notice how you feel—are there still parts of your body where you feel tension? Breath deeply and imagine your breath going to the tense areas and try to relax each spot as you exhale.
- If you’re still awake, practice focusing on more Right Here Right Now thoughts until you go to sleep—notice what’s in the moment: What does the pillow feel like under your head? How do the sheets feel next to your skin? Keep going—
Waking Up in the Night
Waking during the night can often lead to more worrisome spinning, which makes it difficult to go back to sleep—instead, practice the Mindfulness ZZZ’s 4 Better Sleep tips above until you go back to sleep.
Research also shows that in the morning, first thoughts tend to be about money, to-do lists, email inboxes, Facebook, and rarely about gratitude and the joy surrounding the gift of another day.
Try to Establish Right Here Right Now morning habits—
- When you open your eyes, take 3 deep breaths. Clear your mind of any chatter. Feel your head on the pillow and your body on the bed—notice how you feel.
- Think about things you’re grateful for. Notice what’s around you and focus on something that brings you JOY.
- When your feet hit the floor, take a second to get centered in the moment, and then set an intention to stay in the moment throughout your morning routine. Don’t allow your mind to wander to yesterday or tomorrow—Stay in the NOW!
- Make a choice to spend as many moments as you can throughout your day clearing your mind and focusing on something that brings your thoughts back to the present moment. Download the Free RHRN phone app to set customized reminders for your day that we call Bumps, which are gentle nudges to focus your attention on being in the NOW.
~ Cynthia Cartier