Mindfulness for Sleep - Tips for improving sleep with daily mindful techniques
Posted by Adam Meads
Nothing impacts how you look and feel as much as sleep (or lack of it). In fact, in our lifestyle audit, a whopping 1 in 2 of you told us you would feel happier and healthier if you got both a greater quantity AND better quality of sleep each night.
Here at NEOM, we are passionate about the small things you can do to get closer to a happier, healthier you and we believe SLEEP certainly has a vital role to play.
So, in our mission to help you relax and unwind, we’ve outlined some practical tips and insights into the power of mindfulness when it comes to achieving that long-lusted for, brilliant night’s sleep.
Can Mindfulness Help Sleep?
When we talk about mindfulness, we're not talking about the big, super time-consuming changes to our lifestyle. Who has the time? Instead, we are all about those easy-peasy techniques that we can all do to focus the mind on the here and now and get that feeling of calm and ditch that overwhelming feeling that can creep up on us when we're speeding through life.
When it comes to sleep, it's no secret that it all starts with a relaxed body and calm mind. Quieting the anxieties and stresses of our daily lives can have a powerful impact. From the food you eat, the way you move your body, your night-time routine and more; mindfulness involves easy, positive changes that can help you achieve your best night’s sleep yet!
Below we delve into our favourite mindful techniques for you to try today.
Mindfulness Techniques and Exercises to Help Sleep
Rituals and Routines
Consistency can be one of the most crucial elements in getting those all important zzz's. We all know how a late night, one too many vinos, being woken in the night or having an early start can threw our sleep off balance. So one of the basics to sleep is sticking to a bedtime wake time. We should support the body’s natural circadian rhythms’, so try going to bed and waking at regular times – even at the weekend. Even if this actually results in less sleep, you’re still likely to wake up feeling more refreshed than an inconsistent routine.
When it comes to bedtime rituals, there are many and we recommend experimenting with a few to see what works best for you. Did you know for example, the same relaxing candle lit in the evening can mean one whiff of the fragrance send signals to your brain’s limbic system to prepare itself for sleep?
Other examples include switching off your phone, taking a long bath, and allowing time to read, are all simple mindful ways that can help to calm the mind and body before you drift off to sleep.
Mindful Movement & Exercise
Relaxing muscle and body tensions can help to unwind the mind and release a state of zen before you reach your cosy bed. Check out our guide to a spinal rotation stretch and what we believe to be the most stupendous relaxation technique there is on pages 28-29 of our Sleep e-book.
The best thing about this particular use of Yoga Nidra is that it involves minimal physical effort, which is ideal if you’re already feeling exhausted. The idea is to put yourself into a ‘corpse pose’ and follow some mindful techniques to help to rejuvenate you mentally and physically and clear the mind before sleep.
Guided Meditation & Sleep Apps
A whole host of research has linked meditation with helping insomnia and it can be a great way to clear the mind, ease anxiety and aid relaxation. If you are struggling to get started with how to meditate, a number of apps are here to help you. HEADSPACE is a favourite of ours.
You could even combine some mindful meditation techniques alongside other apps, that will help you to understand your sleep-cycle to achieve the optimum night’s sleep. SLEEPTIME will record your movements and can wake you at an optimal time, whilst PZIZZ offers a 7-day challenge to discover your optimal sleep length and wake-up time.
You can top-up your body’s sleep hormones by being mindful about the food you eat. The protein found in complex carbs such as oats, barley and brown rice can boost tryptophan, which in turn makes us feel sleepy, whilst magnesium plays an important role in the deactivation of adrenaline.
And did you know, lettuce contains a natural sedative? So, try a crisp green salad with dinner and see if it helps improve your sleep.
We should also be mindful that whilst it may be tempting to tuck into a big meal before bedtime, it makes it harder to switch-off as your body works hard to digest the meal. We suggest having dinner 3 hours before bed and if you need a snack just before bed make it light and breezy, such as a light soup or broth.
Music can be “instrumental” (see what we did there!?) in our emotions and when it comes to sleep, the right music or even sounds have the power to induce a state of calm. Again, there are some great apps to help with this one. NOISLI hooks up to your wireless speaker and is a sound sanctuary for sleep with audio of rain and rustling leaves to water streams or even white noise. Whatever works for you!
Who said bedtime stories can only be for children? Certainly not us! A quick Google of sleep stories will find you a whole host of bedtime stories dedicated to helping adults relax and get to sleep. There’s also the brilliant book ‘Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults’. Far better than the blue light of your phone or iPad, which countless studies have shown to be disruptive to your sleep cycle. Switch off the tech an hour before bed and try a sleep story to help you wind down instead.
Here at NEOM, we have to admit, we are super proud of our multi award-winning Tranquillity blend in our The expert blend of 19 dreamy purest possible essential oils, which we spent 2 years perfecting, resulted in 90% of those on our NEOM sleep programme feeling totally calm before sleep and 88% went on to achieve a better night’ sleep. For more information on our wellbeing heroes you can incorporate into your bedtime routine and rituals follow the links below;
Tranquillity Scented Candle – for the full Tranquillity experience, light all 3 wicks at the same time and practise mindful breathing techniques as the fragrances are released into your bedroom.
Perfect Night’s Sleep Bath Foam – pour a capful of foam into running water and soak for at least ten minutes to release the natural fragrance. Try combining with some breathing techniques so that the luxurious lavender scents reach your nose and helps you relax.
Perfect Night’s Sleep Bath and Shower Drops – pipettes of these precious oils in a warm bath or applied to your décolletage when taking a shower can help to create your pre-sleep haven.
Perfect Night’s Sleep Magnesium Body Butter – try massaging the equivalent of a heaped tablespoon of our magnesium body butter to achieve the ultimate state of pre-sleep bliss. In our consumer perception study 87% of those using this product told us they had a good night’s sleep after using it.
Tell Us Your Mindful Rituals for Better Sleep
If all this talk of sleep has left you longing to get tucked-up under the cosy covers, before you do, we’d love for you to try some of our suggested mindful techniques and see the benefits for yourself!
We hope that when you wake, you’ll feel refreshed and raring for the day, and then, if you can spare us a moment please let us know the strategies that worked for you! That way, we can all help each other in our quest to achieve all those glorious zzz’s!
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