5 Ways Mindfulness Affects Your Sleep
Did you know that mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing our awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting all feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations? Mattress Firm wants you to know how you can use this state to help with your sleep habits. Mindfulness practices seek to reduce stress and enhance our physical, psychological and social well-being. By being mindful and adding tailored practices into our daily routines, we can establish a wellness loop: mindfulness can help us sleep better and good sleep can promote more mindful behavior. Here's how mindfulness can affect different components of our sleep:
Mindfulness and Stress
With our over-scheduled days and endless to-do lists, it seems nearly impossible to avoid the stress that comes with working hard. In Mattress Firm's "Dozed and Confused" study, we found a direct relationship between stress and sleep. In fact, people who are stressed tend to get five hours or fewer of sleep each night and are five times more likely to experience insomnia at least once a month.
By consciously being mindful, we have the ability to step back from a stressful situation and observe our thoughts and emotions more clearly. Instead of reacting with frustration or worry, we can accept how the situation makes us feel and respond with clarity, ultimately lowering our stress levels.
Mindfulness and Sleeplessness
Unfortunately, sleeplessness is inevitable. When we are greeted by sleeplessness we tend to enter a relentless cycle: we can't sleep, so we worry about not being able to sleep, which in turn keeps us from sleeping, and so on and so forth…
It seems obvious that mindfulness has proven to be an effective tool for putting an end to this never-ending cycle. Before jumping into your Mattress Firm mattress at night, try practicing mindfulness to keep from getting restless at night and sending yourself into a spiral of overwhelming thoughts, wreaking havoc on our sleep quality. Instead we can control our emotions and keep our thoughts at bay, allowing us to peacefully fall asleep.
Mindfulness and Work
Beyond letting stress consume us during the day, it's also a challenge to leave our work-related stress at the office. Here's where mindfulness comes in, yet again. Researchers have found that practicing daytime mindfulness increases our ability to detach ourselves from work at the end of the day, allowing us to relax during the evening and ultimately allowing for sleep improvements.
Mindfulness and Cortisol
Recent studies have identified links between mindfulness practices and changes in cortisol levels, which in turn have helped improve sleep quality. Cortisol is a hormone that stimulates alertness and is important to the regulation of the body's 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Managing our cortisol levels allows us to maintain our body's natural cycle, allowing us to get the proper sleep we need.
Mindfulness and Sleep Disorders
Before treating sleep disorders with medications, which can cause a slew of unpleasant side effects, first try incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine. Several sleep studies have shown that mindfulness-based treatments can lead to significant sleep gains, including reductions in total wake times. In addition to reducing insomnia, mindfulness can improve sleep quality, increase sleep times and cause better sleep efficiency.
Wondering how you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily routines? An easy way is by introducing a nightly mindful bedtime routine. Conclude your routine with quick meditation to align your thoughts, emotions and intentions and you will find that you're less likely to be surprised by unpredictable thoughts before bed. Whether you choose meditation or just decide to consciously not to let your emotions control your reactions, the positive impact mindfulness will have on your well-being will be well worth the effort.
Let our Mattress Firm employees know if you have added any new mindfulness tactics into your day. We love a good sleep study!