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Science Finds A Proven Way To Help You Sleep Much Better

Science Finds A Proven Way To Help You Sleep Much Better

Many of us face difficulties getting enough sleep, some of us have difficulties falling asleep no matter how hard we try. There are myriads of medications to treat insomnia, plenty of teas to drink to aid in falling asleep and even suggested bedtime routines to help you sleep better. Maybe you may have tried all of these methods with no avail, or maybe you are seeking out a way to improve the overall quality of your sleep. Turns out there is a scientific proven way to help you sleep better.

The newest practice in living a more intentional day is the act of practicing mindfulness. You may have heard this word buzzing around the internet, peppered in news articles, and lifestyle websites. But, what does it mean to practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be defined as the quality or a state of being conscious or aware of something. It can be seen as a, “moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgement.” A mindfulness practice promotes an acute awareness to one’s attention and mental “processes”, resulting in improved well-being, concentration, mental clarity, and peacefulness.

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Mindfulness for better sleep

In a recent clinical trial published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, outlines a study of 50 adults with chronic sleep problems.  The participants were assigned to two separate sleep programs in order to determine which group improved the quality of their sleep.

The first group of adults learned specific behaviors that could help them develop a bedtime routine. These behaviors included avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and sleep hygiene.

The second set of adults underwent a six-week program that taught mindfulness meditation led by a certified instructor.

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The Results

Each group met six times, once a week for approximately two hours. When the two groups of participants were compared, the study concluded those who learned the practice of mindfulness had significant improvements in their overall sleep quality and fewer symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, and depression compared to those who were taught specific behaviors related to a bedtime routine.

How the Practice of Mindfulness Meditation Helps Us Sleep Better

    Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on your breathing and bringing one’s attention to the present without letting the mind wander into concerns about the past or future. Often times, what keeps us up at night are the never endings tasks on our to-do lists, things we would like to accomplish the next day and so on. Mindfulness meditation helps you break thoughts flying around in your head to evoke a relaxation response.

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    The relaxation response is a physiological shift in the body that is the opposite of the stress response. When you’re in a relaxed state you can help ease stress related ailments such as insomnia, blood pressure, and pain.

    How to practice Mindfulness Meditation for Better Sleep

    1.  Choose your Calming Force

    This can be your breath, a specific sound, a positive word, or a phrase. Whatever you choose, focus on it.  If it’s breathing, breathe in slowly and deeply and exhale slowly and deeply. If it is a word, a specific sound, or a phrase, repeat it over and over again in your head. Focus on it and let it lead you to a state of relaxation.

    2.  Relax and Let Go

    It’s natural for the mind to wander, it happens. When you become aware that your mind has wandered elsewhere, come back to your breath, sound, positive word or phrase, and start over.

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    Conclusion

    Sleeping is no joke. We all need it to function at an optimal level. Sometimes when life is hectic the quality of our sleep can be jeopardized. By using the techniques of mindfulness meditation at bedtime you can improve your overall quality of sleep and improve your health for years to come.

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    Tara Massan

    Founder of Be Moved, Life Coach and Writer.

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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