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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 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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