As I support people along their path to a happier, healthier life, one question continues to emerge. “Why can’t I sleep?”
Fifty to 70 million people in the US suffer from a sleep disorder. Sleep problems can be caused by a variety of different things such as chronic pain, asthma, anxiety, or a snoring partner. While medical and environment factors play a role, there are three things we can do to sleep better immediately.
- Develop a mindfulness meditation practice.
- Pause regularly throughout the day.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
Develop a mindfulness meditation practice. We can start with just five minutes in the morning. We tune in to our breathing and note thoughts, feelings, and sensations within the body. We can set an intention for how we wish to go through the day. We might notice our surroundings on the commute to work. We simply pay attention to whatever is happening within us and around us with curiosity and patience.
Pause regularly throughout the day. We can stop and tune in to our breathing every hour. We follow the full breath in and the full breath out 10 times. This helps the body shift from stress reactivity mode to a more balanced state. Here we have greater clarity to solve problems and even communicate better. Pausing as we go through the day enables us to keep returning to home base. This means we won’t have as far to come down from when we get into bed.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine. We start by turning off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. We can let go of the urge to do that one last load of laundry. Instead, we turn the thermostat down or crack a window. We lie down on the floor and bring awareness to the breath and to all the different parts of the body. We do this with openness and self-kindness. This helps to calm the nerves and quiet the busy mind.
I’d like to invite you to check out Mindful Me®, my mobile friendly, online, self-paced mindfulness meditation program. It is perfect for those who wish to start a mindfulness practice or anyone who needs a reset. I hope you’ll give it a try and share any changes you discover.