Ever since the fitness industry started blooming, there has been a surge in awareness as to what we should eat and how much we should kick our sedentary lifestyle goodbye. However, the third, equally essential pillar of health and vitality is often overlooked in these health plans – sleep!
This simple, biological need is something most of us either neglect, have no real control of, or at the very least, we allow a wide array of external factors to ruin it. That said, it’s no surprise that so many people suffer from insomnia as well as many accompanying health issues, from anxiety and lethargy through drops in our immune systems all the way to depression.
In this chaos of modern living, a single factor has emerged as a very influential one to help you sleep better at night, and that would be practicing mindfulness. However, not everyone knows where to begin and how to implement this soothing technique to improve their sleep, so let’s go over some of the basics of using mindfulness for better sleep.
Infuse your room with fragrances
When you first begin practicing mindfulness, you start noticing how fleeting your thoughts are and how difficult it often is to contain them. As such, they tend to keep us up at night for hours after we should have fallen asleep. However, stimulating your senses can help your mind unwind, slow down and focus on the most immediate, pleasant experience in the vicinity. Using aromatherapy in treating various health issues is still a prevalent practice, and sleep issues can be effectively treated with the right fragrances.
For example, you need to focus on scents that help prepare your body for sleep, such as slowing down your heart rate and letting your blood pressure slightly drop. Aromatherapy is a perfect choice to help ease yourself into a state of greater mindfulness through scents. Vanilla is known to help you relax, while sandalwood is a great option for those who suffer from allergies. Do some research and make sure to find the best match for your sleep issues.
Sleep-perfect room design
You cannot possibly expect yourself to be able to meditate before sleep in an environment that is not comfortable or inviting. In fact, it’s important how you position yourself and how comfortable you are, especially while you’re still in the first stages of navigating the waters of meditation. Make sure that your bedroom is free of digital gimmicks such as a TV set or even your phone – these only serve as distractions to keep your mind busy.
Use warm colors and soft fabrics, and most importantly, you need your own king mattress to induce relaxation and to serve as the focal point of your restful nook where you can easily meditate before bed. (Though it doesn’t necessarily have to be a king if you can’t afford it or you don’t have space for it.) A few throw pillows for added support as well as warmth here and there, and you’ll be well on your way to sleep-ville before you know it.
Look to Mother Nature
Spending time in nature has a sublimely relaxing effect on all of us, and we can introduce more elements of nature into our home in order to inspire a more Zen vibe. The easiest way to do this is by adding more greenery to your bedroom décor. You should opt for plants that are powerful when it comes to air purification, delivering more oxygen to your space, and that are relatively low-maintenance. These include the peace lily, snake plant, as well as jasmine, aloe vera, and bamboo palm.
Greenery helps soothe our minds and it has a restorative effect on our wellbeing, thus making it a perfect choice for setting the bedroom stage for your mindfulness rituals. Thanks to their calming effect, these plants can help slowly nestle your mind into that much-needed meditative state before you’re lulled to sleep.
Find a soothing playlist
Unlike other varieties of meditation that focus on a particular form, such as breathing or mantras, mindfulness comes in a wide spectrum of personalized experiences, one of which can be listening to music as you meditate. However, you need a playlist that suits you, not the preconceived idea you might have of meditation to begin with.
The point is to listen to music that you enjoy, whether it’s upbeat, slow and mellow, hardcore metal, or some Mozart. Open your mind to exploring different genres you like to listen to and see which of them have the most relaxing, calming effect on your mind and body right before bedtime.
Master the art of breathing
Much like so many other bodily functions, breathing is on autopilot, which means that you pay little to no attention to it during the day. However, that makes it a perfect anchoring pattern for meditative purposes, which can help you calm your mind and prepare yourself for rest.
If you decide to use breathing as your before-bed relaxation technique to improve your mindfulness, you’ll notice that your breath is most likely shallow, your jaw and teeth clenched, and that you’re tense all over. Focusing on deepening your breath and slowing it down is a perfect way to relieve stress, let go of negativity and prepare your mind and your body to fall asleep. You can practice breathing more mindfully even during the day and you’ll benefit even further.