I joke with one of the administrators that I work with that I needed to get a mouth guard because of the stress associated with working with them. The truth is none of us are immune to stress. Mindfulness absolutely helps with the way in which we take in, process and manage stress. It’s especially important to respond effectively moment by moment rather than let stress build up. That’s what most of our breath exercises and awareness and acceptance practices are about. Sometimes though, we can carry stress physically despite these efforts and it affects sleep. For the next while, our practices will focus on better sleep. So if you have been practicing in the morning..keep that up, but see if you can also carve out some time for evening mindfulness before you go to bed.
For today’s practice read below for tips sleep that I created. It’s all backed by science. There is a body scan embedded in the sheet that you can use to begin practicing tonight.
This will be our last mindfulness activity.. for now! But please review the 199 other guided practices we have provided over the last few months!
Tips for better sleep
1. Wake at the same time each day
2. Get bright natural light every day (before Noon)
3. Exercise daily before 3 pm
4. Practice Mindfulness Daily
5. Avoid daytime naps over 30 minutes
6. Avoid smartphone and computer 2-3 hours prior to bedtime
7. Avoid Caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime
8. Avoid Nicotine close to bedtime
9. Avoid drinking liquids before bed
a. Make sure your bedroom is quiet or use ocean or rain sounds (click here)
b. Make sure pillow and mattress are comfortable
c. Make sure that the room is cool (67-70 degrees)
11. About 45 minutes before bed, take a hot bath, ideally with lavender
12. Read or relax, then go to your room
13. Do progressive muscle relaxation Progressive Muscle Relaxation (click here for a guided 12 min relaxation)
14. Focus on the sound of rain or waves
15. If you do not fall asleep in 15 minutes, leave room and read something boring until drowsy
Special Tips for Nightmares
1. If you have a nightmare, use mindfulness to look around the room and put all your energy into observing and describing things you see around you.
2. Get up. Leave the bedroom, but do not put on bright lights.
3. If you have discussed with your physician and it seems like a good option for you, you may wish to take melatonin (2 mg. effective in studies) before returning to bed. Assuming you have not already taken it that evening.
4. Take a hot bath (with lavender if you wish) or shower, have a cup of chamomile tea if you like. When you feel a little relaxed, return to bed, begin progressive muscle relaxation again and try to sleep again. Focus on your breathing and the sound of rain or waves. Do not worry about the time or how long you have been awake.