Learn more about mindfulness with this collection
Improving sleep through mindful breathing exercises
Practicing stress reduction and relaxation techniques
Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine
Over 30% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep each night, and in a lot of industries (consulting, investment banking) a lack of sleep is even considered cool and productive.
Yet, across the board, more sleep leads to better results. For young kids in school, for students in college, for professionals and CEOs, for lovers, athletes and artists. In case you’re part of that 30%, I hope these lessons will turn you over to the sleep side of the force.
The benefits of sleeping right don’t stop at productivity, but also extend to your relationship. A 2014 study among 1,000 people found that couples are happier if they:
But it doesn’t just matter whether you sleep next to your partner or in separate beds altogether – how close you are matters too. 85% of those who slept less than an inch apart reported being happy in their relationship. This percentage kept decreasing the further apart people slept.
One of the best ways to spend more quality time with your partner at night is to ditch electronics after a certain time each day altogether.
The least you can do, if you “wind-down” using electronic devices at night is to install an app that tints the colour of your screen in sync with the sunset (and sunrise in the morning). So whenever the sun sets, your screen colour turns a more reddish colour.
By removing the blue part of the spectrum from the light your screens emit at night, your body stops suppressing its melatonin production.
Even if we think we don’t have it, we actually do. The thing is, for example, to put sleep above watching the latest episode of your favorite series.
Getting your priorities straight and valuing your shut-eye time is adamant in your quest for a [healthy lifestyle.
Changing your sleep habits can be a challenging process. Still, you need to commit, to take it day by day, cheer yourself for every victory and be indulgent when you fall off the wagon.
It will take time to redesign your sleeping patterns through a trial and error process. Our lives are unique so it’s understandable if our sleeping habits need to be custom made.
Children are told off by being sent to bed early. So it’s no wonder that from a young age sleep is associated with something we don’t want to ‘engage’ with. It becomes the enemy of fun and games.
But while we sleep, our brain and body wash away the toxins accumulated during the day. Kids need to understand that they gather lots of energy to play with and also assimilate information much easier afterward.
When the alarm starts blaring in the morning you wake up with your body inundated with cortisone causing the flight or fight response. So your feet didn’t even touch the floor and you’re already stressed.
You can begin by forsaking the snooze button, and then in time, you’ll wake up on your own. It’s recommended to pause for a couple of seconds, to find your bearings before getting out of bed.
Take your iPhone, laptop, and iPad out of the bedroom at least half an hour before you put your head on the pillow.
The blue light that these indispensable devices emit is causing alertness in your brain, translating into waking up in the middle of the night or staring tens of minutes at the ceiling.
Never underestimate the power of dreams. Waking up in the middle of the night from one is not ideal. So why not develop a habit of having a notebook and pen on your nightstand to write them down? Don’t turn on the lights. It’ll be easier to recall the details.
If you don’t wake up during the night, then in the morning you can describe what you dreamt about, be it the entire sequence, a tumult of emotions, or just an image that’s stuck with you.
When you’re suffering from a poor night of sleep you go after sweets, doughnuts with all the various toppings, or that precious mug of coffee (you don’t even care that’s meant to be in a little fancy cup, you need your fix in triple dose right now) and maybe a double latte later.
And there’s also the 3rd option of combining the two: sugar and caffeine, which can be found in enormous dosages in energy drinks. Why not take a 20 – 30 minute nap instead?
It is our collective delusion that overwork and burnout is the price we pay for success.
Acupuncture is an efficient and natural way to improve your sleep. People have used it for centuries, but now modern medicine already confirms its effectiveness.
Researchers at Emory University conducted research on ancient sleep studies and found that about 93% of research confirms that acupuncture is an efficient way to cure insomnia.
Also, several studies have found that ear acupuncture points are helpful in encouraging deep sleep.
Dioscorides, a physician from ancient Greece, wrote about the tranquilizing properties of lavender at the beginning of the first century.
It was widely used in ancient Greece and Roman baths to help guests relax.
Modern science has already confirmed the powers of lavender as well. It has already been proven that it can lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and skin temperature – another important factor to sleep well!
So you can try different herbs and aromas such as lavender or valerian root, and find out which oils work best for you.
You can use technology to access tools for meditation or to help you relax. Forgetting the daily stresses and anxiety is an important part of a good night’s sleep.
And meditation can help you with that. There are many meditation guides available online, like Louise Hay’s videos that can be accessed on YouTube.
Methods such as conscious attention to breathing or Feldenkrais can help you fall asleep.
"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book."
It turns out that nothing is more critical to our health, happiness, and productivity than having a good night’s sleep, with adequate quality and time.
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