We need to pay attention to the fundamentals of life: eating, sleeping and exercise. Taking a mindful approach to these pillars of well-being is more transformative than meditation alone. When we’re busy sleep is often the thing we de-prioritise and maybe even boast about how we can get by with only a few hours a night! When we’re stressed sleep can be interrupted by racing thoughts that keep us awake, which can often lead to more anxiety around not sleeping enough.
Last Friday was World Sleep Day, which is an annual global event to raise awareness of the importance of sleep and highlight sleep-related health and well-being issues. According to the World Sleep Society, sleep problems affect up to 45% of the global population, making sleep disorders a global problem.
A long, deep sleep is the ideal and adequate sleep is critical to our health.Typically we need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep each night to function at our best! But research undertaken by the Sleep Health Foundation has shown that 18% of adults regularly sleep less than six hours per night, while 20% suffer from chronically poor sleep.
Why do we need sleep?
We need sleep in order for our bodies to function properly including brain development and body restoration. Research has shown that while we sleep our body regenerates and restores its energy levels. And if we don’t get enough sleep there can be physical and emotional side effects.
Going without sleep for a short while can cause mood swings, increase the risk of accidents or injury, impair our judgment. and ability to stay focused. A long-term sleep issues can increase the risk of developing more serious health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Mindfulness can help, it strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system and helps to create state of calm, while quietening the sympathetic nervous system that keeps our minds and bodies active. Mindfulness helps us to become more aware of the habits we have that inhibit us from getting a good night’s sleep and can help us to develop better ways of preparing ourselves for bed. Here are some my favourite mindful choices to assist with a better night’s sleep. Try some of them, share how you went and maybe also share some your best tips.