Have you ever wondered what mindfulness is and how to use it to help you sleep? If you have read on. This blog gives you the nuts and bolts about what mindfulness is as well as a four step plan you can use straight away to help you sleep better, feel better and work better.

What is mindfulness? 
Mindfulness is the process of achieving a mental state in which you are completely aware of the present moment without judgment. It is based on Buddhist meditation techniques however Shiftwork Services does not use any religious or spiritual concepts when teaching this technique.

Is there research? 
Research from Maasricht University has shown that mindfulness exercises help you sleep by lowering your stress levels before bed time. “With growing pressures at work coupled with smartphone technology, it is really difficult to ‘switch off’ because you continue to receive work related messages all hours of day and night,” says, Ute Hulsheger associate professor of work and organizational psychology at Maasricht University and lead author of this study.  Results indicated that over the course of two weeks participants experienced steady improvements in sleep quality, and duration.

What if I don’t have time to practice regular mindfulness techniques
Current research suggests that even a small amount of mindfulness meditation can help calm our busy minds and improve sleep.

Getting started
To use mindfulness to help you sleep, get into bed and follow this four step process.

  1. Close your eyes and notice any sounds that are outside the room, then bring your attention inside the room and focus on your breathing.
  2. Take a deep breath, hold for a few seconds then breath out slowly. Next breath normally and notice the rise and full of your chest and the sensation of air passing your nostrils. If your mind wonders that is fine – notice it has occurred and without judgement gently bring your attention back to your breath.
  3. Starting at your feet make sure that every part of your body is comfortable and relaxed. Some people find it helpful to say to themselves the words ‘warm and heavy’as they focus on their arms or legs. Pay special attention to shoulders, jaw and brow as these are areas may of us hold tension.
  4. Now think of something nice. The majority of our clients report the best things to think about are a walk by the sea or forest. However pick a scene that is relaxing for you and give it all your attention.

We teach mindfulness as well as other drug-free skills to help you;