Getting Your ZZZsss: The Importance of Sleep For Mindful Performance

Regardless of whether you are a light sleeper, a deep sleeper, someone who needs a lot of sleep or one who needs less sleep, there is one inescapable fact about it: sleep is necessary for health and well-being. Some of the latest studies show that 42% of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep/night. With increases in technology and other factors, this comes as no surprise. And sleep prescriptions are now at an all-time high. People are finding more and more difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting truly restful sleep. All of which leads to much less than peak performance in any area of their lives.

No shock that regular meditation not only improves sleep, but in and of itself is very restorative to both mental and physical health. In addition to meditation, here are six tips to help you enjoy better sleep patterns:

  1. Go slowly into sleep- As Dr. Rueben Naiman, a sleep expert says, going to sleep should be akin to an airplane coming in for a smooth landing. This means establishing a slow descent, from activity to sleep. Dim the lights sooner. Prepare for tomorrow.  Let go of tasks for the day. Ease into bed. Take a warm epsom salt bath. Play some calming music. Do some light reading.
  2. Turn off or silence all technology- device addiction is at alarming levels now. In addition to the device content, most technologies emit a kind of light which blocks the flow of melatonin, a valuable sleep hormone. In our work, being overly-engaged in one’s device is one of the biggest forms of distraction in modern-day society. How can you be truly present, calm, and clear (elements of Mindful Performance), if you are constantly looking at your device? Give yourself technology breaks throughout the day. Make a pact with yourself to refrain from all devices 30 minutes before bed, and at least 30 minutes upon awakening. This tip alone can be monumental in it’s effects on sleep!
  3. Write down your plans/tasks for the next day. By jotting down what is on your “to do” list, you give your brain an opportunity to disengage. The brain optimally needs less mental activity as sleep approaches.
  4. Stretch. Taking 5-10 minutes to practice some restorative yoga before bed can go a long way in setting the tone for effective slumber. You don’t have to be an expert. Google gentle yoga on YouTube and practice a few easy poses.
  5. Get out of the kitchen- this is difficult because food can be so comforting, particularly at night. However, digestion can take sleep in the wrong direction. Refrain from any eating within two hours of sleep. Proteins are preferred at night vs. rich, fatty, spicy foods. And of course, the volume of food itself should be small.
  6. Give thanks- Practicing gratitude before bed has been shown to positively affect the quality of both your sleep, your dreams, and how you awaken. Jotting down (or at least thinking about) 4-5 things you’re grateful for that specific day is all you need to do.

Let us know if you need help around sleep issues. Sweet dreams!

 

#leadership #wellness #MindfulPerformance #sleep #sleephygiene

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