A woman meditating. She is lying on her back with a slight smile on her face, a glow around her head, with one hand over her stomach and one hand over her heart.

Can Mindfulness Help Insomnia and Improve Sleep Quality?

Last updated: January 2023

When you have not slept well for a long time, you can often find yourself grabbing at any and all solutions, to just get a grip on your insomnia and get some sleep. Mindfulness is really a basic in my life at the moment and has really helped me (some nights) to improve my sleep quality.

Importantly, mindfulness has also helped me fall asleep easier. This is not a 'one size fits all.' Like with most things we have to find what works for us individually. It needs to suit us and fit into our lifestyle for it to work.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a word that we certainly hear more often, and it can come across as a rather "new age" term. Its base is from many old traditions, cultures and belief systems and can be found dating back many years. If you look it up in the dictionary, you might find something similar to the definition below.

  • mind·ful·ness[ˈmʌɪn(d)f(ʊ)lnəs] NOUN
  • "the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something: their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition"
  • "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique."

Can mindfulness help insomnia?

The short answer for me is yes. Will it take away all my insomnia? No, probably not. Is it worth the effort? Yes, it really is.

By allowing our minds to find some peace, it is possible that it can increase the quality of our sleep. It may even help you fall asleep easier by calming your racing mind.

By practicing mindfulness, you are likely to also improve other aspects of your well-being. Your overall mood might improve, you may find that you are calmer and cope with stressful situations better.

How to go about meditation

I think we all have this image of someone sitting in total stillness. No thoughts, nothing, just peace.

Meditation has never looked like this for me. The best advice I ever got from a meditation guide was to do it how it worked for me, and that it is a process.

I use guided meditations, as my neurodivergent brain needs some assistance in staying in the moment. I use ones that are 10 to 20 minutes at night before bed and they put me to sleep pretty easily most nights. In the middle of the day on stressful days, I will do a 5 or 10 minute meditation, just to keep myself grounded and mindful.

Journaling is another firm favorite; it is a good way to empty your head before bed of all your worries and concerns.

Consistency is key

Once you have found a routine that works for you, stick to it. Even if it does not work every night, I mean it. Just keep at it, it takes our bodies a long time to establish a routine, and I do believe it takes our minds just as long, if not longer.

Be kind to yourself, it is not always going to be easy, but it will pay off.

Let me know what your favorite mindful practice is.

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