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Improve Your Sleep with These Mindfulness Tips

A woman asleep in bed.

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t always easy. Many of us are busy all day, which leaves us too wired to fall asleep. We’ve got some tips to help you reset your mind and get better sleep.

If you regularly wake up at night, have nightmares, or find it difficult to fall asleep in the first place, you’re certainly not alone. When you sleep, it’s the only time your body and mind get to reset, recuperate, recharge, and prepare for new stimuli.

When you start to run out of gas, your nervous system becomes so backlogged that you begin to have trouble reacting to certain things. It becomes more difficult to make rational decisions, focus on tasks, or even to understand what’s happening around you.

Here are some mindfulness tips to help you improve your sleep.


A woman meditating with her arms crossed and her eyes closed.
Karla Tafra / LifeSavvy

Although it sounds clichéd, meditation is still the best mindfulness technique for your daily life. It’s useful for various reasons, but improving sleep is one of is most important benefits.

Learning how to meditate isn’t easy. And if you try to do it before bedtime, it can be even harder because you have a specific goal—falling asleep. This can cause more stress because you assign yourself a deadline. Your desire to fall asleep becomes so big that it has the opposite effect. There are two things to remember when it comes to meditation: be patient and let go of all expectations.

There are many meditation podcasts, books, and apps that can help you figure out what might work for you. If you force yourself to listen to a voice that irritates you or to learn a technique that stresses you out even more, meditation will never work.

Everyone is different, so something that works perfectly for one person might be terrible for another.

Cultivate Mindful Habits

By becoming mindful of what we’re doing before bed, we can reduce stress, calm our mind, and teach our body to recognize it’s time to rest.

Avoiding screens and blue light at least for at least the hour before bed helps calm our bodies. Dim, warm light helps stimulate the production of melatonin, a hormone critical for sleep. If you’re aiming for a smooth transition into a restful sleep, keeping the lights turned low and engaging in calming activities like reading or a light hobby will help you unwind.

Try to avoid eating or drinking for at least an hour before bed. This gives your body enough time to digest and excrete whatever it needs so that you don’t wake up during the night. Being mindful of your eating habits and avoiding heavy dinners also helps you to prevent heartburn and indigestion at bedtime.

Relax with Essential Oils

There are certain essential oils which can help improve sleep immensely. Lavender, for one, is amazing oil to call upon. Not only has it been used for centuries as a sleep aid, relaxation tool, and medicine, but modern research indicates that it has a positive impact on the quality of sleep.

Drawing a bath with lavender essential oils, diffusing it in the bedroom, sleeping with a lavender satchel on your bed, or otherwise exposing yourself to the scent is quite relaxing and promotes better sleep.

While there isn’t the same body of research into the sleep-assisting effects of other oils as there is with lavender, you might find some of them relaxing. Common oils used for this purpose include chamomile, valerian, clary sage, and vetiver. You can use them on their own, or mix them to create your signature scent. Learning how to use essential oils mindfully doesn’t only make your bedroom smell like a spa, it relaxes you like a spa.

Write a To-Do-List

Beautiful notebook and tea on a colorful blanket
Karla Tafra / LifeSavvy

Although this tip doesn’t sound very relaxing, writing a to-do list can help your mind relax. That moment when our head hits the pillow is the time when many of us finally take a deep breath and start to unpack all our stress and worries from our day.

Writing what you’ve accomplished that day and what you need to do tomorrow allows your brain to let go of those tasks for the night. If you start to worry about something or think about work, you can tell yourself, “I took care of that; it’s on my list.”

Vary Your Routine Now and Then

Humans love habits and routines, and when we find something that works for us, we stick with it. And for the most part, that’s good. The reason we love routine is that our brains crave efficiency. After all, why think about something when you don’t need to?

But sometimes, switching things up a bit can be helpful. It forces you to be more mindful and present, actually enjoying your time before going to sleep. If your bedtime routine typically involves reading, try drawing a bath once a week instead. Light some candles and listen to relaxing music.

Most importantly, give yourself time to experiment. Try different things, download various podcasts, cook different meals, listen to a dozen different artists, diffuse all sorts of essential oils, and give them all a shot. Everyone is different, but only by being mindful and present in life, can we make a change, improve some things that need to get better, fix problems that need help, and bring our quality of life to a whole another level.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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