Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up too early, or feeling unrefreshed after sleep. This condition can cause fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and depression. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat insomnia, including medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and natural remedies like mindfulness based therapy for insomnia.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia, how it works, and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine to improve your sleep quality, reduce stress, and enhance your overall well-being.
Haily was an enthusiastic marathon runner, but her passion for running did not translate into a good night's sleep. Despite her rigorous training, she was struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep. After consulting with her doctor, she was diagnosed with chronic insomnia and prescribed sleep meditation. However, the medication was affecting her training the next day, and she knew she needed to find a different solution.
Determined to find a way to sleep better without compromising her running, Haily delved into mindful-based therapy for insomnia.
Understanding Insomnia: Causes and Symptoms
Insomnia can be caused by various factors, including stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, or medical conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or narcolepsy. Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up too early, or feeling unrefreshed after sleep.
What is Mindfulness Based Therapy for Insomnia?
Mindfulness-Based Therapy (MBT) is a form of therapy that involves practicing mindfulness meditation and cognitive-behavioral techniques to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. MBT has been proven effective in treating various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How MBT can help with Insomnia?
MBT can help with insomnia by reducing stress and anxiety, which are common triggers of sleep disorders. The practice of mindfulness meditation helps individuals focus on the present moment, quiet the mind, and cultivate a sense of inner peace. MBT also involves cognitive-behavioral techniques that can help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns that may contribute to insomnia.
Mindfulness Tips To Try Before Heading To Bed
The following mindfulness techniques can help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia symptoms:
- Change the lighting 1-2 hours before bed: One of the most important things you can do before bedtime is to dim all lights, including those on your personal electronic devices such as phones and laptops, an hour or two before bedtime. This helps your circadian rhythm reset itself in anticipation of sleep and reduces exposure to artificial blue light which can interfere with natural melatonin production. Additionally, one could opt for candlelight during those last few waking hours if this provides a relaxing atmosphere to help unwind before falling asleep.
- Remind Yourself the Importance of a Good Night's Sleep: Sleep is such an invaluable commodity and can often be taken for granted. Give yourself permission as you lay in bed to relish this time of rest - don't forget to thank your comfy little sanctuary which provides a refreshing night's sleep every single day.
- Write a To-Do List before bed: Get ahead of tomorrow's agenda and get a good night sleep. Make sure to jot down your daily tasks into an organized list for the next day. Doing so will lessen any anxiousness you may have about what awaits, allowing you to drift off easily that much sooner.
- Take a Cold Shower: Tame your body's electrifying energy, soothe and smooth its nervous network with the calming power of cold water hydrotherapy. A few minutes in a cold shower, notice all the sensations in those moments; help your body to self-regulate. This will help make it easier for you surrender into restful sleep when your mind has too much adrenaline running through it because your body is naturally adaptogenic.
- Sleep East to West: Be mindful of energy and how your body feels in different sleeping locations and positions. Rejuvenate yourself by reconfiguring your sleeping spot. Use the compass on your phone to orient it east-west for restorative slumber and a balanced energy flow.
- Play Gong Music: Transform your slumber experience with the soothing vibrations of gongs - renowned for their unique ability to clear away subconscious clutter, allowing you to relax into a deep sleep. Experience pure bliss by purifying your mind, body & soul with these types of tones and vibrations. Immerse yourself with all your sense and breath while being present in the moment.
- Try a Sleep Hypnosis: Unlock the power of deep relaxation and enjoy a restful slumber with Sleep Hypnosis. An experienced hypnotherapist will guide you through verbal cues to induce an extraordinary trance-like state that can help lull you into a peaceful, rejuvenating sleep – without totally disconnecting from your subconscious awareness.
Mindfulness Breathing for Insomnia
Left Nostril Breathing
This breathing is said to activate your parasympathetic nervous system to allow you to rest and slow you down. The more you practice this breathing technique, the deep you will go. Try to perform 14 days in row before sleep to recognize the benefits it brings to your body.
- Sit or lay down in a comfortable position with your spine straight.
- Take your right hand, and place your right thumb on your right nostril with your pointer and middle fingers between your brows, your third eye.
- Close your eyes lightly, gazing up and in to your where you fingers are touching.
- Slowly and gently begin inhale and exhale out your left nostril.
- If it is easier to count, use a 4 count inhale and 4 count exhale.
- Continue breathing for 3-5 minutes
- Lay down your body, and use other sleep therapy tools to help your rest and relax like aromatherpay, sleep guided meditation or hypnosis, mindful jewelry of a mala, play music, etc.
Three Part Breathing
- Gently and lightly close your eyes, and bring your gaze up to the center of your forehead, your third eye.
- Take a long, deep, gentle inhale through your nostrils
- Exhale fully while focusing intently on your body and how it feels using all your senses.
- After doing a few rounds, slow down your exhale so that it’s twice as long as you inhale.
The goal during box breathing is to focus intently on the oxygen you bring in and push out imaging these steps are creating a box.
- If you are in bed, sit with your back straight, slight chin lock, and gently close your eyes gazing at the center point of your forehead, your third eye.
- Breathe in a slow inhale and once your reach the top, then try to push all the air out of your lungs as you exhale, completely.
- Repeat inhaling, but this time slowly through your nose and count to 4 in your head, filling your lungs with more air with each number.
- Once your reach 4 counts, hold your breath and begin to count to 4 in your head.
- Open your mouth and slowly exhale focusing on getting all the oxygen out of your lungs.
- Repeat steps 2-5 for five minutes.
Incorporating MBT into Your Daily Routine
To incorporate MBT into your daily routine, try one or all of the following tips:
- Set aside time: Set aside time each day for mindfulness meditation and practice it consistently.
- Keep a journal: Write down things you are thankful for each day, or create the space for a brain dump to allow you to have an outlet to release what is going on in your mind before bed.
- Practice self-care: By engaging in activities that promote relaxation and well-being is a type of mindful giving to yourself. These practices include yoga, massage, reiki, ortho-bionomy, meditation, breathing techniques or taking a warm bath before bed.
- Practice acceptance and letting go: Sometimes, forcing thoughts away can be difficult and frustrating if you try so hard and it still doesn't work. Even if you have been practicing for weeks, months of year. Letting go of expectation of letting your thoughts go, and allow them to run their course is sometimes the answer. Don't reverse the river flow; just observe.
Running Towards Restful Sleep
Haily discovered a range of tricks that worked for her, from journaling her to-do list to taking a cold shower before bed. She even rearranged her room to sleep from east to west, and played a sleep hypnosis track to help her drift off.
After a few weeks of experimentation, Haily found that left nostril breathing worked wonders for her. She incorporated this technique into her nightly routine, and before long, she was sleeping soundly through the night.
Thanks to her perseverance and willingness to try new things, Haily was finally able to enjoy the restful sleep she needed to fuel her passion for running.
Is MBT effective for treating insomnia?
Yes, MBT has been shown to be effective in reducing insomnia symptoms and improving sleep quality.
Do I need to practice MBT every day to see results?
Yes, consistent practice of MBT is necessary to see results. Aim for daily practice, even if it's just a few minutes each day.
Is MBT a drug-free therapy?
Yes, MBT is a natural, drug-free therapy that does not involve medication.
How long does it take to see results from MBT?
It varies from person to person, but many individuals report seeing improvements in their sleep quality and overall well-being within a few weeks of consistent practice.
Mindfulness-Based Therapy is an effective and natural remedy for insomnia that can help you achieve better sleep quality, reduce stress, and improve your overall well-being. By incorporating MBT into your daily routine, you can develop the skills and habits necessary to combat insomnia naturally, without medication or expensive therapy sessions. So, if you're struggling with sleep disorders, consider trying MBT as an alternative natural remedy.