Mindfulness Exercises To Help You Sleep

sunset photo with the words "mindfulness for relaxation and sleep" written on it

Do you often lie awake at night worrying about relationships, money, school or work, your health, family or friends?

Perhaps you feel stressed about having insomnia, and just thinking about sleep annoyingly turns into the very reason you can’t sleep!

If this sounds familiar, doing mindfulness exercises might help calm your mind. And by reducing how much you ruminate at night, hopefully you’ll relax and fall asleep a little easier.

My personal experience of mindfulness has been very positive. I practice the techniques daily, and have found a significant reduction in my stress levels over the years.

Even on particularly stressful days (which I still have), I can usually stop myself from lying awake for hours with a simple breathing exercise that gets me out of my head and focusing on the rhythm of my body instead.

In this article, I’ll explain what mindfulness is and how it works. I’ll also give you some step-by-step instructions for techniques you can try right now. And then suggest where you can find out more, including some good free resources.


I’ll first cover the principles of mindfulness, but you can skip ahead to later sections if you prefer:

What is mindfulness?

The aim of mindfulness is to take charge of your busy mind, and move it from worrying into a more relaxed state.

A calmer state of mind should help you fall asleep easier. But mindfulness has a wider range of benefits – not just better sleep.

10 benefits of mindfulness infographic

The key is to focus your attention on the present moment. Bring your mind into awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

You can then manage your worries better, rather than allowing them to spiral out of control.

So, for example, you might be lying awake worrying about financial problems. The idea is to become aware of the unhelpful thoughts you’re having, and then allow them to pass.

I know it might seem like a case of “easier said than done!”. But there are some special techniques to help you handle your worries.

The principles of mindfulness

The brain in ‘doing’ mode

image representing the brain thinking

The brain is excellent at task-based problems. For example, when an engineer is solving a technical problem or a hairdresser is deciding how to shape someone’s hair.

This is sometimes called the ‘doing’ mode, in which the brain tries to work out the logical steps required to solve the problem.

It’s also called ‘goal’ based, as you’re trying to achieve a specific outcome.

In the ‘doing’ mode your brain continually searches your memories for previous experiences and knowledge, which it thinks might help you complete the current task.

And it does this without you consciously trying to recall past events. This ‘doing’ mode of the brain is very powerful and essential to everyday life.

When the ‘doing’ mode is unhelpful

A big drawback of the ‘doing’ mode is that the brain also uses it when dealing with emotion-based problems. But problems involving a lot of emotion usually can’t be fixed in the same way.

For example, if you’re worrying about tomorrow’s job interview, your brain will default to the ‘doing’ mode.

It might try to recall your past interviews or similar situations. It’s trying to help you solve the problem by presenting previous examples for you to consider.

But in this case, it can’t really solve the problem of ensuring your interview goes well. And by presenting examples of unsuccessful, nerve-wracking interviews could make you more worried.

That can then lead to you asking broader questions like “why can’t I do well in interviews”. And so the worry train picks up steam.

In other situations, this ruminating can lead to questions like:

  • Why am I always tired or unhappy?
  • Why do my relationships always turn out badly?

These types of emotional issues just don’t lend themselves to an analytically based ‘doing’ approach.

Put your brain in the ‘being’ mode

live in the moment

Mindfulness takes a different approach by suggesting that there’s an alternative ‘being’ mode for your brain.

It teaches you how to develop this ‘being’ approach when faced with thoughts that worry you.

The first hurdle is to recognize that thoughts are only thoughts. And they aren’t always good predictors of the future.

In essence, you have to learn to live in the present, not the past or future.

That might sound like a bit of a spiritual cliché to some people, but it’s one of the core principles of mindfulness.

So how do you live in the moment?

In the ‘being’ mode you aim to take much more notice of your body and of your surroundings.

You might still have the same thoughts swirling around your mind. But rather than focusing on them, you learn to acknowledge them in a compassionate way. And recognize that they are just thoughts.

One approach is to try to see your thoughts as passing clouds – white ones for good thoughts, grey ones for worrying thoughts.

You’re still aware of them and acknowledge them. It’s almost as if you’re an observer noting the thoughts, but not acting on them.

photo of passing white and grey clouds

You aren’t trying to stop these thoughts, and probably couldn’t even if you tried. You don’t need to get upset, disappointed, or even angry that you’re having them. The idea is to view them in a different way.

And by doing so, you can prevent the downward spiral of increasing worry, anxiety, and stress keeping you awake at night.

It can take some time and patience to really feel the difference. Don’t let that stop you though: the rewards are worth the effort, and many people will see some benefits right from the start.

How to do mindfulness meditation

be present in the moment

There are different approaches to using mindfulness to help you sleep. And there are two key elements:

  • Acknowledge the thoughts buzzing around your brain in a compassionate or positive way.
  • Shift into the ‘being’ mode, by doing meditation exercises.

The meditation exercises help to get your brain to focus on your inner self, to slow it down and relax.

And to do this there are two traditional meditation techniques, both of which you can do before or whilst in bed.

1. Breathing awareness exercise

calm sign saying 'breathe'
  • Lie on your back with your arms relaxed by your sides. Take a moment to get comfortable, knees up or down as you please.
  • Bring your awareness to your breathing.
  • There’s no right way to breathe. Just relax and breathe normally.
  • Try to imagine the air is coming from far away, and you blow it out to a distant place.
  • You might also say the words ‘in’ and ‘out’ in your mind to match your breathing. Or perhaps think of the word ‘relax’ with each exhale.
  • Concentrate on your chest rising and falling – can you feel it? Can you taste or smell the air as you breathe in? Is it cool or warm?
  • Your mind will probably wander at some point, and thoughts may arise.
  • Don’t worry if you have thoughts. Acknowledge them, and then gently bring your focus back to your breathing.
  • As you continue breathing, feel your body gently sink into your mattress little by little.

You can do this breathing exercise any time you feel the need to during the day. Just 5 minutes can help, but you might like to build up to 20 minutes eventually.

And if you do it in bed, you can either do if it for a few minutes or until you feel too sleepy to continue.

2. Body scan relaxation exercise

woman lying down and relaxing

The body scan technique relies on getting your mind to focus on different parts of your body.

There are different methods, and one that I’ve found effective is to imagine taking your mind on a journey around your body.

  • Lie down and get yourself comfortable.
  • Imagine your mind leaving your head, and travelling through your body to one of your feet.
  • How does your foot feel? Is it relaxed, tense or sore? Is it hot or cold?
  • Don’t make any judgments on how it feels – simply scan and observe how you feel.
  • Imagine your toe and foot muscles tightening, and relaxing again.
  • Then take your mind up to your calf, knee and thigh.
  • Stop in each body part to repeat the scanning, muscle tensing and relaxing.
  • Repeat the exercise with your other leg.
  • Move to a hand and work your way up both arms.
  • Scan, tense and relax your back, stomach, chest, shoulders and face.
  • You can either imagine your muscles tensing and relaxing, or physically tense and relax them – do what feels best.
  • You’ll know it’s starting to work when your limbs begin to feel heavy and you’re happy to sink comfortably into your mattress.
  • You might find your mind wanders at times. Acknowledge any thoughts that arise in a positive way, but bring your mind gently back to the exercise.

I find that combining the above two exercises when I go to bed can be even better – try doing one followed by the other.

You might also like to listen to the relaxation podcast by Professor Colin Espie from the University of Oxford. With a calming voice, he talks you through a simple muscle relaxation exercise step by step.

Evidence that mindfulness works

There’s increasing evidence for the many benefits of mindfulness, as well as specifically for sleep problems.

In 2014, researchers from U.S. Universities reported on an eight-week trial involving 54 adults with chronic insomnia.

People taking part underwent Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-based Therapy for Insomnia, or a self-monitoring regime.

The researchers found that both of the mindfulness programs were more effective than the self-monitoring routine. They concluded that:

Mindfulness meditation appears to be a viable treatment option for adults with chronic insomnia and could provide an alternative to traditional treatments for insomnia.

And in 2016, a team of researchers reviewed all the studies of mindfulness and sleep done between 2012 and 2016. And they came to a positive conclusion:

The studies reviewed found significant impacts of MBIs (Mindfulness Based Interventions) on insomnia and sleep disturbance, and these effects were especially strong in studies primarily aimed at improving sleep.

An interesting article in the Harvard Gazette in 2018 discusses research into mindfulness at length. It’s a long read, but gives a good insight into the work of Gaëlle Desbordes, a neuroscientist who has shown through functional magnetic resonance imaging (brain scans) that meditation has a direct effect on the brain.

Recommended mindfulness Apps, books, courses and therapy

This article is only a brief introduction to mindfulness. If you want to learn more, there are different options to suit your budget and learning style.

A) Apps

There are numerous mindfulness Apps. Most of them have a free introduction series of sessions. But some then ask you to subscribe for a small monthly fee to continue.

Two that I’ve used are:


  • Very highly rated and won a best App prize in 2017.
  • Comprehensive once you find your way around.
  • The initial 7 day series on sleep has to be followed in sequence, but provides a good grounding in mindfulness.

Take a Break

  • One of the top rated mindfulness and meditation Apps by customers.
  • Easy to use and listen to.
  • Gives you a range of options with different relaxing background sounds and play lengths.
  • You can also adjust the sound for both the background and voice.

B) Books

mindfulness book

Like the Apps, there are many self-help books that teach you mindfulness. One I personally recommend is “Mindfulness: a practical guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.

The book is much broader than just using mindfulness for sleep and explains the principles clearly.

It comes with audio guided meditations, which I still sometimes use. You can find it, and other mindfulness books, online or in bookstores.

C) Online courses

There are a number of organizations that offer online courses. Many of them are based on general mindfulness principles and not just about sleep. Most charge for their courses.

If you’re interested, you might want to look at those from organizations that also specialize in research into mindfulness, for example:

D) Therapy courses

If you or your doctor feel you would benefit from undertaking a dedicated therapy course, you might be able to find an organization offering a mindfulness therapy program.

These are often quite expensive, so you need to be sure that it’s right for you.

If you have serious and ongoing sleep problems, ask your doctor if you can get help through your health insurance or national health service, depending on your country.

The therapy approach to sleep problems, rather than sleeping pills, is gaining increasing credibility with the medical professionals.

And in May 2016, the American College of Physicians issued guidance about the use of cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of insomnia.

Based on reviewing relevant reports and research from the last 11 years, they recommended that:

All adult patients receive cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia as the initial treatment for chronic insomnia disorder.

E) Group courses

Such is the growing popularity of mindfulness, that in many major cities and towns you can often find group courses.

I know people who’ve attended an eight week course in London, San Francisco, Madrid and Sevilla.

As well as helping them deal with stress or sleep problems, they all reported enjoying the courses and making new friends along the way.

So it might be worth checking online if your local area has a mindfulness group class you can attend.

F) Short online mindfulness exercises

As the popularity of mindfulness grows, so does the number of websites that have free guided meditations. This is a good stepping stone if you want to learn more and try some exercises, but perhaps don’t want to embark on an entire course yet.

If you search on Youtube, you’ll find many different ones. However, one source that I personally like is the Harvard University Wellness website, where they have several guided meditations that are short and well made.

Taking a holistic approach

sleeping woman

Mindfulness is most effective if used as part of a wider attempt to improve your sleep. So it’s also important to take positive steps, such as ensuring you have the best lifestyle to help you sleep.

So I also recommend my articles about good sleep habits. You’ll find advice about important factors such as food and drink, use of technology, maintaining a good sleep schedule, and creating the right bedroom environment.

Your views

I’d love to hear your thoughts about mindfulness. Have you tried it before, or do you think it’s something you’d be willing to try?

Feel free to share your thoughts and experience in the comments below.


  1. This article is usefully for others. I am doing this mindfulness meditation and I get focusing on your present through mindfulness. It’s very helpful for me because this helps to get stress out my mind and getting goals. The benefits of mindfulness meditation are that it brings your awareness to your breathing, it helps me to breathe.

    • Hi
      Thanks for your comment, and glad both the article and mindfulness practice are positive for you.

  2. Hi Ethan!

    As a 32 year old, I have kids who are in second, fifth, and seventh grade. They often come home asking for help with homework or projects. It stresses me out. I’m willing to help them, but not if they won’t participate. It can end up taking hours just to help one of them. Most nights we end up having microwaveable dinners while there’s perfectly good, fresh food in the fridge no one had time to cook. I first got into mindfulness when my oldest daughter entered fifth grade. That was when grades, looks, and friends suddenly became important. I, at first, was simply looking for an easy way to fall asleep at night. Then my husband found your website. “Lucy!” he yelled, “comere!” As I was helping Lanie, middle child, with her work, I yelled back, “After dinner!” So, finally, it’s the time of day where everyone is settled. I don’t bother putting the oldest to bed. I know she’ll get right back on her phone anyways. As for Lanie and Margo (youngest), I kiss them good-night and tuck them in. I stumble back downstairs and change into my P.J.s “Aah!” I exclaim, settling into bed. “now, what did you need me for earlier, honey?” My husband says, “Oh, I just found a website you might like.” I read it. It was this website. Then I got into mindfulness. And soon enough, my stressful, busy mornings full of “hurry ups” and “come eat your cereals” and “come on we’re gonna be lates” became slightly less stressful. Over time, I saw a drastic change. I went from a frizzy-haired, baggy-eyed, always-tired 32 Y.O. to a clean, neat, well-kept, well-rested 33 Y.O. I am exceptionally happy with my life and my kids. They all learned their lesson about responsibility, helpfulness and dependability. And really, I have you to thank for it.

    Best wishes.

    • Hi Lucy
      As a blogger, I think the best gift I’ll receive this holiday will be your comment! And it’s not that I won’t receive anything else, in case you’re wondering!
      Honestly, it’s moments like this, sitting in front of my computer with a coffee in the morning as usual, that makes it all worthwhile. Sure, it’s my job and I receive money for writing. But knowing that an article has had such a positive effect makes me really happy.

      That said, I’m sure at some point you would have found another catalyst for getting into some form of stress techniques, and I just happened to be second, with your husband really the one that deserves the credit!

      Once again, thank you for taking the time to leave this comment and make my December. I hope the new well-rested you is a permanent and happy change.
      Best wishes

  3. I just came across your web site and appreciate all the comments and replies you have made. I am 96 years old and in reasonable good health, but have had trouble going to sleep ever since I had lengthy radiation treatment for prostate cancer which produced nocturnal incontinence. I need to go to the bathroom several times each night which means I need to go back to sleep again. I have tried mindfulness focusing on my breath for a number of months and found it helps, but have trouble concentrating enough to get back to sleep. Do I keep practicing during the day on excluding extraneous thoughts to get to better focus? My mind always drifts to other tasks that I want to do. Should I add progressive muscular relaxation? I had tried it before and had trouble following through with it . I appreciate your time in helping people sleep better.

    • Hi Cecil
      Thank you for your comment and kind words. Sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis. I also had cancer 7 years ago – it’s a tough journey.
      It’s great that you’ve found mindfulness – it was also around about the time I was ill that I also first really got into it.
      I think it’s good to practice it either when you feel the need, or as a regular activity – there’s no rule really. Whatever works best for you!
      In terms of waking in the night, I think it’s important not to stress about it. Waking up and then feeling anxious that you can’t go back to sleep is in itself likely to keep you awake. So if you can try not to worry about it, just relax in bed and wait for sleep to come again, that’s a good thing. If you have trouble with incontinence, perhaps muscle relaxation isn’t the best option – you could ask your doctor about that one. Personally, I’d just stick with mental relaxation and breathing exercises.

  4. Hi,

    I have awful sleep anxiety, worry about not sleeping, self fulfilling prophecy.

    I’m so relieved to know I’m not alone, most blogs are years old so no use really.

    I’d love to ‘buddy’ up for support and advice.

    Thank you Ethan for this site, it’s a blessing.

    • Hi Karen
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m happy to hear you like the site. Yes, anxiety and worry about sleeping can be so stressful – a self-fulfilling prophecy is a good way to describe the vicious circle that can occur.
      You’re definitely not alone in this – I used to have the same problem, though thankfully it’s much better now.
      I’m not sure how to help with the buddying up idea though. It’s not something we really offer here. But you’re welcome to keep writing here, and I’ll keep replying:-)

  5. Hi there! First of all, I’d like to say thank you to Ethan for this article (and website). I’ve been struggling with insomnia for the last month, and no OTC/prescription remedies are helping. I think what bothers me the most is I know exactly what is triggering my sleeplessness – work and anxiety. About a month ago, I found out my boss was leaving and will not be replaced. So a lot is falling on me now. It’s been exhausting and my anxiety has been through the roof. So the onset of insomnia with everything else going on is killing me. I’m really hopeful that mindfulness exercises will help me to regain some of this control that I feel like I’ve lost. I’ve always had occasional bouts of insomnia, but nothing this extreme. Thanks for giving me hope!

    • Hi Shannon
      Thanks for your comment. I’m happy to hear you found the article and site useful! Sorry to hear you’re under so much stress at the moment with your boss leaving and the extra work. I can totally understand how that would affect your sleep.
      I think this is the kind of situation that mindfulness can really help with. As well as trying the basic exercises in the article, if you find them useful, I’d definitely recommend exploring it in more depth with a course, book or even some of the good Apps you can listen to on your phone these days.

  6. I had chronic insomnia for a year, came off amitriptyline as had degenerative disc disease, the pain is ok now but sleep just won’t come – tried all kinds.

  7. Hi Ethan,

    Let’s say the sleeplessness and the worry about sleepless nights has been on and off for about a month now; if I continue to focus on mindful techniques at night, non-judgement, loving kindness, positive reframing, etc.; and still haven’t gotten back to “normal,” is it just a matter of time…or am I doing something wrong?


    • Hi KT
      Thanks for your comment. As you’ll know from mindfulness, it’s not about doing something right or wrong! However, if it’s not helping you stop being anxious about sleep or sleep better, then I can see why you’d question it. The thing is, even though mindfulness can be useful, it’s not a guaranteed ‘cure’ for everyone’s sleep problems. I’d say stick with it, but also explore other reason that you might be sleeping badly.

  8. @Chandra Shekhar: I am in exactly the same situation, about 3 months now. The underlying issue was cured, but insomnia stayed. I think we both are in the state of hyperarousal, which prevents the brain from relaxing. Have you found a cure? If yes, what did you do?

  9. Hi Ethan, found your website very useful and assuring. My insomnia started as gastro acid reflux some two months back and now the cause is cured but insomnia remains! I do all of the breathing exercises and mindfulness tricks and they are helpful but still there are nights when even though there is no anxiety or running thoughts, still I can’t sleep! I don’t feel tired next day though, curtsey the meditations you shared, but not sure how long would it continue. Earlier I could sleep any where any time but now, struggle to get an average sleep! I hope this would pass soon, but when, don’t know. I don’t want to take allopathy medicines as every doctor gave me antibiotics depression, anti anxiety and sleep pill. The sleeping pill made me feel confused next
    day! Would I ever get back those old days! Can I try to sleep 1-2 hours in the day to compensate the night loss? Any idea, how long would it take through the mediation route, to recover?
    Please suggest.
    Chandra Shekhar

    • Hi Chandra
      Thanks for your comment. I’m sure you’ll get back to sleeping well in time. Sometimes we can completely miss the reason we’re not sleeping well if we’re thinking about a different possible cause. So maybe in your case, you’re missing a different cause because you’re thinking so much about anxiety etc. I’d recommend having a look at my articles about sleep hygiene, and see if there’s anything in there that you are or aren’t doing. You might find the current sleep problems are caused by something you hadn’t thought about!

  10. I have insomnia for more than a month now due to awareness of my consciousness/sleep that is preventing me from falling asleep. I have difficulty to let go to sleep because of my own mind. When I try to really focus on restricting myself from thinking of sleep, I tend to also stop breathing unintentionally. To the point that I also developed fear of my breathing(think that Im controlling it and feels short of breath). I think i was better off not thinking about breathing because im afraid that what if I cant drifft off to sleep when I think about breathing? What if I forget to breath when I sleep which I know is impossible? What can I do to stop myself from having these fears of sleeping and breathing?

    • Hi Chacha
      Thanks for your comment. Well, it sounds like you’ve got yourself into a classic vicious cycle of worrying about sleep being the thing that stops you sleeping!
      The first thing to say is that there’s no way you can forget to breathe when sleeping. That’s just not going to happen, so try to put that thought out of your mind.
      Second, if you’re lying in bed worrying about your breathing or sleep, perhaps try a different exercises to take your mind of it. You could try progressive muscle relaxation for example, or a guided meditation. And even just listening to relaxing music or the radio might help you to stop focusing so much on your breathing and sleep.

  11. Hello sir, my name is James and I’ve been surfing from anxiety for a couple months now. I just had a question. You say to allow thoughts to come in and not judge them and to look at them with compassion, but what if the thoughts bring fear, like a thought about not being able to feel like my old self again? Or how would I use mindfulness for sleep if sleep is something I dread or fear? Thank you.

    • Hi James
      Thanks for your comment. It doesn’t matter if the thought is positive or negative. The idea is not to allow yourself to feel bad that you’re having thoughts at all. Many people think meditation should be about having a totally empty mind. But actually, it’s normal in this kind of practice to have thoughts. The idea is to not get stuck on that thought by worrying about it. So just allow it to drift in and out of your mind, even if it’s a potentially scary thought.
      As for the sleep question, why is it that you fear sleep? And you can still do the same thing – even if you start having thoughts about being scared to go to sleep, try not to dwell on them or get upset that you’re having them. Allow them to come if they do, and gently let them go again.

    • Hi James, I suffer a very similar fear , I’ve been advised to focus on feeling safe acknowledge that you are at home, in your room in your bed, you are warm, comfortable etc etc it can help nudge the fear away a little, don’t worry about being your old self, I know what you mean but be your best (or worst!) new self and be kind to you, best wishes and sweet dreams to you!

  12. I’ve used the breathing technique for some weeks now to help with sleep. At 71 my bladder is more urgent than it used to be, but, since using the technique, I can now sleep through the night without having to get up to the toilet. I do “surface” from sleep at intervals, but by returning to the breath, I go back to sleep again.

    • Hi Derry
      Thanks for your comment. It’s great that mindfulness techniques have helped you to sleep better. And it’s fascinating to hear that you feel it’s helped with your bladder. I’ve never heard of that effect before! I also think it’s good to remember to repeat techniques like this if you wake up in the night. It can definitely help to prevent anxiety that you’re not asleep.

  13. In 2006 I was in a car accident, injuries included a C1 Jefferson fracture, mild TBI which, through testing includes a working memory disorder, depression, chronic pain, anosmia and other issues. A significant problem that was never properly addressed was and is a severe sleep disorder. Before my accident I was an average sleeper, 8 hours was great, I could function on 6-7. Since the accident I need approx 14 -16 hours every night.
    A sleep study in Jan 2010 revealed that I had “very severe fragmentation” only entered Stage 1 and 2 sleep with no REM sleep waking 17.5 times an hour. I started taking sleeping pills to help “put me into a deeper sleep” and stimulant medication to “keep me awake” during the day. While I “believed” this medication was helping me, I continued to feel exhausted. In June 2014 I went to another sleep clinic and was surprised to learn that the EEG showed no significant changes to the first study.. EVEN THOUGH THE STUDY WAS DONE WHILE I WAS ON MY MEDICATION. Once again I had no stage 3 or REM sleep, severe initial and maintenance insomnia.

    Still on a tackle box of meds, and having tried almost every type of treatment, (massage, chiro, physic etc) in Jan 2010 I came across a 13 week MBSR chronic pain mindfulness program modelled after John Kabat-Zinn’s course. Over the years I completed about 8 of these courses (higher levels), also in 2011 I started attending silent retreats, and have been attending on average 3-4 per year varying in length from 4-9 days. I have a home based practice, am affiliated with a number of Sanghas and a bhikkhuni Hermitage, do a home study program, have audited an MBSR teacher training program, read, study and attend lectures when I can. I recently completed the 31 days of Mindfulness and The Science of Happiness put on by Berkeley edX.
    When I practice meditation and mindfulness I “feel” more rested and am more productive. In fact I believe I get better restorative rest when I meditate than when I “sleep”. I am not a scientist, I was a personal injury lawyer before my accident – no doctor has been able to give me any answers or assistance. My EEG shows continuous waking, even with the sleep medication. My belief is that when I meditate, my brain waves may be mimicking the deeper stage 3 sleep patterns needed for my body to heal. In essence when I meditate I am tricking my brain into believing that it is going into “sleep mode” which then triggers the sleep mechanisms of my brain. If that is “in fact” the case, I may consider giving up sleep and opting for a 3 hour meditation instead. Do you have any information or advise on this? I am still exhausted…. mindfully yours, mindfulme

    • Hi mindfulme

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your interesting, though clearly difficult, story. It’s always fascinating to hear from readers who have had such an intense and deep experience with sleep disorders or forms of treatment / self-help.

      To get to your question, unfortunately I don’t have any information about the merits of trying to entirely replace sleep with meditation. To be honest, with the depth of study you’ve invested in mindfulness, I imagine you will have come across more articles or information about what you can really do with it than I have!

      Have you spoken to any of the authors of the books or courses you mention for their advice? I’d be interested to know what they have to say.

      My personal feelings would be that it’s not wise to abandon sleep altogether. Even if you’re not entering the more restorative stages of sleep, I think it’s still good to try to adhere to a daily pattern of going to sleep. Even if for you that means less of it, and not the same quality as most people. I think that psychologically it’s important to have that routine. I can’t imagine that doing 3 hours meditation a day on an on-going basis would be sustainable. What about doing a combination of both? Try to get some sleep, or as much as you can, and then also do meditation to top up what you might be missing. Do you think that could work?


  14. I suffer from depression and sometimes, when it’s bad, I lie awake and can’t sleep for hours…I’m not even worrying, I’m just staring into space…It’s exhausting.

    • Hi Rosa,

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear you suffer from depression and that it affects your sleep in such a way. I think you still might find mindfulness helpful, even if you’re not worrying. Give it a go!

  15. It is harder right now. I’m a classic example of being unemployed and that creates a lot of stress. To counter the stress, I’m taking time to do things that alleviate the stress. Long walks with the dog help. So did the rainbow a couple of nights ago. (I took it as a sign of hope). I’ve got more time to spend with my family. These things aren’t eliminating the situation we’re in, but they help create a balance.

    • Hi Popova
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear things are difficult right now for you and your family. It’s great that you have recognised that you’re under a lot of stress, and that you’re trying to do something about it. Going for long walks helps me too I find. In fact, I sometimes listen to mindfulness meditation tracks with headphones when I’m walking. They help me to stop ruminating about problems, but instead focus on the things I’m seeing, smelling, feeling etc on the walk.
      I hope things improve for you soon and that the hope the rainbow brought you transforms into good things.

  16. I have found your website very useful. I am about to begin seeing a therapist regarding my tinnitus and she has mentioned the use of mindfulness in her sessions.
    I am currently very impressed with Kalms and have started to use their day pills for anxiety, but early days!
    Just one note on Kirkland Sleep aid. Wow, they really knock you out but I must admit I felt terrible the next day, low mood and physically unable to do anything,so won’t be using them again.

    • Hi Ian,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m very pleased you found the website useful – thank your for saying so.
      It’s also good to hear from someone who is thinking of trying mindfulness. I also have tinnitus, and as you know, it’s often worse at night when you’re in a silent room and you become aware of it. I think mindfulness would be helpful for both taking your attention away from it, and also not worrying about the fact that it’s there. So I believe your therapist is right about it.
      Thanks for the notes about the sleep aids. I’m glad you found the kalms helpful, and yes kirkland is one of the stronger over the counter sleep aids I reviewed in another article. As with all sleep aids though, they won’t agree with everyone unfortunately.
      All the best

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