Insomnia No More: Reclaiming Your Nights with Mindfulness

In the era where a smartphone can perform a myriad of tasks, from making video calls to scheduling appointments and monitoring your home in real-time, it's surprising that there's still a struggle to find effective solutions for insomnia. However, mindfulness for insomnia is gaining popularity as a mainstream therapy and is a potential remedy that is free, convenient, and can be practiced by virtually anyone, anywhere. But first, let's understand the clinical definition of insomnia.

What does Insomnia mean?

As defined by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), insomnia is diagnosed when 1) a person struggles to fall asleep, stay asleep, or experiences non-restorative sleep, 2) the sleep difficulty persists despite adequate opportunity or circumstance, 3) the sleep impairment leads to daytime impairment or distress, and 4) the sleep difficulty occurs at least three times a week for at least one month.

Insomnia could mean difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing poor quality sleep that doesn't allow the body to rest and rejuvenate. However, being woken up by dogs barking or taking care of a baby multiple times during the night does not qualify as insomnia. Similarly, consuming excessive caffeine during the day and then having trouble falling asleep is not considered insomnia. If your sleep pattern continues to be disturbed even after returning to a normal routine, that's when you can say you're dealing with insomnia.

Life's routine interruptions, stress from multiple sources, health issues causing chronic pain, anxiety and depression can all lead to sleepless nights. The reasons are countless. However, a possible solution could be as simple as learning and practicing mindfulness for insomnia.

Mindfulness is a technique that helps create an environment where we are present in the moment, accepting what's happening, and understanding that it will pass. It helps us control our focus better. So instead of allowing your mind to wander and worry about stressful situations or anxieties, you can shift your thoughts to a focal point, relax, and breathe your way into a deep, restful sleep.

Mindfulness Exercise to Overcome Insomnia

The following mindfulness exercise for insomnia is straightforward and should be practiced for at least 20 minutes unless you fall asleep sooner.

1) Choose a focal point: Find something calming to focus on. It could be your breath, a word, or a phrase, like a mantra. Examples include “Relax,” “Soothing,” or “Calming breath in, tension breath out.” Repeat them as you breathe in and out rhythmically, which is a simple form of meditation.

2) Get comfortable: The goal is to relax. Choose a comfortable spot to do your exercises. If it's bedtime, do them in your bed. Dim or turn off the lights and keep all devices out of reach. Don't worry about doing everything perfectly. If your thoughts start to wander, gently bring them back to your breath and focal point.

3) Let go: If you find your mind filled with stress or any part of your body feeling tense, visualise the tension leaving your body with every exhalation. Allow yourself to be present in the moment, without judgment, and control your thoughts. Keep your focal point at the center of your attention throughout the exercise. If your mind drifts, don't chastise yourself. Simply bring your focus back and continue breathing.

Mindfulness for insomnia might not provide immediate results and may require some practice. But over time, it will improve your sleep hygiene and thus, your daytime hours. Give it a try, as you have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

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© 2027 Coach Luke