The practice of mindfulness dates back thousands of years to Eastern religion, where mindfulness and meditation have been demonstrated over these millennia to help people live in the present and be present in their own bodies. This state of mindfulness means minimizing drifting thoughts into the mind about the past and the future, where the study and practice of mindful breathing is essential. These practices are especially beneficial for people experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition that causes sleep issues.
Until recently, it was thought that sleep deprivation can only be the cause of mental health conditions over time. Recent research now however shows that it can be the other way around, that mental health conditions can actually cause sleep deprivation, where sleep issues are more prevalent with people who already have mental health issues. Research shows that through the practice of mindfulness, sleep quality can be improved for those who experience sleep disturbance due to mental illness like depression, anxiety, ADHD, and bipolar disorder.
More and more research is showing how mental health conditions can actually impact sleep. Harvard Medical School says that “chronic sleep problems affect 50% to 80% of patients in a typical psychiatric practice, compared with 10% to 18% of adults in the general U.S. population.” According to NAMI, sleep problems can be a sign of an impending illness like bipolar disorder, and certain mental health conditions can be worsened by lack of sleep. NAMI says that more than one half of insomnia cases are related to depression, anxiety, or psychological stress. OCD, PTSD, ADHD, Schizophrenia, as well as substance abuse disorders are also each specifically associated with poor sleep. Both Harvard Medical School and NAMI recommend relaxation techniques, including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation to increase mindfulness. This mindfulness exercises reduce anxiety and help people feel aware and present in their bodies so they can sleep.
There are a number of benefits to such relaxation techniques used to achieve mindfulness that aids sleep. Mindfulness and meditation help in three major ways with regard to sleep problems that can be caused by mental illness:
In combination with the relaxation techniques that NAMI and Harvard Medical School recommends to limit the effects on sleep caused by mental health conditions, consider your overall bedroom environment and how it contributes to mindfulness and serenity. Consider your sleep space as well, where you invest in the right bedding and mattress for you. Once your sleep space and environment are ideal, focus on one or more specific meditation techniques to practice before bed. It may take time for meditation to work, so be patient with yourself and remember that self compassion isn’t selfish!
To learn more about mindfulness and the positive effects it can have on your body, join our Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Group. The group will meet weekly for 9 weeks and include a time of teaching and a time of practicing techniques. There is daily homework that is essential to getting the most out of the group.
Cost: $240 Private Pay
Meets weekly in Fairfield for 9 weeks from 4-6pm
Each group is 2 hours long, There is also an 7 hour session between weeks 5 and 6 for a total of 25 hours
Presenter: Charity Chaney