Mindfulness is a practice that can greatly improve your day to day wellbeing and mental health but it can be hard to master at times. Some days your brain is far too busy and simply doesn’t cooperate.
A new study from the University of South Florida has found a little extra sleep per night can actually increase your capacity for mindfulness the next day. According to mindbodygreen (mbg), researchers found 29 minutes of extra sleep to be enough to make a difference.
In order to explore the link between sleep and the practice of mindfulness, researchers tracked the sleep patterns of 61 nurses — a profession where both optimal sleep and mindful attention is needed — as well as their degree of mindfulness for a period of two weeks.
“One can be awake and alert, but not necessarily mindful. Similarly, one can be tired or in low arousal but still can be mindful,” lead author Soomi Lee, assistant professor of aging studies at USF, said in a press release.
“Mindful attention is beyond being just being awake. It indicates attentional control and self-regulation that facilitates sensitivity and adaptive adjustment to environmental and internal cues, which are essential when providing mindful care to patients and effectively dealing with stressful situations.”
Taking into consideration that mindfulness is hard to track in a study, researchers relied upon self-reported data, which included asking the healthcare workers to answer daily mindfulness and sleepiness questions three times a day for two weeks. This was then compared to the sleep-wake patterns recorded by a smartwatch.
What the researchers discovered was the nurses who had a good night sleep, which according to mbg, was measured by sleep sufficiency, better sleep quality and longer sleep duration of nearly half an hour, were found to have greater mindful attention that day.
Daily mindful attention also contributed to less same-day sleepiness and those with greater mindfulness were also 66% less likely to experience symptoms of insomnia during the two week study period.
Creating a regular practice of mindfulness can feel difficult at first but is priceless for your overall wellbeing. If you’re struggling with mindfulness, an easier way to begin the practice is through daily meditation.