Mindful Monday – Mindful Breathing and Mindful Sleep

Welcome to Mindful Monday! I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to. Each week I try to self-discover new things about myself. This week I want to talk about mindful breathing and how it can lead to mindful sleep.

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? A couple of years ago I realized that if I laid in bed and watched television before I went to sleep, I did not sleep well. I tossed and turned and felt like my mind was over stimulated. Over the counter sleep remedies did not help, they just made it worse. Finally, I turned off the television. I read a book instead and found that my sleep patterns were much more regular. In no time at all, I was feeling better and performed better at work and home.

There is concrete evidence to support the fact that the light emitted from electronic devices does interfere with sleep patterns. Heather Hatfield, of WEBMD magazine, has written an article called, “Power Down for Better Sleep.”

Hatfield reports, “As your brain revs up, its electrical activity increases and neurons start to race — the exact opposite of what should be happening before sleep. A second reason has to do with your body: The physical act of responding to a video game or even an email makes your body tense, explains Rosekind. As you get stressed, your body can go into a “fight or flight” response, and as a result, cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland, is released, creating a situation hardly conducive to sleep.”

Interestingly, I have found that I can read a Kindle at night without experiencing any of the sleep issues I had while watching television. I believe it has to do with the extremely low light that is emitted from my device. I also think it has to do with the act of reading itself. I am not a medical expert, so make sure to talk to your doctor if you are having sleep issues.

I have found another routine that works for me in the falling asleep department. That is mindful breathing. Through practice, I have been able to control my breathing patterns to help my body relax just by concentrating on my breathing. I slow down my heart rate this way too. Never underestimate the power you have over your own body.

The Buddhist Center has an excellent tutorial to help you learn how to do mindful breathing if you are interested in that aspect. In addition, I also found information on the 4, 7, 8, Breathing Technique that Dr. Weil teaches.

“Dr. Weil recommends three breathing exercises to help relax and reduce stress: The Stimulating BreathThe 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise (also called the Relaxing Breath), and Breath Counting. Try each and see how they affect your stress and anxiety levels.” If you visit the link here you will learn how to do the steps. There is a video included for each step to make learning the technique easier.

I do something close to Dr. Weil’s recommendations by slowing down my breathing and counting. I love the cleansing breath and find that helps to lead me into the quietness I need for meditation. It is about controlling your breathing and thoughts. If you can do that you will find great benefit in stress reduction. I actually learned this technique when I was a bookkeeper for an accounting firm during tax season! Believe me, the stress was unbearable and this really helped.

Image credit: Guard Your Health

My mindful goal for this week is to get back into my correct pattern of eating and exercising. I had fun on vacation, although I overstepped my bounds. Now I have to correct my behavior. I am journaling my meals and keeping track of my fluid consumption. My goal is to walk two miles each morning to sweat all the fat out of me. Yes, it’s just a plan. I know if I stick to it I will feel better and become healthy again. Moral of Vacation – Don’t cheat!

Remember, this is not a challenge.  This is an offering of support.  If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making.  If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so, however, it is not necessary.  My main objective here is to give and get support to become more mindful of the things I take for granted in my life.

Thank you for all the fabulous blog posts I am seeing in our WordPress community about mindfulness. It is a joy to see so many of you sharing your mindful goals. Thank you for enriching my life with your experiences, and thank you so much for joining me in my pursuit of becoming more mindful.

In fact, I would like to have Mindful Monday guest posts appear on Silver Threading on the first Monday of each month. Your post submission would have to talk about mindfulness and how it affects you and your family. I would need your submission a week before publication. If you are interested, please email me at silverthreading@gmail.com. Thanks!

 

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57 comments

        1. I think part of it is because we have creative minds. I had the most vivid dream this morning. I could see colors and name the places in the dream. Quite haunting. Getting older is part of that I guess, Mark. The breathing really does help with the relaxation though.

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      1. You are looking for participants… 😉 ? Actually yes! I always feel honored to be asked writing guest posts. But I will have to postpone it to next week. This week is crazy. Would you “mind” (hehe) that? Is there a specific topic you would like me to write about? It would help me a little.

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        1. Fabulous Erika! I was hoping for a guest post on June 1st, the first Monday of the month. I thought it would be nice to feature a different guest the first Monday of each month. Would that work for you? All you have to do is talk about “mindfulness” and how it works for you and/or your family. You pick the topic. It just has to feature something you are mindful of… ❤

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          1. Erika, I would love that! Mindfulness is meant to be shared with everyone. The more points of view we get the better it is for ideas for everyone! Thank you. When you are finished with your article, just email me at silverthreading@gmail.com. I will set it up and have it post on June 1st. Would it be reasonable for you to get the article to me by May 30th? That would give you 12 days. Thank you again! I can’t wait to see what you write about. ❤ 😀

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I will make it an effort and write it on Sunday or Monday! I really want to take my time for it. I appreciate it so much, Colleen 😀 thank you!

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  1. I would add that not eating anything for three hours before going to bed also helps and aids sleep, Colleen. Stick to drinking water for these three hours as well, but not too much as otherwise you’ll have to get up during the night to pay a visit to the bathroom.

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    1. I agree Hugh. I have taken to eating a smoothie every other night for my dinner. On the opposite days, I have a bowl of veggie soup. (I also read that we should eat no more than 4 oz. of meat at any one meal. Our bodies cannot digest more than that and just stores anything over that as fat). That has really helped me. I try to eat no later than 5:30. That has helped immensely too. I can’t get away from my nightly cup of tea though. That is so satisfying and relaxing.

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      1. We tend to eat meat only three times a week, fish the other two, and then veggie the remaining two.

        Surprised the cup of tea does not stop you from getting to sleep, because of the caffeine it contains. I usually have my last cup of tea around 4pm (in fact just finished one). I can’t get on with the decaffeinated type.

        I also find that certain foods, such as cheese, give me nightmares. Real shame as I love the stuff.

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        1. Isn’t it funny how foods we ate all our lives now are giving us issues as we get older? I would never have thought that when I was younger. My thyroid issues affect me deeply and influence so much now. The one cup of tea is fine. I have it about 6 PM. Depending upon how much I read I have a good couple of hours before I go to sleep so that seems to work. I would love to have more than one cup. I love my British tea! Those days are long gone. 😀

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. I thought it was interesting the more I read about it. My grandchildren would go to sleep watching t.v. and had a hard time the next day waking up. I think that was part of their crabbiness the next day. I guess it interferes with our receptors and gets us anxious.

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  2. I guess I see this content somewhere on my new feed in Facebook but it is unclear. This post really clarify about sleeping tip. You save my life. Thank you. P.S. Tty breathing out longer and watchfully than breathing in to sleep well.

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  3. I have never had a TV in my bedroom. BUT, I do stare at my computer screen late at night before I go to bed and that can be just as sleep-robbing. I read my Kindle right before bed and seem to fall asleep easily. Excellent post and thanks for the info, Colleen!

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  4. Hello Colleen! Happy Monday! I can relate to what you wrote about watching TV before going to bed. I had a similar problem. I thought watching a movie or series before going to bed would relax me, but instead, I would spent the night twisting and turning, restless and feeling hyper. Like you, I stopped watching TV and began reading at night and I sleep much better now. I’ve also found that eating dinner early also helps. I loved your line, ‘Never underestimate the power you have over your own body’, this is so true.

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    1. Thanks, Vashti. Happy Monday! I hope it is a good one for you. It is funny how little tweaks can make a difference in your life. I am always amazed at how easy some of these changes are if you just think about what is good for your own body. ❤

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    1. Mindfulness is kind of common sense if you take the time to think about things. Yes, the guest posts are so that others can share their journey with us. I learn from everyone else too. You should think about writing a post for me for July Olga. ❤

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  5. Ahhhh…how I love Mondays now! I swear your Mindful Mondays posts really do make me look forward to Monday mornings and finding your post in my Reader!
    This one is perfectly timed since I must admit, I’ve got sleep issues as of late…not so much in falling asleep, but in staying asleep. I think it has to do with too much TV/computer/cell phone use right before bed…I agree that the light emitted can keep me awake or make me sleep poorly.
    I must do the breathing exercises…I really have to stay on top of it.
    And PS your idea to do Mindful Monday guest blogs on the first Monday of the month is a fantastic one!
    Have an amazing start to the week!!
    *Lia

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    1. Thank you, Lia! I guess that is how it is with mindfulness. You notice one thing and suddenly you realize there are more things in your life you want to correct. Sleep is so important. I hope the breathing helps you to relax. I know it is hard when you work all day and all you want to do is come home and relax by watching t.v. or reading blogs… 😀 Have a wonderful week my friend. ❤

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  6. Another lovely mindfulness post, Colleen, great tips. I am one who has been known to fall asleep sitting, even standing up, which is a sign of being sleep-deprived, I’m certain. So, I do pay attention to sleep patterns. And if awakened during the night, deep breathing always helps! Thanks again, love your mindful Mondays ! ❤ Van

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  7. Another inspiring post my friend and it inspired to link up to it and do a post on my bedtime visualization, over on dornewhale my inner child.
    Thanks and keep the great posts coming. Loving the branding, by the way, so clever. x

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  8. I used an herbal sleeping pill a couple years ago. It helped me to fall back asleep after one of the children woke me in the night, sometimes before I would lie awake for hours trying. I ordered them from Amazon as I couldn’t always get to the mainland to get. Once I got a question about ingredients list from another Amazon shopper and when I wrote them out for her I was shocked at the unnatural ingredients added (for flavour, as they were sugars). Bizarre as it is just something swallowed not chewed. Anyway, I stopped using them based on principle. I felt deceived. It was not listed on the box or jar, but on the insert with a couple thousand other warnings, etc that always accompany medicines.
    Focusing on breath, like in meditation, has proven itself over and over to be what works for me now. I never remember falling asleep, I just drift off. And it is rare that the children wake me in the night anymore, so I am down for the entire night. Makes a big difference alright.
    Thanks for another wonderful Mindful Monday post!

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    1. You are so welcome Melissa. It is scary all the hidden ingredients they put in our meds and food! Glad the breathing works for you. It is so refreshing to wake up after a good night’s sleep. Thanks Melissa for sharing your experiences. 💖

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      1. I’ve always loved being awake when no one else is – there’s a different feel that’s very conducive to tapping into my deeper self. It always energizes me, and usually leads to deeply creative dreams that feed my next day…

        And I have words and stories and ideas to play with – so really, no downside! =)

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