From Frustration to Calm: How Mindfulness Transformed My Sleep

By Sandy Priester.
I have always been a light sleeper. Our sleep has normal cycles of deep and shallow sleep, and I tend to wake up and stay awake during the later cycles of the night. There have been many times when I toss and turn for hours trying to get back to sleep.

A few years ago I started practicing mindfulness, and instead of being frustrated and annoyed at my wakefulness, I would observe it with curiosity.  I would notice my thoughts and accept that there was probably a reason why I was awake. Regardless of how much sleep I had, I knew that I would still be fine the next day and could take a nap if needed. 

Now instead of frustration, when I wake at night, I generally stay calm and aware, and I allow thoughts to come and go without too much importance. This change has increased my intuition, with some of my best ideas and perceptions coming to me during the night. In addition, since I am not fighting myself, I fall back asleep much sooner.

Mindfulness is a powerful practice that can be used in any stress-provoking situation, including dealing with an illness like cancer. There have been over a thousand research studies backing its effectiveness. A 2021 meta-analysis of mindfulness studies, published in the British Medical Bulletin reports the following about MBIs (mindfulness-based interventions):

“MBIs are effective for improving many conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, addiction, psychosis, pain, hypertension, weight control, cancer-related symptoms, and prosocial behaviours.”

If you have been struggling with sleep or are looking for new ways to combat stress or an overworked mind, I highly recommend mindfulness practices. 

My colleague Jill Disser, a breast cancer survivor and Certified Meditation Facilitator offers free mindfulness meditations every Thursday at 8 pm (MDT). During these sessions, she guides participants through meditations addressing various topics related to anxiety. The sessions are open to anyone and free of charge.

To participate, simply sign up through this MEETUP LINK. It will ask you to create a log-in. Then you can join the live meditation.

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