Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get out of bed when you have something to look forward to that day? Think about it. . . you seem to wake up so effortlessly before a trip to Italy, even if you have to be at the airport at 6 AM on a Monday. According to a new study, there is a reason for this.
Scientists from Northwestern Medicine and Rush University Medical Center concluded that one way to guarantee yourself a good night's sleep is to have a purpose in life. In short, have something worth getting out of bed for.
In the first research of its kind, the scientists found that having a purpose in life results in fewer nighttime disturbances and improved sleep quality. They asked participants to rate their life purpose in addition to answering questions about their sleep. Although the participants in the study were elderly, researchers said the findings are likely to apply to the broader public.
"Helping people cultivate a purpose in life could be an effective drug-free strategy to improve sleep quality, particularly for a population that is facing more insomnia," said senior author Jason Ong, an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Purpose in life is something that can be cultivated and enhanced through mindfulness therapies."
The next step in this research would be to find a connection between mindfulness therapies and improved sleep quality.
What exactly is mindfulness? Well, it is the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us. Practicing mindfulness helps reduce stress and cultivates a calmer persona. Being mindful cognitively changes our ability to see ourselves in the world and find a meaningful purpose.
When you practice mindfulness, you will probably get a better night's sleep because it helps clear your head and calm you down. If you aren't aware of the present moment, your mind will get stuck in maladaptive ways of thinking. For example, obsessing over tomorrow's meeting is not conducive for drifting off to sleep. Deep breaths and simple relaxation techniques will help wind you down before bed. You can check out some simple meditation guides here.
Another way to achieve your life's purpose is to do something you love everyday. Enjoying the little things in life is the first step in finding a happy, meaningful existence. Try dedicating 5 minutes every morning to listening to your favorite song. Or you can do a fun workout. Or you can eat your favorite breakfast.
Being in the proper mindset is imperative to getting a good night's sleep. Once you've found your headspace, you should rest your head on something comfortable, too. Shop our smart sleep products today.