Practising mindfulness can help us feel less tired, researchers have found.
But we also know we’re pressed for time, and sometimes, we get hit by that mid-afternoon lag, so can’t take a quick nap or switch on a sleep-inducing podcast. That’s when we need something that can help us feel rested and raring to go.
Step in: mindfulness. Practising mindfulness can help us overcome our fears and help us make the most of the quality time we spend with our partner, but new research has shown that it can also help us feel like we’ve got more sleep than we have.
The research found that practising mindfulness – like this breathing exercise – for 10 minutes can help you feel like you’ve got 44 minutes of extra sleep.
Researchers from Oregon State University, the University of Tennessee and Syracuse University examined the “possible benefits of sleep and mindfulness exercises in reducing the exhaustion experienced by entrepreneurs in the course of launching and growing ventures”.
Over the course of two studies, the researchers found that “both sleep and mindfulness exercises provide avenues for entrepreneurs to combat exhaustion”.
Crucially, the study found that sleep and mindfulness go best hand-in-hand. The researchers said that “these two factors compensate for one another; as the usage of one increases, the efficacy of the other decreases”.
Charles Murnieks, the study’s lead author, said: “You can’t replace sleep with mindfulness exercises, but they might help compensate and provide a degree of relief.
“As little as 70 minutes a week, or 10 minutes a day, of mindfulness practice may have the same benefits as an extra 44 minutes of sleep a night.”
However, in both studies the researchers found that mindfulness doesn’t help those who are getting enough sleep but still feeling exhausted.
Murnieks said: “If you’re feeling stressed and not sleeping, you can compensate with mindfulness exercises to a point.
“But when you’re not low on sleep, mindfulness doesn’t improve those feelings of exhaustion.”
The lesson is clear: we need to make sure we’re looking after ourselves by getting enough sleep, and by practising mindfulness.