Mindfulness – being aware of and paying attention to experiences that are taking place in the present moment without forming an opinion – can be an effective antidote to meaningless living. There is evidence that mindfulness can also improve wellbeing and reduce stress on a daily basis. This behavior change, in turn, can relieve chronic stress and fight off diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
According to a recent study published in the journal Sleep health, just add 29 minutes of sleep per night can improve mindfulness the next day.
This discovery contributes to the myriad of benefits of a good night’s sleep, and suggests that even a little extra sleep can make a meaningful difference in terms of mental health.
“We all need mindfulness for better job performance and daily well-being,” says study co-author Soomi Lee, a researcher at the University of South Florida School of Aging Studies Inverse.
“The results of this study show that if you sleep less or less than usual, attention is impaired the next day.”
LONGEVITY HACKS is a regular series of Inverse about the science-based strategies for living better, healthier, and longer without medicine.
HOW THIS AFFECTS Longevity – In the study, researchers tracked a group of 61 nurses for two weeks to track their sleep, health, and self-rated measurements of mindfulness. This group is particularly prone to sub-optimal sleep, anxiety, and stress. Many work permanent 12-hour shifts and treat people with life-threatening diseases every day.
In the study, researchers describe mindfulness as receptive attention and awareness of what is happening in the present moment without judging that moment as good or bad.
To capture this factor, the nurses responded to mindfulness surveys three times a day, including prompts such as:
“I found it difficult to focus on what was happening.” “I did something without paying attention.” And “I did something automatically without knowing what I was doing.”
The group also described the previous night’s sleep each day when they woke up, and sleepiness three times a day during the day.
Scientists found that the nurses’ attention was greater than usual after nights of greater lack of sleep, better quality sleep, less efficiency, and an additional half an hour longer sleep.
“Although this study is based on health care workers who are at higher risk of insomnia, the results have far-reaching implications for other populations who may experience sleep problems and / or improve mindfulness for better daily functioning,” says Lee.
This study focused on the links between sleep quality and mindfulness, but complements a long list of risks to poor sleep.
“My previous work together shows that inadequate or poor sleep predicts weight gain in adolescents, a higher risk of cardiovascular disease in IT workers, a higher risk of inflammation in arthritis patients, and falls and pain in older adults.” says Lee.
“This study adds another link: poor sleep health in multiple dimensions is linked to less daily attention from health workers. The results were expected and were not surprising to me or my colleagues. ”
WHY IT’S A HACK – Daily mindfulness also contributed to less sleepiness during the day. So were the more alert ones 66 percent less likely Experience symptoms of insomnia during the two week study period.
“When nightly sleep is not optimal, daily alertness can be compromised, and over time this can lead to a cascading effect between poor sleep and reduced alertness,” write Lee and her research team.
Based on this research, extra sleep appears to create a healthy cycle in which people can be more immersed in the present moment and ultimately get more sleep the next time they hit the hay. This is extremely effective as it is known that better sleep is also linked to human longevity.
SCIENCE IN ACTION – In this study, adding just 29 minutes of sleep each night improved mindfulness the next day.
While more research is needed to confirm this figure, researchers say that getting good quality sleep each night will help you be more alert and better manage the stress that life puts on you during waking hours.
To get a good night’s sleep, keep the electronics out of the bedroom, keep your room cool and dark, stay away from alcohol or nicotine for the four hours before bed, and establish a regular sleep and wake routine.
HACK SCORE OF 10 – ???????????? (3/10 additional morning nap.)
aims: Previous studies have focused on the role of mindfulness in improving sleep health. Sleep health can also increase daily mindfulness; However, this potential directionality is insufficient due to the lack of research into health care workers who need quality sleep and mindful attention to patient care. This study investigated whether nurses’ sleep health predicts mindful attention the next day, and vice versa.
Design: Smartphone-based ecological instantaneous assessment. Setting: US hospitals. Participants: Sixty-one full-time nurses. Measurements: In 2 consecutive weeks, the participants reported actigraphically measured and self-reported daily sleep characteristics. We examined 8 sleep variables in 5 key dimensions: satisfaction (self-report about lack of sleep, quality and insomnia symptoms), alertness (self-report about daytime sleepiness), timing (actigraphy bed and waking times), efficiency (actigraphy, percentage of sleep time during bedtime) and duration ( Sleep duration of actigraphy). Participants reported state mindfulness that is specific to attention and awareness. The covariates included sleep of the previous night, sociodemography, work shift, work day (compared to non-work day), and the weekend (compared to weekday).
Results: The multilevel modeling showed that at the within-person level, daily attention was greater than usual after nights with greater sleep deprivation, better sleep quality, lower efficiency, and longer sleep duration. Daily mindful attention was inversely linked to sleepiness, but did not predict any other sleep characteristics. At the inter-person level, participants with greater sleep deprivation, higher quality sleep, and fewer insomnia symptoms reported greater overall alertness.
Conclusion: The results show that optimal sleep health is a prerequisite for nurses’ daily attention. Improving sleep can provide important benefits to your wellbeing and the quality of patient care.
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