There are only so many hours in a day to get everything done. From working long hours, to making time to catch up with friends and family, and staying on top of your life admin, it can feel next to impossible to tick it all off, all while ensuring you get an adequate amount of sleep, and still wake up feeling refreshed.
But if you’re struggling to reach your eight hours of sleep simply because life gets in the way, mindfulness could be the solution to catching those zzz’s without having to sleep for longer. A new study, published in the Journal of Business Venturing, has claimed that 10 minutes of mindfulness practice each day has the same positive brain effects as 44 minutes of sleep per night.
So, what exactly is mindfulness?
According to healthdirect, “mindfulness is paying full attention to what is going on in you and outside you, moment by moment, and without judging. It means you observe your thoughts, feelings, and the sensations of taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. You are also fully aware of your surroundings.
Although practising mindfulness is different for everyone, it can range from traditional meditation, to acts devoted to clearing your head such as deep breathing techniques or going for a walk.
To conduct the study, a team of researchers performed two separate studies on groups of extremely busy individuals. For the first study, they looked at 105 entrepreneurs from around the United States and asked them about their exhaustion levels, how much they slept, and whether or not they practiced mindfulness.
Over 40 per cent of participants said they worked 50 hours or more each week and on average slept less than six hours a night.
The second experiment looked at a bigger group of 329 entrepreneurs who were asked the same questions.
Both studies found that those who slept the most or engaged in the highest levels of mindfulness had the lowest levels of exhaustion.
“You can’t replace sleep with mindfulness exercises, but they might help compensate and provide a degree of relief,” said Charles Murnieks, lead author and professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Oregon State University.
However, the study also found that mindfulness exercises didn’t really make a difference for those who were getting enough sleep but were still feeling exhausted. They only showed real stress-reducing benefits for the entrepreneurs that were short on sleep.
“If you’re feeling stressed and not sleeping, you can compensate with mindfulness exercises to a point,” Murnieks added. “But when you’re not low on sleep, mindfulness doesn’t improve those feelings of exhaustion.”
Can you really catch up on sleep? We ask an expert. Plus, this is the exact amount of sleep you need to lose weight.