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Episode 9: How to Harness the Power of Mindfulness for Better Sleep


“When I’m mindful,” Dr. Jason Ong tells Dr. Shelby, “I actually notice more flavors in my food. And in fact, sometimes we make the analogy to wine tasting. Because in a sense, when you’re wine tasting, it’s a practice of mindfulness. Because you have to use all your senses to actually not just taste the wine, but smell it, right? They teach you to do that.”

Episode-related links:

The Science Behind Meditation for Sleep
Mindfulness Techniques Can Enhance Sleep and Ease Anxiety Among Teen Athletes, A New Study Suggests
Mindfulness for Children with Insomnia and Anxiety

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Dr. Shelby Harris: How are you sleeping? Are you sleeping? I’m Dr. Shelby Harris, licensed clinical psychologist and Director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis, where we dive deep into all things sleep so you can get the rest you deserve. 

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It seems simple, but it actually helps us reach a lot more people. While you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe. A new episode of science backed sleep tips is available every other Wednesday. 

What’s the best way to clear your mind before bed? How do you recognize when you’re truly sleepy? And most importantly, how can you harness the power of mindfulness for better sleep?

To explore these questions and more, we’ve invited Dr. Jason Ong, Director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Clinical Science at Nox Health. Using cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness based practices to treat insomnia, hypersomnia and other chronic medical conditions, Jason has promised he will not rest until we are all sleeping soundly.

I have known Jason for 20 years now? For a while.

He really, in my opinion, has changed a lot of the field. So I’m like super excited to have this conversation. This is going to be a great episode. Jason, really welcome to the show. 

Dr. Jason Ong: Thank you, Shelby. And thanks for inviting me to be on the show. 

DS: I talk a lot about mindfulness and I do it just online and with my patients.

But I think really hearing from how you incorporated it into insomnia treatment is going to be, I mean, a game changer because you really did change the field a lot. 

So to give our listeners some context. When you talk about the term mindfulness, what do you mean? 

JO: So, in the context that we’re talking about it, mindfulness, I would say, is really a way of looking at things or approaching the things that happen in your life.

And by that, I mean it’s cultivating awareness of the present moment such that you’re just observing each moment. Letting it pass, one moment at a time. And its to do it without attachment, without judgment, and just letting things be. So it’s a really very simple concept, but it’s quite difficult to practice.

DS: Yeah, so how does it really connect to sleep issues, and because you started doing research on this a long time ago, like how did you start thinking that mindfulness really should connect to, say, insomnia treatment, for example? 

JO: I would say before even sleep, that there’s a relationship between mindfulness and stress.

DS: Yeah. 

JO: Really, sort of a little bit of Buddhism 101, the origins of mindfulness came from Buddhist philosophy. So, not as a religion, but really just Buddhist philosophy, where one of the core beliefs is that life is suffering. And that the root of our sufferings is what the Buddhists call cravings. What we probably call, in modern society, attachments, right? Attachments to outcomes. 

So we want something to happen so badly. We want to get the job of our choice, maybe get into the university of our choice. The problem isn’t that you have goals or you want to achieve. It’s just how badly you want it. So it’s these attachments to things. And so that’s what causes stress.

What can we do to detach from this stress? And if you’ll remember, we talked about mindfulness as being a way to look at things without attachment. So then the idea is that if you can practice being mindful and just watch things as they are, that’s a practice of learning how to let go or detach. And that over time, this can reduce your stress.

So that’s how mindfulness relates to really a form of stress reduction that the Buddhists use that we’re trying to apply in modern society. 

DS: Mm hmm. 

JO: And the connection with sleep really comes from sleep disorders, particularly with insomnia. And, you know, as you know, Shelby, people with insomnia, they tend to be very absorbed in trying to solve the problem and, you know, they will be very attached to their need for sleep.

For example, some people feel that, geez, I need eight hours of sleep. If I don’t get those eight hours, then the next day is going to be a total wreck, right? And so there’s that strong attachment that we saw. 

DS: Yeah. 

JO: And so we thought that maybe we can use some of these mindfulness principles to help them kind of detach or unattach from that need to sleep, and that might be a way to solve their problem. 

So people with insomnia oftentimes talk about this vicious cycle. With insomnia, there’s this layer where not sleeping itself and the need to sleep creates its own sorts of stress, which is what usually creates that cycle. This is a different way to look at it so that you can work your way out of that cycle of insomnia.

So it’s really kind of a way to approach stress as it relates to sleep for people with insomnia that sort of connects the dots between mindfulness, sleep, and stress. 

DS: So it helps to reduce the kind of forcing of sleep that’s happening with a lot of insomnia patients because that’s the thing. I always say to them, like, when I see you not talking about it or worrying about it as much, trying to force it, that’s when I know you’re about to turn the corner.

So I would say mindfulness, it sounds like, is the sort of thing that helps them to, like you said, unattach or detach. where they’re not trying to force as much. How is that different from, say, the more traditional cognitive therapy, cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia, which I talk about all the time.

It’s really one of the gold standards, or it is the gold standard for insomnia. But how would you use mindfulness if you’re someone who might be doing some CBT for insomnia currently? 

JO: Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, there certainly are some similarities. The main difference would be just from a cognitive standpoint, you know, traditional cognitive therapy is focused on changing your thoughts. Right? 

So this idea of that, like, I need eight hours of sleep to function well the next day, someone who comes from a CBT background, they would say, well, let’s take a look at that thought. Do you really need eight hours? Is there evidence that there are times in the past where maybe you got six hours of sleep and you were still able to function well.

So the idea is that they would challenge that thought, they would look at it as a thought that needs to be changed. And from a mindfulness standpoint, it’s more about changing your relationship with the thought. So rather than, you know, saying, okay, we need to change this idea that you need eight hours, it would be treating that thought as, well, maybe that’s just a thought.

What happens if you just watch it? And maybe what’ll happen is over time, it’ll kind of subside, like it doesn’t have that same degree of intensity because you’re not attaching that need to get that eight hours. And so then it doesn’t really matter if it’s eight hours or five hours or six hours or even nine hours.

And so your relationship with the thought changes. So that’s probably the main fundamental difference between a more cognitive approach that they use in CBT for insomnia, versus a mindfulness based approach. 

DS: Okay, that’s, that’s a good way to kind of tell the difference. Do you think if someone’s not sure which way to go, is there someone who might say, okay, mindfulness might be a better approach for me versus, say, the more traditional CBT that I think a lot of people are referred to by their doctors?

JO: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think that’s where really more research would be helpful because, I mean, CBT, I think, is the gold standard, as you said, and really is probably a good starting point for most people. You know, one of the things we’ve found over time is that some people just either don’t like that approach. They don’t like this idea of challenging thoughts. For other people, they have more of an emotional reaction, and that CBT doesn’t really address that part of it. 

So one of the things we’ve been starting to do with our research is looking at, well, who might be mindfulness approach versus CBTI. And I’ve been collaborating with some colleagues in some different areas looking at these type of questions.

For example, there’s one collaboration we have where we’re using more of a mindfulness approach for pregnant women who have insomnia and depression. So in that population, you know, A, they can’t take medications for insomnia with a pregnancy. And some of them just aren’t responding very well to some of the traditional techniques in CBTI such as sleep restriction. I mean, that’s very challenging. If you’re pregnant, you need to rest. 

DS: Yeah. 

JO: And they also, with some of the emotional components, that can trigger the depression. There seems to be this common pathway that if you can use a mindfulness based approach, it might address some of that attachment and the needs, you know, related to sleep as well as some things that might contribute to the depression as well. So it’s looking at maybe some specific populations like dads. 

There’s another project that we have working with Johns Hopkins University where they’re looking at veterans who have insomnia and PTSD. And seeing if a mindfulness approach can target the hyperarousal there.

So people with PTSD, you know, they’re very vigilant. 

DS: Yeah. 

JO: But there’s a lot of that anxious state that triggers the fight or flight response. So again, mindfulness with the approach of trying to detach could be one way to address both the PTSD and the insomnia. 

DS: Oh, I love that. I think the thing you’re highlighting is it’s not one size fits all. It’s figuring out kind of where we can triage people if they’re going to go to CBT or they’re going to go to more of a mindfulness based therapy for insomnia, which is great. And I think it’s only going to help more people so that they’re not starting treatments that might be inappropriate for them.

So what would you say are some of the biggest challenges to mindfulness in this day and age? 

JO: A couple things really come to mind. One is that we seem to have this mentality that we got to have it all and we got to have it quickly, you know? I mean, I fall into this myself that we’re very achievement oriented.

So again, it’s not that there’s a problem with having goals or wanting to achieve things. It’s just, if you get caught up in trying to do that, then sometimes that creates its own stress, right? And it sort of builds upon itself, you know, people talk about like the rat race, and the next thing you know, you’re like a hamster, you know, a rat, like spinning around in circles and you can’t get out of it.

I would say one thing is, you know, that strong need to achieve, the striving. So a lot of times we see this in, you know, what we used to call type A personality, people who are very achievement oriented. So I think that contributes to it. 

The second thing I would say is technology. And, you know, especially now we have things where they’re on 24/7. We can constantly monitor things. We’re frequently distracted. What’s happening on social media. 

This creates really a sense of mindlessness, if you will. We’re constantly looking at all these different things, but we’re not fully present with what’s happening now. So I would say, you know, the combination of these two things is what makes it really challenging.

So if you take the time to actually stop and ground yourself in the present moment, it can be really powerful to step away from what, you know, the world and a lot of the mentality has us try to do. 

DS: Interesting. And I do think that even when it comes to sleep, right, people are now overtracking things, especially those who have insomnia issues. And I think if you have something that’s reminding you of all the problems with your sleep, then that’s not going to help you be mindful either. So I think that’s a big issue that I’m seeing more and more is all the tech worsening insomnia for people. And they can’t be in the moment and just think, I’m doing what I need to do right now. And just seeing the, I have to sleep tonight, I have to do these things, I think mindfulness would probably be great for those patients. 

JO: Yeah. 

DS: So when a lot of people think of mindfulness, they automatically think of meditation. Can meditation play a role in improving your sleep quality? Like, what’s the difference between mindfulness, mindfulness meditation, meditation, all the different types that are out there? 

JO: Mindfulness really is grounded in meditation. I would say that the meditation is the practice or the cultivation of mindfulness and the mindfulness principle that we talked about earlier. It’s hard, as we said, so in order to, you know, to work on it, you have to constantly practice it. So meditation is the time and the space to do that practice.

There are other forms of meditation, like transcendental meditation. You know, certainly with different religions, they have meditation. But in this context, the mindfulness is practiced during the meditation. 

Now, typically people think of it as being like a quiet meditation, focusing on your breath, you know, paying attention to thoughts that come and go. But actually it doesn’t have to be. It can be informal. You can practice mindfulness while running, you can practice it while working out. In some of our programs we even have people practicing mindfulness as they eat. So the idea is that you can really do it with a lot of different activities and ultimately the idea is that you bring it into your everyday life.

And that’s why at the beginning I said mindfulness is really approach, an approach about, you know, the way of living, how you see things. 

DS: Just because I’m a runner and I want to talk about that. Like how would, if you were out for a run, how would you maybe do, or a walk or whatever, how would you do or incorporate a mindfulness exercise into that sort of practice? 

JO: So you can do things such as just being present with what’s happening in your body, and your mind, for that matter. So paying attention to your body, you could notice things like, what does it feel like with each step that you’re taking, right? 

So not just like your pace, but what does it actually feel like where the bottom of your foot touches the ground? Are your heels striking or, you know, running, you know, in the forefoot? What does it feel like going up the leg? Are there parts of the body that are cramping? Are there parts of the body that are relaxed? And again, you’re not trying to use it for anything. You’re not trying to use it to change your pace.

You’re just trying to observe. There’s sometimes I’ve gotten creative where I’ll pay attention to a part of my body that I don’t normally pay attention to when I’m running. Like, what’s my right shoulder feeling like? And so you can get kind of creative and fun with it and just sort of go around the body.

And I would say the same thing is true with your mind. You know, what are you thinking about? What are you focusing on? And I know for me, I have a tendency to zone out and I’ll just sort of think about something and, you know, next thing I know, I’ve run like a mile. I couldn’t tell you what had happened in the last mile, but, you know, can you just see what’s happening there, you know, in the mind and the body and also in your environment?

DS: Now, the misnomer that I hear all the time when I mention mindfulness and a mindfulness practice to patients is, oh, I’ve tried it. I can’t do it. I can’t focus for that long. I mean, what would you say to someone who’s really trying to do it or says those exact things? 

JO: That’s very common, right? And so usually it’s, well, if you notice that it’s difficult, you’re actually practicing mindfulness, right? Because you’re noticing this thought that, hey, this is tough or I’m not doing it right. And interestingly, the idea behind mindfulness is not to get any better. That’s an outcome. That’s an attachment to an outcome. So the idea is you’re just practicing it to see what’s present. And again, this is counter to the way that most of us are trained, but, you know, we all want to say, oh, you know, I’ve been practicing mindfulness for 10 years, I’ve gotten so much better. 

But if you talk to someone like the Dalai Lama, even he will say, yeah, you know, I still get distracted when I meditate. So you’re never going to sort of achieve like some kind of higher state of meditation, which I think is what people sometimes look for when they’re practicing mindfulness.

It’s simply a time to set aside that you can be with your mind, your body, your physical sense, and just see what’s happening. So it’s just sort of taking note, taking inventory of what’s present. And interestingly, the Buddhists would say this is an act of self compassion because it’s an opportunity for you to just work on reducing your stress and seeing what’s happening.

DS: Interesting. I think the work of mindfulness, and you tell me if you agree with this, is the work is really in the noticing when you’re wandering and then getting back on track. Would you agree with that, that that’s where the strengthening starts to happen and that’s where it can help in your day and also at your night, so when you notice that you’re starting to worry about lots of things to get back onto your breathing or whatever else it is that you’re doing.

JO: Yeah, yeah, definitely. So it’s noticing it when it’s happening and it will, because that’s the way our minds work. But then just gently bringing yourself back to a place where you can just observe and to say that, look, you know, it’s not that you’ve done something terribly wrong. It’s just that, hey, you’ve gotten carried away and you’ve gotten absorbed or attached to this idea or this thought.

And it’s just a reminder to take a step back. So that gentleness and that compassion is also part of the principles of mindfulness. So it’s, you know, not just observing and detaching, but to do it in a certain way that comes from a compassionate perspective. 

DS: So what are some other mindfulness, so you talked about one for running, for example, but what are some other tools or practices that you could recommend to our listeners if they just want to start it and they’ve never really done it before?

JO: Yeah. So one of the meditations that we teach is really quite similar to what we were just talking about here, that we call it the Trainspotting Meditation. Do you know what trainspotting is? 

DS: Remind me. 

JO: So yeah, it’s a term that isn’t used too much in the US right. It’s more of a European term. 

DS: I remember the movie. 

JO: That’s what most people talk about. Yeah. It’s a pretty cool movie. And, I think it was like the early nineties that came out. But train spotting is really the act of observing trains go by, making notes of it, making observations. 

DS: Okay. 

JO: And really what’s striking is that these are people who just watch trains. And of course, this was probably more popular back when trains were the primary mode of transportation.

DS: Yeah. 

JO: But the key difference here is that they’re not using trains as a mode of transportation, right? That’s what most of us do. Like when I lived in Chicago. I took the train to work almost every day. You know, I saw it as a vehicle that would get me from point A to point B. But train spotters have a different relationship with trains.

They sit on the platform and they just watch them. So the idea here behind this train spotting meditation is that we want to practice being a train spotter of the mind. So imagine that your mind is like a train station and your thoughts and your feelings are like trains whizzing in and out of it. 

And so you’re just sitting there on the platform or standing on the platform and rather than trying to get on a train, which in this metaphor would mean that you’re analyzing the thoughts, you’re using it to think about something, or get somewhere, but you’re just standing on a platform watching the trains go by.

DS: Mm hmm. 

JO: And so you’re practicing doing this and inevitably you’re going to find yourself getting on a train. You’re going to find yourself thinking and just like we talked about before, that’s okay. You’ve noticed that. And so that becomes an opportunity to take a step back to come back to the platform and just tell yourself you haven’t done anything wrong and you just have another opportunity to just train spot.

So you just keep practicing this. And I think it gives people a sense of what it means with this Trainspotting Meditation to have a different relationship with your thoughts and your feelings.

DS: I love that. You don’t need to be attached to using any tools necessarily to do it. What do you make of all the apps that are out there nowadays? It seems like that’s what people think of when they think of mindfulness, is it’s just like an app. 

JO: Right, yeah, I mean there’s like Headspace and Calm are probably two of the most popular ones. And I think there’s dozens out there and more coming out every day. 

DS: Oh yeah. 

JO: I mean, I would say that what they’ve done a good job of is taking mindfulness and putting it into bite sized chunks that I think people find to be more digestible. They can relate to more. Not everybody has the luxury to go on a three month retreat out in the mountains, you know, I mean? That would be great, but most of us have jobs, we have families have to take care of and so forth. So I think what they’ve done a good job is to say, look, you can still practice mindfulness in your everyday life. Anybody can practice this. You just need 10 minutes, 15 minutes. 

And so the nice thing is it also provides guidance. I would say that is quite helpful for someone starting off. It’s difficult to just say, hey, you know, I’m just going to be mindful today and just sit there and try to be mindful without any kind of guidance or any teacher leading you.

So I would say like the apps are a good way to get started. I think nowadays also there are mindfulness programs. So one of the most popular ones is called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. 

DS: Yeah. 

JO: It’s one of the OG of mindfulness interventions that was started by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts. But they now have online versions of MBSR, so it’s a lot more accessible. They also teach it in a lot more hospitals and health settings. 

And it’s usually not taught by like a clinician, so it’s not like it’s somebody who is a medical professional or a mental health professional, but these are just teachers usually who have training. In mindfulness meditation and they’re just teaching you based on their experience and their training. And mainly they help you create a space and some guidance for how to practice mindfulness. 

DS: What about all the apps that have sleep meditations? What do you feel about that? And given the way that you’ve kind of incorporated mindfulness into your insomnia treatment package, it’s different. So can you talk a little bit about that? 

JO: Yeah. So I do have some opinions about that. Some of it might not be popular. I think the main thing is that this is hard work, right? We talked about cultivating awareness at the present moment, how this takes practice. So it’s quite different than what most people are usually looking for.

Most people want to find a meditation app that’s going to meditate them to sleep. 

DS: Yeah. 

JO: Right. And so they think that this is just another form of relaxation. And while yes, practicing mindfulness meditation can produce a sense of relaxation, and potentially it could, you could fall asleep during a meditation, that’s not the intention. Because you can’t really cultivate awareness if you’re asleep. 

So I think that’s one of the biggest misnomers and probably the biggest fundamental difference I have with some of these meditation apps is that, you know, we’re not trying to meditate anybody to sleep. 

Now, what I would say is that our approach is really geared more for people who have insomnia. So, you know, these are people who are in a different place than the average person who may just have occasional sleep disturbance. And so I think in that context, if you’re looking to improve your sleep health, you know, where you don’t have a disorder, you’re just looking to optimize your sleep, maybe you have occasional issues and maybe it’s outside stress that is causing the problem, sure. 

I mean, you could try to use a meditation app that may have some short term benefits, but just recognize that for people who have insomnia, it’s not a substitution for CBT or getting treatment or evaluation. So I think it’s just important to distinguish that. 

DS: I agree 100 percent with you on the, the apps to fall asleep to because I always say like mindfulness is an exercise. We say it’s a mindfulness exercise you’re practicing. It’s almost like going to sleep while doing bench presses and exercising and then falling asleep while you’re doing it. You’re not getting any benefit out of it because now you’re asleep. I feel very strongly about that as well. 

But I would also argue that if someone has stress once in a while that impacts their sleep that mindfulness would probably be a good thing for them to practice during the day too. I mean, I think it’s a good thing for most of us to be doing. 

JO: Fundamentally, it’s something that we can all do. 

DS: Yeah. 

JO: I think that’s one of the things that really attracted me to this approach is that you don’t have to be anybody special. You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk. Like we said, you don’t have to go on a three month retreat. You can do it in your everyday life. You can do it anywhere. It just takes a certain attention to want to do it. 

DS: And I think people also think that it’s like a 30 minute practice every single day. And like you said, you can make it into a very short thing while you’re exercising. It doesn’t have to be this involved thing where you have a special room to do it all. It is much more accessible than I think people think it is. 

That being said, is there anything else that you wish people would know more about mindfulness? 

JO: I think that it’s not a shortcut, so it’s not a hack. I don’t really like that term. You know, it really is something that I think is really for someone who wants to start to change their habits and really take a certain approach that really has some long term benefits, but it will take some work.

And if they’re up for it, then I think that it can be very powerful ,the benefits that they’ll see. So they just need to be prepared that they’re in it for the long run. 

The goal is also not to get better at it. I think that part is really hard. You know, it is how many times we step into something saying that, hey, I’ll do this, but it doesn’t really matter if I get better at it, right?

So it’s just setting aside that time to do the practice and just seeing what happens. Each time you do it. So one of the principles of mindfulness is beginner’s mind. So it’s trying to bring that beginner’s mind to each of your meditation practices, and really to any kind of mindfulness activity that you do.

DS: So if someone was doing mindfulness meditation every single day, and they’re really focused on doing and getting some outcome from it, how long should it take for them to generally start to see some changes and what specific changes other than possibly reducing insomnia symptoms? What are some other things that people could recognize from it?

JO: What people tell me is within like a couple of weeks, what they’ll start noticing is that they sometimes will see things a little bit differently. Or there are things that they’ve noticed that they maybe didn’t notice before. And usually it’s with something that they do regular. Whether it’s noticing like, hey, when I’m mindful, I actually notice more flavors in my food.

And in fact, sometimes we make the analogy to wine tasting. Because in a sense, when you’re wine tasting, it’s a practice of mindfulness. Because you have to use all your senses. To actually not just taste the wine, but smell it, right? They teach you to do that. You look at it, you know, you look, okay, you know, does it have legs and all this stuff?

So if you ever go to wine country, it’s really about using all of your senses to experience the wine. 

DS: Yeah. 

JO: And so, you know, in a way we say mindfulness is like life tasting, right? You want to bring all your senses to experiencing each of your moments in life. And so it’s really about that. Taking these principles and applying it to what you’re doing. If you get off track, come back to it. 

DS: Yeah. 

JO: That’s the powerful part of it. 

DS: So the key is patience. 

JO: Yeah. 

DS: Right. Weeks to months to really start to see those gains. But it’s daily practice. Practice isn’t gonna necessarily get easier, but it’s gonna take some time to see the other ways that it benefits your life. I love that. The wine tasting analogy. That’s really great. So in all the time that you’ve worked on mindfulness and done a lot of research with, I can’t even imagine how many patients at this point. What would you say has surprised you the most? 

JO: I think it’s just how far reaching the effects of mindfulness can be. And even beyond insomnia. So one of the research studies that we’re working on right now is using mindfulness for people with narcolepsy. 

So narcolepsy is a sleep disorder where people are excessively sleepy and really creates a huge burden in terms of their mental health. These people are very depressed, very anxious, and their quality of life is significantly affected.

So, you might think, like, what idiots would think it’s a good idea to teach sleepy people how to meditate? But the application here is quite different. So we’re trying to use it as a tool to help them regulate their emotion, help them reduce some of their depression and anxiety. Because a lot of people with narcolepsy, they have very low self efficacy, meaning they don’t think that they can get things done, especially the way that they used to.

So there’s a lot of attachment to the way they used to be, when they had more energy, when they weren’t as sleepy. And there’s this sort of longing of like, why can’t I do things the way I used to be able to do it? And so they try to push through some of the symptoms, even when they’re sleepy and fatigued, and it usually makes it worse.

So here we’ve been trying to teach mindfulness to help them really regulate their emotion, help cope with some of the symptoms of narcolepsy. It actually has some benefits, so we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to publish our findings soon. But, you know, just sort of an interesting application that you wouldn’t think about for a sleep disorder besides insomnia. 

DS: Yeah, because you don’t associate the same sort of like anxiety that I would think of when we’re using mindfulness. You don’t think about that as much when it comes to narcolepsy. So I think that’s really interesting. I’m excited to see those results. 

Jason, we’d like to end each episode with a piece of practical advice. So do you have any tips or suggestions for our listeners when they want to work on developing a mindfulness practice? Like, what would you recommend the most? 

JO: I’d start off by saying that there’s no wrong way to meditate. Dive right in and just give it a shot. You know, I’d say start there. 

We talked about also getting some kind of guidance when you’re first getting started, whether you can use apps. I think that’s a helpful way to get started because they’re kind of bite sized chunks of meditation. 

You could join like a mindfulness class. I mentioned Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. In some cases, there are also just meditation sessions that are open in some places where people can just join and practice with a group.

I think having some kind of social environment can be helpful as well. 

DS: Yeah. 

JO: So I would say those things. And then the third thing, last thing would be the patience that we talked about. So think of it as like a lifelong practice that you’re just setting aside this time to really help improve your well being.

DS: Yeah. 

JO: And just creating some space so that you can see what’s happening. And I think if you keep doing this, you’ll eventually see the benefits. 

DS: I love that. And I feel like a lot of listeners are really going to sleep better tonight and start hopefully being a little more mindful at times in their lives.

Thank you so much for being here. I really, really appreciate it. This was truly a great episode. 

JO: Thank you so much for having me. 

DS: Thanks for listening to Sleep Talking with Dr. Shelby, a Sleepopolis original podcast. Remember, if you’re not routinely getting a great night’s sleep, follow or subscribe right now in Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you are listening.

Today’s episode was produced and edited by Freddie Beckley. Our Director of Content is Alanna Nuñez. Our Senior Editor is Molly Stout, and I’m Dr. Shelby Harris. 

Until next time, sleep well.