By Julie Goldberg, MA, LAC

With the start of the school year in full swing, a drastic increase in the amount of screen time, and uncertainty about the rest of the year (phew!), there’s no better time to start a mindfulness practice. One of the benefits of mindfulness is a restful, rejuvenating slumber without a racing mind.

Read on to learn about mindfulness practice tips for better sleep.

Guided body scan:

If you find yourself lying in bed, feeling restless, with a worried mind, this practice helps calm the nerves and relax your body for sleep. What’s great about it is that you don’t need a recording or script to “get it right.” All that’s needed is a focus on relaxing different parts of your body and bringing your attention back to the relaxation when your mind starts to wander. Plus, no one will know that you are doing it since the practice happens silently in your mind.

With your eyes closed and laying on your back, tell yourself to bring your attention to different parts of your body and relax them. Follow a general outline that’s something like the script below, but really you can go as detailed and specific throughout your body as you’re wanting.

Silently, tell yourself to relax the following body parts:

Relax your right foot, right knee, right thigh, right leg. Relax your left foot, left knee, left thigh, left leg. Relax both legs.

Relax your right hand, right forearm, right bicep, right arm. Relax your left hand, left forearm, left bicep, left arm. Relax both arms.

Relax your belly. Relax your chest. Relax your low back. Relax your upper back.

Relax your neck. Relax your face. Relax your head.

Relax the right side of your body. Left side of your body. Relax the backside of your body. Relax the front side of your body. Relax your whole body.

You can repeat this as many times as you’d like while trying to relax and even practice it throughout the day for a “power-nap” relaxation or quick screen-break.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, apply some of these mindfulness tools:  

  • No screens one hour before bedtime. Screens wake up your brain without sending the necessary messages to your brain and body that it’s time for bed. Try reading a book, taking a long shower or bath, journaling, or drawing instead. Using mindfulness, commit fully to being present with the experience — when your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to the moment.
  • Self-care before bedtime. We all love a good facemask or sugar scrub, so the next you treat yourself to a spa evening, try to it mindfully. Notice the smells in the room, the colors all around you, the texture of the products, and the relaxation in your body. Mindfulness does not mean you have to sit still and meditate for hours on end. Paying attention to what’s going on in the moment is mindfulness. Plus, your brain will start to recognize the feelings of relaxation in that moment, which will increase the likelihood of sleep.

Creating a bedtime routine, spending time relaxing your body, and avoiding screens before bedtime are quick and easy fixes for a good night sleep. Let us know how it goes!


Julie is an adolescent therapist based out of Denver, CO. During COVID-19 she’s moved her therapy practice online and sees clients virtually across the state of Colorado. She helps teens better understand their emotions and navigate the challenging teenage years using mindfulness-based therapy.