This 10-Minute Exercise Equals 44 Minutes Of Sleep, New Study Finds
If trying to balance work, friends, relationships, family, and self-care sometimes makes your head spin, you're not alone. Nowadays, the pressure to achieve is on, and while sleep should be a top priority, it can sometimes feel next to impossible to get everything done in a day and still wake up refreshed. We're only human.
A new study1, however, found a way to help you feel a bit more restored without hitting snooze. By doing just 10 minutes of a mindfulness practice each day, you could get the same positive brain effects as an extra 44 minutes of sleep per night.
What exactly is mindfulness practice? While often different for everyone, it can range from traditional meditation to acts purposefully devoted to clearing your head, like taking walks or deep breathing techniques.
Researchers conducted two separate studies on groups of really busy people—budding entrepreneurs—to measure their sleep, stress levels, and mindfulness practices, if any. They found that the individuals who reported the least amount of exhaustion were those who were lacking in sleep but still found time to engage in a mindfulness routine.
One caveat: There's a cap to how helpful mindfulness exercises can be. If you're already getting the sleep you need and still feeling exhausted, researchers found that these exercises didn't really make much of a difference. They only showed real stress-reducing benefits when the entrepreneurs were a tad short on sleep.
By no means is this your free ticket to stay up and meditate all night. The researchers stress that mindfulness, while effective at reducing stress and promoting relaxation, is no replacement for actually sleeping. After all, missing out on quality sleep can lead to hormonal imbalance, weight gain, and even subpar brain health.
If you do find yourself stressed and wanting to begin a mindfulness routine, it can be as simple as making small changes to your daily habits and can go far beyond just meditation. Once you get those habits rolling, mindfulness—and all of its benefits—will come as second nature.
Elizabeth Gerson is a former mindbodygreen intern and a student at Stanford University studying Psychology and Communication with a specialization in Health & Development. She has also written for SFGate.com and The Stanford Daily and runs a paleo(ish) food Instagram, @healthy_lizard.