New Year’s Challenge: Use Mindfulness to Fall Asleep Faster 

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Release tension and get better rest. Today’s video introduces progressive relaxation, a technique that may lead you to a better night’s sleep. 

Keep up with the Strong Body, Strong Mind, Strong You Challenge here and on our Facebook page. 

All this exercise you’ve been doing may be helping you sleep better, and we certainly hope it is. But if you still find yourself tossing and turning instead of getting a full night of rest, mindfulness strategies could help ease you into dreamland, says SilverSneakers trainer Shannon Thigpen. 

A study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine looked at older adults who struggled with regular sleep problems and split them into two groups. One practiced better sleep hygiene, such as sticking to a regular bedtime and having a specific nightly routine, while the other group did mindfulness meditation. After six weeks, the second group showed significant improvements in sleep quality compared to the first one.  

Not only did the people in the mindfulness group fall asleep faster, they also reported less daytime sleepiness and better functioning overall. That means mindfulness can not only help you get a good night’s sleep — it can improve your daytime functioning, too.  

Emotional well-being and fitness go together! With SilverSneakers, you can choose from dozens of different Community classes, visit a participating fitness location, or join one of 20+  SilverSneakers LIVE online classes. Check your eligibility here. 

How to Use the 3-Minute Progressive Muscle Relaxation  

For today’s activity, Shannon guides you through an exercise involving progressive muscle relaxation. It’s a technique that involves letting each part of the body release tension until you’re fully relaxed.   

It only takes a few minutes, and once you learn this strategy, you can use it on your own as a shortcut to better sleep.  

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Before you press play to follow along with Shannon, here are her progressive muscle relaxation tips to keep in mind: 

  • Sit or lie down comfortably 
  • Take a breath and squeeze one group of muscles  
  • Hold for 5 to 10 seconds 
  • As you breathe out, relax those muscles for 10 to 20 seconds 
  • Move on to the next muscle group  
  • Repeat until you’ve hit most of the muscles in your body 
  • Practice daily   

Love this and want more? Take a SilverSneakers EnerChi Class! 

In this beginner-friendly workout, you’ll perform modified tai chi movements in a slow, flowing sequence to progress balance and focus. It’s offered both in-person at participating fitness locations and online with SilverSneakers LIVE 

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SilverSneakers members can go to thousands of gyms and fitness locations across the nation, plus take SilverSneakers LIVE online classes that are designed for seniors of all levels. If you have a Medicare plan, it may include SilverSneakers—at no additional cost. Check your eligibility instantly here.  

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