Yoga therapy for better sleep

Every day, we are loaded with constant stimulation and stress; for many of us, our daily routines and schedules do not permit us frequent breaks and chances to reboot. Therefore, all this accumulated stress can have an impact on our sleep, and a good night’s sleep seems unattainable sometimes. 

The importance of sleep for overall well-being cannot be neglected. Poor sleep quality can lead to a range of health issues, from reduced mental function to an increased risk of chronic diseases. Many revert to various methods in order to be able to have quality sleep, such as medication or herbal remedies. 

However, there is a natural and holistic approach that can elevate the quality of sleep –yoga therapy.

Yoga, with its prominent practice of connecting mind, body, and spirit, offers a mild and effective way to improve sleep quality. Incorporating yoga into your nightly routine could help you achieve restful and undisturbed sleep.

Yoga has been shown to be beneficial for improving sleep quality and helping with sleep problems in many individuals. There is a growing amount of evidence that supports its effectiveness in promoting better sleep.

According to Sleep Foundation, over 55% of yoga practitioners report improved sleep, and over 85% report reduced stress after practising yoga before going to bed. Also, several studies show that yoga can improve sleep for a variety of different populations. 

The focus of these studies is mainly on one’s quality of sleep rather than the quantity, as increased amounts of sleep do not necessarily correlate with quality sleep and overall well-being. While the definition of quality sleep varies among sleepers, it usually includes feeling energised for the day and reduced disturbances.

How Can Yoga Help Us Achieve Better Sleep

Stress Reduction: Yoga is well-known for its stress-reduction benefits since it can help reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol, which can be a significant factor in sleep disorders and disturbances. Reducing stress through yoga can lead to a more relaxed state of mind, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.

Relaxation and Calming: The physical poses, along with the breathing exercises and meditation techniques used in yoga, can induce a state of relaxation. Regular yoga practice helps calm the nervous system, relieve anxiety, and quiet the mind, all of which are facilitative to a peaceful night’s sleep.

Improved Circulation and Muscle Relaxation: Certain yoga poses, like Legs-Up-The-Wall (Viparita Karani) or Child’s Pose (Balasana), can improve blood circulation and release muscle tension that can alleviate physical discomfort that can lead to a calm and restful sleep.

Mindfulness and Mind-Body Connection: Yoga enables mindfulness and the development of a strong mind-body connection. By paying attention to your breath and body sensations during a yoga practice, you can become more attuned to your body’s needs, including those related to sleep.

Sleep Schedule and Routine: Setting a consistent bedtime yoga routine can help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Over time, this routine can train your body to fall asleep more easily and wake up feeling refreshed. This routine does not have to be very time-consuming; 15 minutes before sleep could be equally beneficial if you choose the proper poses.

Reduction of Sleep Medication: According to research, a number of people have reported that incorporating yoga into their daily routine has allowed them to reduce their dependence on sleep medications, such as sleeping pills, which can have adverse side effects and risk of dependency.


When to Do Yoga for Better Sleep

A common question that often comes to mind is when to practise yoga in order to achieve a restful sleep. The answer is quite simple: incorporating a short yoga session into your bedtime routine can work wonders. Practising yoga before bed can help calm the mind, release physical tension, and prepare your body for a night of deep and restorative sleep.

Yoga is a natural booster of relaxation; it reduces stress and promotes the release of endorphins, which help you feel more comfortable. It’s an ideal practice to incorporate into your evening routine, ensuring that you can leave the day’s worries behind and embrace the serenity of the night.

yoga for better sleep

Three Yoga Poses for Better Sleep

If you are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, try these gentle yoga asanas and let your mind calm down and prepare for bedtime.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This gentle, restorative pose is an excellent way to start your bedtime yoga routine. Kneel on the floor, sit back on your heels, and slowly lower your chest toward the ground, arms next to your core. This famous pose stretches the spine and helps to release tension from the lower back, neck, and shoulders, making it easier to unwind before sleep. If you feel knee pain while doing this pose, you can do it with a pillow between your calf and ties.  If getting down on the mat is challenging, you can also do it sitting on a chair, bending forward using a pillow.

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) 

This restorative pose helps to relax the nervous system and improve blood circulation. How to do it: lie on your back with your legs up against the wall, forming a 90-degree angle with your body. Close your eyes gently and focus on your breath. This pose encourages a feeling of calm and reduces anxiety, preparing your body for a serene night’s sleep.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Savasana is the ultimate relaxation pose. Lie flat on your back with your arms and legs extended, palms facing up. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. This pose allows you to let go of any remaining tension, quiet your mind, and prepare for a deep and restful sleep.

Bedtime Yoga and… Sweet Dreams

Incorporating yoga into your routine and life is about the poses and the entire experience. Try to focus on your breath and engage in mindfulness, creating a calming atmosphere. Whether you commit in a 15-minute yoga session or in a longer one, you will be equipped with all the necessary mental stimuli to relax and feel calmer.

Tip: Dim the lights, use soothing music, and maybe consider aromatherapy with calming scents like lavender or chamomile. This routine will enhance the relaxing effects of your bedtime yoga practice, making it easier to drift off to sleep.

Yoga therapy offers a natural and holistic solution to improve sleep quality. Incorporating yoga into your daily or nightly routine can help reduce stress, relax your body, and prepare you for a deep and restorative sleep. By practicing yoga for better sleep, you can take a proactive step towards achieving the peaceful rest your body and mind need.

Yoga can make a significant difference in the quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling more refreshed and energised to face the challenges of the day. 

Sweet dreams!

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