The practice of yoga began several thousand years ago. It is of ancient origin. It has evolved, and it has now several types or forms of workout where a beginner or practitioner can choose from. While there are many positive effects yoga can give to a person’s holistic wellness, be it physically or mentally, even on emotional health, stress relief, and weight loss as well, it also helps a person to have an improved and a sound sleep. We may ask, therefore, how does yoga improve sleep?
Can’t Sleep Due To Anxiety, Stress, & Tensions
Anxiety, tension, pressure, and stressors in life all contribute to sleepless nights and fatigue. These are imbalances which must be immediately corrected, lest other bodily or mind disorder may follow.
It has been reported in several studies that yoga practitioners have experienced peaceful and tranquil sleep. They also feel that constant yoga activity has reduced their stress and anxiety.
Alleviating stress and worries, through yoga, promotes a better and sound sleep.
This enhanced-better-sleep-result does not mean the quantity or the duration of the doze. It is, rather, the overall well-being of a person which includes feeling energized all throughout the day and being more focused with all the activities in that duration.
Indulge in yoga
Practicing yoga before sleeping is a good way to release all the negativities, mentally or physically. Doing this routine will help you get a good night sleep.
This is more beneficial to the people who have a hard time sleeping, are only having short-period-nap, have been sleeping lightly, have limited time to sleep, or have been suffering from insomnia.
Each variation of yoga practice introduces different postures and exercise, breathing techniques, and even meditation strategies. They can be beneficial to one’s goal of improving the quality of his or her rest, sleep, or even relaxation.
Connection between yoga and better sleep and why does it matter
There are many ways that yoga can improve the sleep worthiness of a person. Yoga aids in putting the individual’s body in a calm state or in a relaxation mode.
Doing yoga poses before bedtime can be relaxing and calming. The person enters a lower state of arousal which results to lower blood pressure and lower amounts of stress hormones.
This also alleviates stress-related concerns such as weight gain, anxiety, and insomnia. Since doing yoga prior to a night’s rest aids a person to sleep better, it also has a positive consequence on weight maintenance and weight loss.
By engaging in such endeavor, he or she will become more mindful of his/her activities and eating habits.
The regular practice of yoga also makes you manage your symptoms of insomnia, thus, helping you to fall asleep quicker. You can now sleep for a longer duration as it promotes better doze of rest and sleeping patterns.
It is important to remember that sleeping repairs the body’s cellular level and even removes or discharges toxins. It puts your mind and body to rest. Hence, it is necessary to get at least six to eight hours of good sleep daily.
If a person experiences difficulty in sleeping, this leads to increased stress. He will feel sluggish all throughout the day.
Bereft of a relaxing rest, a person may not feel well in doing his daily chores or activities and even managing his relationships with people, interpersonal or otherwise, as stress overwhelms his or her ability to think clearly and to make sound decisions or better judgment.
Without a good sleep and rest, he is expected to be unproductive. It is because his mind is not able to process clearly and intuitively what is happening. He fails to digest thoroughly the information he gathers when he communicates with other people. In short, he is beyond his conscious mind.
An individual lacking in good amount of sleep will have a dearth of alertness and attentiveness. It is like having an impaired memory, as want of rest [through appropriate sleeping duration] can affect a person’s ability to think and process any information.
The lack thereof will surely militate in the person’s quality of life, as he may become less likely to participate in a normal daily activity or to even be productive in engaging himself with some physical exercise.
Aside from these effects, other potential health problems may also arise. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke are probable consequences. Other potential problems such as obesity, depression, impairment in immunity, and lower sex drive can also happen.
Yoga for sleep and relaxation
Given that these short-term and long-term problems may occur to a person because of sleep deprivation or insomnia, researchers have found that yoga practice may improve the quality of sleep of a human being. Likewise, it may result to deeper relaxation.
Yoga practitioners promote the practice of yoga on a regular basis or even before bedtime to make sure that the value of sleep that an individual experiences will equate to worthy living, more importantly, in maintaining relationships, productivity, and engagement in daily activities.
Yoga for sleep disorders | Insomnia
For some, they have experienced insomnia or sleep disorders owing to a lot of reasons. It can be:
- the loss of a loved one
- pressures in life
- burdens put on a person’s shoulder
- going through a rough situation
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep [or to stay asleep] when the body needs to sleep and rest. It may have prejudicial effects which includes:
- daytime sleepiness and impairment
- memory loss
- sudden changes in mood
- uncontrollable temperament
As established earlier, studies have determined that yoga can be beneficial in managing sleep problems and can especially help certain groups of people who are experiencing insomnia.
How does yoga help with insomnia? | Yoga before sleep
Now that the practice of yoga has been established to be effective for people who experience difficulty in sleeping or otherwise suffer from insomnia, let us now learn more about how yoga prevents such sleep disorder, and how it induces sound doze to a person instead.
When we nap and slumber, our body may be put in a state of complete relaxation. If we achieve this stage even before sleeping, then definitely there is a higher chance of falling asleep more peacefully.
Practicing yoga on a regular basis lets an individual achieve this condition, especially when the yoga poses are focused on a person’s thoughts and his breathing process.
This then results to all the muscles in the body being able to let go of the tension within them. Then, they become loose. The muscles now enter the phase of relaxation. A relaxed body can easily pass on to the sleep-deep phase.
This is also the same with mental stiffness where a person with an inflexible mind experiences difficulty in falling asleep because he is holding on to a thought, whether pleasant or unpleasant.
Experiencing this and having a lot of thoughts in your head keeps you awake. This will place you in a situation where it is very hard to rest and sleep
Hence, it is important that, not only your muscles are relieved of the tension, but also your mind. Practicing meditation also discharges your mental rigidness as it takes away your attention from the thoughts that keep you awake, which then allows you to sleep afterwards.
Yoga may help release body’s harmful toxins
Some yoga pioneers have stated that, among others, another benefit of practicing yoga regularly is, it induces a faster removal of toxinsHow Does Yoga Detoxes and Restores the Body which your body accumulated in the day by stimulating natural detoxification processes.
While there are conflicting viewsReality check: Does yoga release toxins from the body? on the matter, still, what matter’s most is the fact that yoga improves the well-being, physical and mental of an individual, whether or not the squeeze and twist theory is correct–detoxification yoga.
As we all know, toxins are found almost everywhere. When a person is exposed to toxins, it affects the balance of the chemicals in his brain and would not let him sleep very well, as it creates stress and anxiety in a person’s mind.
Reducing Stress Level and Pain
By engaging in yoga, it has been proven that it helps lower and reduce the stress levels and anxiety, which would then allow the person to experience restorative sleep.
Another reason why people experience difficulty in sleeping is the feeling of pain. One may suffer pain on his back, legs, joints, and other body parts.
It has been suggested that when a person experiences pain which keeps them awake at night, instead of using painkillers or other medicines that they thought will help them sleep, they must indulge in some yoga poses.
When being consistent, yoga activity has been proven to provide significant relief from pain. Since practicing yoga poses require a person to perform slow and steady movements, they can increase the blood flow to the joints and the muscles. Therefore, the body will develop more its natural healing powers.
Building Strength in Joints
Aside from healing, yoga poses and movements also build joint strength. It engages muscles contraction. Other benefits of yoga include the healing of the damaged tissues
When the pain is reduced or removed, a person can now enjoy a peaceful sleep.
Not only does yoga help relieve muscle or body pains, it can as well reduce and pacify headaches and migraines. We all know that headaches and migraines promote sleeplessness.
Yet, yoga can do the trick or may be a cure or an immediate relief. Practicing yoga can cause the relaxation of the blood vessels in the head so as to stop the intense throbbing sensations. Once these uncomfortable feeling stops, a person can already sleep well.
Sleep Inducing Methods
Practicing yoga and meditation are natural sleep-inducing methods that can help a person get a sound sleep for eight hours every night at a fixed time. Regular practice of yoga can, likewise, set an appropriate and practical body clock schedule which enables a person to wake up feeling energized.
Finally, utilizing yoga harmonizes a person’s body functions and connects them with his inner self, including his mind and soul. Doing this, it enables them to enter the state of calmness and serenity.
If a person wants to relax or sleep, through yoga and meditation, the person’s mind and body and soul unifies altogether to let you sleep well, which may improve your health as a result.
Tips and reminders for yoga being a solution for insomnia
There are several ways on how to get your bedtime yoga routine effective.
First, you have to create a healthy sleep environment with a comfortable temperature and ambience.
Second, you must make sure that the room is without any electronics or devices which can distract you from focusing and sleeping. You can also use candles or fill the room with air coming from diffuser with essential oils to make your room have a relaxing aroma.
Third, bedtime yoga routine can also be done in a room with dim lighting and background music. It can help you sleep. You just have to block out noises with your DIY [do it yourself] strategies.
Finally, your bedtime yoga routine must be set in an attainable time, even if it is only for a few minutes, so that you will have plenty of time to complete your chosen practice. You can now sleep at your designated bedtime.
In choosing your yoga practice, you should opt for the slower types of yoga such as hatha, yin, or restorative, or focus on yoga routines or postures which are calming.
Depending on your own preference, you may want to avoid yoga practices which require poses that are active and intense.
At the end of your session, make sure that you continue your breathing exercises. It will settle your body, thus, promoting quality sleep.
Examples of Yoga Poses to help curb your insomnia
Standing Bend Pose
Legs Up Wall Pose
Reclining Butterfly Pose
For people who have difficulties in sleeping or experiencing insomnia, practicing yoga before bed may be the answer to your problem in getting a peaceful and deeper sleep.
The relaxing poses of these yoga routines help relieve all the stress, tension, and anxiety. It will bring you the relaxation your body needs and to rejuvenate the same afterwards.
Of course, in engaging in yoga, you have to stay consistent in performing the exercises regularly for better and more effective results.
You can also document your progress to see which routine or practice benefits you the most.