Yoga for Better Sleep: Learn Why Bedtime Yoga, Works!
Many individuals have suffered from at least one bout of insomnia or other sleep disorder/disturbance at some point or another in their lives. According to Sleep Foundation, these types of sleep disorders can affect quality, as well as timing or duration of your much needed "beauty sleep".
Cleveland Clinic discusses the most common disorders being insomnia, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy, all of which can impact your life in a not so great way, from school/work performance, mental health issues and even issues with weight control. It's estimated that more then 100 million (yes, you read that right!), do not get adequate sleep, and 70 million suffer from a sleep disorder.
As many of you know, there are few things worse than lying down and trying to get a peaceful night's sleep, only to find you are wide awake, and the night is ticking by, tossing and turning, watching the hours until your day begins go quickly by.
Related Article: What Are Some Of The Best Times To Do Yoga?
What Can You Do?
Truth is, nothing beats talking to a medical professional about your issues first. However there are self help ways you can deal with sleep issues. So if you're someone who suffers from trouble falling asleep, remaining asleep, or difficulty staying awake during the day, we want to offer a natural way to try and combat this.....yoga.
Yoga has been touted, researched, and connected to many issues within our daily lives. It has and is used for many individuals as a form of stress relief, bettering the mind body connection, to even helping relieve minor aches and pains in different areas of your body.
Now let's not get carried away either, styles of yoga like vinyasa or hot yoga are probably not the most notable to wind down with. These styles tend to get your body pumping and sweat ensuing. However, styles of yoga that focus on restorative aspects, like hatha, may be somewhat more reasonable.
What Does The Research Say About Yoga & Sleep?
Incorporating bedtime yoga as part of your nightly routine can make falling into a deep, restful state, easier.
In fact a study conducted of routine yoga in an elderly population found it to be beneficial to achieving good quality sleep as well as improving quality of life.
A systematic review and meta analysis totaling 1832 participants showed positive effects of yoga using PSQI (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) scores in 16 randomized control trials on improving sleep quality.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has even published results of yoga and sleep. According to there data, 55% of individuals who perform yoga found that it helped them get better sleep or "improved" sleep.
Keep in mind, this is just some of the research out there. So how does yoga potentially help with sleep?
Empty Your Mind
A common problem that keeps many people awake at night is a brain that has not adequately wound down from the day before. One of the great aspects of yoga is the focus on mental clarity and peace of mind.
Bedtime yoga will allow you to soothe your mind and set aside time for reflection on the issues that may still be churning through your brain. This nightly routine and enhanced clarity could be just the thing you need to shut down for the day.
An article posted on Johns Hopkins Medicine website discussed yoga for sleep and that there may even be certain postures beneficial to sleep. Evidence does however, suggests that some of the yoga executed for sleep belief may have more to do with yoga's meditative properties.
Which takes us to our next point, and that is decreased anxiety or stress.
Helps Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety
Who hasn't experienced some form of stress in their lives, we certainly don't know anyone. Much of how we deal with and cope with stress determines your outcomes and how you will manage your next anxious moment. Most likely, everyone and anyone can recall a time where they were lying in bed, and all of a sudden, their mind starts racing with crazy thoughts and worries that can leave us red-eyed the following morning.
One of the great things about yoga that makes it the perfect activity before going to bed is, its ability to lower cortisol levels within the body. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is well known to be elevated in depression, according to one study. This same study concluded that yoga may actual act at the level of the hypothalamus by it's "anti-stress" effects and reduction of serum cortisol levels.
This may help ensure that you won't be plagued by anxiety when you lie down at night.
As we use our bodies throughout the day, we create tension in our various muscle groups, not just our minds. When we lay down at night and try to go to bed, this tension may create discomfort that makes it hard for us to relax and sleep.
This is where utilizing yoga for better sleep is critical. Performing poses that target and release specific areas of tension can lead to a state of better relaxation. This is essential when trying to have a restful night’s sleep.
According to KidsHealth.org yoga does just the opposite of stress, it promotes relaxation. Yoga itself can affect different "aspects of ourselves affected by stress: our body, our mind, and breathing". One of the great aspects of yoga is it's ability to be individualized. You don't have to be a contortionist here, a complete beginner yogi can still find a niche within this practice and then build upon their foundation.
Improve Your Breathing
One problem that can leave you feeling exhausted in the
morning is problems breathing while you sleep. Sleep apnea and other
breathing-related issues are all a result of breathing incorrectly. One of the
fundamental elements of yoga is practicing mindful breathing.
Doing this on a
nightly basis before bed will make for a more restful and relaxing sleep. One of the more common forms of breathing patterns known for it's gentled nature is Ujjayi Breath, also called Ocean Breath.
This is just a sample of the ways that performing yoga for
better sleep can provide a more relaxing and enjoyable night of rest. Taking
just a few moments each night to perform bedtime yoga will allow your mind and body to
wind down and prepare for a better rest cycle, naturally.
By using the power of bedtime yoga, you can make sure that your mind is recharged and ready when you wake up the next day. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave comments on how yoga has helped you get a better night of rest!