How natural yoga poses help you get a good night’s sleep
There are many benefits of yoga. From managing anxiety to different muscle ailments, yoga helps the body regain balance through the practice of deep breathing, mental focus, relaxation and strengthening the body’s core.
One of the amazing benefits of yoga is the treatment of insomnia. Sleeplessness or insomnia is when a person is unable to sleep for days or even weeks; the body needs sleep in order to recuperate and regenerate different tissues and cells. Insomnia should not be overlooked; if untreated this could lead to memory loss, dysfunction of the cognitive system and immune deficiencies to name a few. Yoga can help bring back natural sleep without the use of medications that could inevitably lead to terrible complications.
Baxter Bell, MD, has studied the effects of yoga and has dealt with patients that complained about sleeplessness and how to treat insomnia. He mentions in his post in the Yoga Journal that research has indicated that yoga can indeed help people suffering from insomnia simply because the three main reasons for developing insomnia in the first place – stress, anxiety and depression – may be diminished with the use of regular practice of yoga.
Dr. Bell highlights the following in his post:
Stress, anxiety, and depression are the major causes of insomnia and yoga has been known to treat these conditions through regular practice. Yoga also helps with increased arousal of a person’s cognitive function hence the mind wakes up and is very busy right when a person tries to fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night.
Insomnia is very common in menopausal women and studies show that by practicing yoga in the evening just before sleeping could significantly decreased the occurrence of insomnia.
Yoga will be able to help people from all walks of life to manage insomnia however it must be done under the guidance of a skilled yoga instructor. The exercises should also be done regularly to be able to reap the wonderful effects of yoga to the body.
What is the best yoga pose then for insomnia?
Dr. Bell further explains that a variety of yoga poses actually helps practitioners with insomnia. Here are some strategies that you may try out:
- Active yoga practice in the early morning is the best for insomnia sufferers but this is so IF your energy level permits it. A vigorous Asana yoga practice is highly recommended so you can gently move and loosen up physical tension after a poor night’s sleep
- In the evening you may use a gentler yoga practice to prepare for sleep time. Choose poses that will help you quiet down like calm breathing practices. Yoga Nigra could help calm you down and shift your nervous system from an aroused state to a calm state.
- If you awaken in the middle of the night you should perform breath awareness exercises. These exercises include deep breathing techniques while lengthening exhalation. Do this in pursed lips and be mindful of your breathing as air moves in and out of your lungs. You will soon be able to return back to sleep after performing these exercises.
Other than these yoga exercises, you may also perform the following techniques:
Keep away from work and other active activities just before going to sleep. So turn off the TV, computer and gaming consoles. Transform your room into a place of solace and associate your bedroom only for sleep.
One of the most common culprits of lack of sleep is the type of mattress you are using. An old mattress could be lumpy and deformed and hence could lead to poor sleep. Consider replacing your mattress with a new and more comfortable one to help you fall asleep better.
What sleeping position do you prefer? Do you sleep on your back or do you sleep on your side? You may try using special pillows to help you sleep like a pillow for side sleepers. There are different brands of pillows, choose the best pillow for side sleepers that could help you sleep comfortably. This kind of pillow helps induce sleep especially in pregnant women; side sleeping pillow will also help reduce pain and discomfort that is common in pregnancy and thus should be considered by pregnant women especially those nearing their term.
Eating the right kind of food before sleeping could help. Foods like turkey and wheat bread are great examples of food rich in tryptophan which helps the body secrete chemicals that induce sleep.
A relaxing warm bath or soak may also help. You can soak in warm water with natural oils at least an hour or two before bedtime. Perform this regularly with yoga exercises to be able to curb insomnia for good.