JACCI GRUNINGER, MS, C-IAYT
Ah… the elusive eight hours. Isn’t that what many of us dream about when we’re not tossing and turning in our sleep? Studies have shown that can reduce the risk of certain cancers, dementia, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even the common cold. You may feel that you lack energy.
Studies show that people who sleep better suffer less from anxiety and are more creative. No more late night high performers boasting that she only gets 4-5 hours of sleep. Times have changed and people are realizing the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
When you fall asleep, your heart rate slows, your breathing slows, and your muscles relax. Sound like a benefit of yoga? Plus, during a good night’s sleep, your body goes into healing mode. Essentially, garbage collectors come and pick up certain proteins and other cellular debris when the brain/body no longer needs them.
The CDC says one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep (CDC Online Newsroom, 2016).
Neuroscientist and yoga teacher Ram Rao writes about six main reasons to improve your sleep.
- Sleep helps the brain retain new information and store it in memory.
- Lack of sleep can lead to accidents, falls and traffic accidents.
- Lack of sleep causes mood disorders.
- Sleep disturbances can cause high blood pressure and arrhythmias.
- Lack of sleep weakens the immune system.
- Lack of sleep triggers weight gain.
The National Health Science Statistics Report on Wellness-Related Activities (No. 85, November 4, 2018) shows that 55% of participants who practiced yoga got better sleep.
There are several reasons why yoga helps you sleep.
- breathing. Breathing is a big part of yoga, and being aware of your breath can calm your mind and body. Deep breathing is beneficial for better sleep.
- Mindfulness/Meditation: Yoga encourages participants to stay in the moment and pay attention to what is happening in their mind and body. Meditation can increase melatonin in the body (Meditation and Its Regulatory Role on Sleep, Ravindra P. Nagendra, Nirmala Maruthai, and Bindu M. Kutty, Frontiers in Nuerology). Melatonin can help you sleep.
- Exercise: Regular exercise or exercise has generally been shown to help sleep. Regular yoga practice can also help you sleep, but doing a strenuous exercise before bed may not be the best idea.
As mentioned earlier, a vigorous yoga practice before bed can be stimulating rather than down-regulating.
When considering the type of yoga you do before bed, consider one of these three styles:
- Restorative Yoga: Props such as blankets, blocks, and bolsters are used to support the body and promote deep relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing.
- Yoga Nidra: Also known as Yoga Sleep, this form of yoga is performed while lying down and uses guided relaxation to leave the senses and fall into a state of deep relaxation while maintaining full awareness.
- Gentle Yoga: A gentle practice that uses simple poses and breathing techniques to relax muscles and connective tissue.
Bedtime Poses for Better Sleep – Constructive Rest
- Props: sturdy chair, pillow or folded towel under head, calming music (optional)
- Place a chair on a carpeted area in your home or on your yoga mat.
- Sit close to the chair with your feet on either side of it.
- Place your legs on the seat of the chair so that your knees and hips are at a 90-degree angle.
- Place your head on a folded towel or pillow.
- Close your eyes and breathe naturally.
- Try to relax your thighs and hips.
- Stay here for 10-15 minutes.
- To come out, bend your knees to your chest and roll to one side. Here he holds 4-6 breaths to balance the blood in his body.
Note: If you have difficulty getting up off the floor, try this on your bed or couch and support your feet with a few pillows.
Breathing Exercises Before Bed for Better Sleep – Left Nostril Breathing
- Sit in a chair, sit on a bed, or lie on a bed.
- Practice full yoga breathing a few times (breathe into your lower abdomen, through your ribs to your collarbone, and fully release from top to bottom).
- Gently place your right thumb in the crease of your right nostril and slowly inhale and exhale through your left nostril.
- Do this for 2-5 minutes, then release your thumbs and inhale through both nostrils.
Jacci Gruninger is a Certified Yoga Therapist, Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Focusing Coach and Facilitated Stretch Practitioner. She regularly helps clients manage the ups and downs of life with yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, concentration, stretching and bodywork.Her wellnessHer center is located at 190 212 Central Park Square. I have. Please visit her website for information on her in-person and online class schedules and other services. www.highmountainwellbeing.com Click here for details.
Young man with open eyes in bed suffering from insomnia and sleep disturbance thinking about his problemsProvided image