In the UK, the popularity of yoga is catching on. It’s estimated that as many as 500,000 Britons are enjoying the practice. On top of that, “yoga” is currently ranked among the 15 most used words in the UK.
Along with the other benefits, you may be wondering if practicing yoga can help you have a better night’s sleep.
It most certainly can!
There are several ways that yoga can help relax your body and help you get the sleep you need. Let’s look at the benefits of doing yoga for insomnia.
The Right Style of Yoga for Insomnia
Approximately 16 million adults in the UK suffer from sleepless nights. Rather than taking medication, wouldn’t you love a more natural way to enjoy a good night of restful sleep?
Practicing yoga for insomnia can help you do just that.
However, you have to choose the right type of yoga. Some kinds of yoga (like hot yoga and Vinyasa) are more designed for exercise and to get your heart pumping.
Types of yoga for better sleep are those that are more focused on meditation and relaxation. Both Hatha yoga and Nidra yoga are better for this. These types focus more on body position and breathing.
Now let’s find out what benefits of yoga help you sleep better.
1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
One of the big reasons that many people love yoga is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. The effect is so powerful that this study found a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression in a sample of Iranian women after just 12 sessions of Hatha yoga.
Yoga helps you to set aside the worries of the day and focus on your body. During mindful meditation, you’ll focus on how your body feels and where it hurts.
Focused breathing helps to relax the muscles that are balled up in knots. You’ll be amazed at how something so simple can help release tension and make your worries fall away.
2. Calm the Nervous System
Being stressed out all the time does more than make your neck and shoulders more knotty than a pine tree. It can also keep your body in a constant state of arousal, or “fight or flight”.
In fact, hyperarousal is a common problem among insomniacs and is likely a major contributing factor to their sleep problems.
Perhaps you had a stressful event early in your day, like a big project at work or a fight with a loved one. This event will naturally stimulate your nervous system and put you in a state of arousal. The problem is that some people have a hard time calming down again afterward.
Yoga gives you the tools to help calm the nervous system. Once your body has reached what should be its normal, more relaxed state, you’ll find that it’s easier to quiet your mind and go to sleep.
In addition to helping you get to sleep, a calm nervous system helps you stay asleep. You may fall asleep out of pure exhaustion without calming your system, but it’s unlikely you stay asleep for long or that it will be restful.
3. Creates a Relaxing Routine
If stress is a constant way of life for you (as it is for many people today), yoga is a relaxing routine that can help you prepare for sleep each night. It helps you become more in tune with your body and understand what it needs to relax.
There are plenty of tips out there for insomniacs, like don’t use electronic devices before bed, or take a relaxing shower. Those things help, but unless you learn what works best for your body, you still won’t sleep well constantly.
Doing yoga before bed is an excellent tool to add to your arsenal. Plus, while you’re focusing on your body, you’ll learn other things it needs to fully relax and sleep deeply.
You don’t have to do it every night to enjoy the benefits. For most people, a few times a week has positive benefits on their sleep every night. But you might look forward to the practice so much that making it a nightly ritual becomes a priority.
4. Calm Your Thoughts
The meditative part of yoga is extremely helpful in calming your thoughts. Many people struggle to sleep because their mind is still going a million miles an hour.
Physically slowing down and relaxing helps you to mentally slow down and relax as well. Push away all the business of the day and learn to dwell in the moment.
Combine yoga practice with the right environment. Put on some relaxing music, light a scented candle that you enjoy, and dim the lights. Give yourself the space and the tools to calm your mind and you’ll be falling asleep before you know it!
5. Replenish the Body
The cells in your body need oxygen to function at their best. The deep breathing exercises common in yoga are great for relaxing and helping your muscles unwind. But they also help flood your body with oxygen and replenish cells that may be lacking this necessary component.
Do a few poses before bed to help your body relax and be sure to focus on your breathing. You’ll be nodding off in no time!
Ready for a Good Night’s Sleep?
Sleep is important. Anyone who has ever struggled through a sleepless night is well aware of how negatively the lack of sleep affects the mind and body.
The goods news is that yoga for insomnia works. You don’t have to take pills or spend thousands of dollars on therapy. You can simply take a few classes and learn to incorporate the poses and meditation into your nightly routine.
To get started with yoga classes, contact us today!