Sleep disorders like insomnia are inevitable in some form or another in the stress-filled, caffeine-driven world we live in. It is so important to do what we can to increase the hours of quality sleep we get and exercise our minds and bodies.
While you may be familiar with some of the more conventional benefits of yoga, like increased flexibility, better focus and mental clarity and calmness, did you know that yoga is also a great way to help relieve the symptoms of insomnia?
Why sleep deprivation is dangerous to your health
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep.
There are many serious side effects to this lack of sleep, both mental and physical. After a night of no sleep, you may start to feel a little down and drowsy during the day. Lack of sleep over a longer term can affect your health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
It’s important to do what you can to reduce these symptoms and yoga is a great place to start.
1. Yoga rejuvenates the body
There are two main ways that yoga helps to revive the body. The first is that it helps to release toxins that can become stored in organs and tissues, allowing the body to recover better. The second is the increase of oxygen due to the complex breathing exercises associated with yoga, which is vital to replenishing the body.
Yoga also unwinds the central nervous system. The increase in oxygen and movement increases blood flow to the brain’s central sleep centre and aids in releasing the hormones that are essential to sleep.
2. Yoga relieves stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety are states of unease within the body and they have many physical implications, including issues with your immune system, digestion and sleep.
We’re not claiming that yoga is a solution to your stress and anxiety, but studies prove that physical exercise and meditation can help to relieve some of these symptoms, which are also proven to prevent sleep or reduce your sleep quality. Yoga reduces the body’s natural stress responses and lowers heart rate, blood pressure and respiration.
3. Yoga improves the quality of your sleep
Practising yoga regularly not only improves your ability to fall asleep, but it also heightens the quality of that sleep when you finally drop off. According to studies, it can also help reduce the number of times you wake up in the night, the duration of time between waking and the total amount of time you sleep each night. Low impact exercise offers both physical and mental benefits – like a reduction in stress and anxiety – both essential to better sleep. Most of the body’s recovery takes place during sleep and yoga helps to ensure your body can take advantage of this important time.
Make yoga part of your routine
Do you often find yourself stuck to your phone or television just before bed, followed by hours of tossing and turning? The blue light emitted by screens is bad for the brain. It mimics daylight and confuses the brain and central nervous system, which then releases cortisol – the ‘stress’ hormone. This in turn prevents your brain and body from fully relaxing and shutting down enough to sleep.
Instead of scrolling before bed, try doing a few yoga poses before you want to sleep. Incorporating yoga into your bedtime routines helps you to release tension and get into the relaxed frame of mind that’s necessary for sleeping.
Author Bio: Katie McGarr is a daytime writer for Osprey Spa, an exquisite spa hotel in Naas Co. Kildare, providing a plethora of luxurious treatments that promises a restorative experience to their patrons. This health-conscious foodie loves sharing friendly tips about health, fitness, and mindfulness.