Sleep deprivation and stress are closely linked and can form a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling constantly irritated and tired. What's worse, having sleeping problems night after night will leave you feeling more frustrated and anxious about bedtime - which makes it even harder for you to calm your mind enough to fall asleep.
This is where yoga comes in. Because of its combination of physical exertion and relaxing meditation, yoga is a great way for you to improve the quality of your sleep as well as improving the duration of your sleeping hours by helping you to fall asleep faster.
So how exactly does it work? Well, there are lots of ways that yoga can help your sleeping pattern by relaxing both body and mind. Here's how:
1. It tires out your body
Because yoga can be physically challenging, it can cause physical fatigue. This is partly why yoga improves sleep as it tires your body out making it easier for you to fall asleep. When your muscles get tired, it’s easier for your body to fall asleep – which is half of the battle.
But because certain sleep disorders such as sleep apnea occur when the body begins to fall asleep but the mind is still active, it’s crucial that you do an exercise that not only calms your body but also your mind. This brings us to the next point:
2. It calms your mind
The meditative side of yoga allows you to relax and de-stress, making it easier for our minds to wander to sleep at night.
Although anxiety and stress are mental states of unease, they do lead to several physical issues including the difficulty to fall sleep. Yoga is perfect for stress relief and the meditation involved helps clear the mind. By doing yoga for 10 minutes such as these 15 calming yoga poses every night before bed, you'll see exactly how yoga can improve your sleep.
If you’re not up for a full routine of yoga poses, you can also try practicing mindfulness meditation. It involves learning to accept your thoughts, emotions, and feelings and relies on you to develop an awareness of the sensations you’re experiencing in the present, which is extremely relaxing and calming.
However, the caveat here is that while meditation is great for unwinding your mind, it doesn’t tire out your body. If you're not willing to try yoga, try to add mindfulness meditation to your existing workout plan to balance both your physical and mental exercises.
3. It relaxes the nervous system
To increase blood flow to the brain’s sleep centre and decrease activity in the nervous system, try yoga poses such as uttanasana, halasana, and savasana to your nightly pre-sleep ritual. These particular poses will help relax your nervous system and encourage your mind to unwind from your day's tension.
4. Yoga revives your body
The breathing rhythms involved in your yoga routine will help increase the oxygen levels in your blood and eliminate toxins, all of which contribute to rejuvenating your body. By focusing on your breathing you distract yourself from regular, daily worries and reduce anxiety and stress.
Here are some pre-sleep yoga poses you can try before bedtime:
- Balasana (child's pose)
- Janu Sirsasana (head-to-knee pose)
- Baddha Konosana (bound angle pose)
The benefits of yoga are numerous; not only does it help improve sleeping problems such as insomnia, but it also improves physical strength and flexibility, breathing, mental focus and can also reduce stress.
Of course, even if you do plenty of yoga in your calming bedtime routine, you’re good night’s sleep is only ever going to be as good as the bed you sleep in. If you think you’ve tried every hack under the sun for a better night’s sleep, take a look at our amazing Sonno mattress and see how we could give you a more comfortable night’s sleep!