Yoga to Ease Insomnia and Improve Sleep
Insomnia, difficulty sleeping, and sleep deprivation are common problems. Our lives are extremely fast-paced and our senses are subject to constant stimulus. Trouble sleeping is something I hear on a weekly basis from friends, students, and family. Many of us struggle with anxiety, racing thoughts before bed, and general restlessness that makes sleeping difficult.
The Center for Disease Control have called sleep deprivation in America a public health crisis, with 80% of Americans reporting some sort of sleep problem at least once a week. Yikes!
Here are a few tips from your pal Amanda:
The breathing techniques we practice in yoga can be helpful in slowing down the mind and calming the nervous system, as can be an evening yoga practice. While you may not always have time to get to a yoga studio after work, we can all make time for a simple 10 minute practice to calm the body before we prepare for rest.
A more activating practice (or exercise in general) is better done in the morning or several hours before bed, and of course, may help improve sleep in and of itself! The postures outlined below focus on soothing and relaxing postures that are well-suited for anytime just before bed.
**Without going into detail, a few other tips for a good night of rest include keeping a consistent schedule, keeping the temperature of your room cool, and avoiding screens in the bedroom (buy an alarm clock!). Going outside when you wake up is also a healthy way to tap into your circadian rhythm. Small investments like a sleep mask, a noise machine, quality sheets, and enhancements like a quality fan to keep your room cool at night can all have a meaningful impact. Make your bedroom an enjoyable and inviting place to sleep.
Lastly, setting an intention for sleep can be powerful. For the past year and a half I think to myself, “I sleep in a way that is nourishing” when I go to bed. That simple intention seems to have a meaningful impact on my body and bedtime routines.
Longer Exhales than Inhales
Seated Forward Fold
Modified Fire Log (also known as Seated Figure-4)
Spinal Twist (Human Wash Cloth)
Legs Up The Wall
Martin Kirk, Brooke Boon, and Daniel DiTuro. 2006. Hatha Yoga Illustrated.
Jack Pine & Thyme
Comfort & Cashmere Images