The US is in the midst of a sleep epidemic, with over half the population acknowledging that they’ve had a sleep disorder at some point in their lives. This could be a bad time of year to be getting that news. While the holidays can be a great time for catching up with family, the travel, stress, and unfamiliar locations sometimes lead into an even greater pit of sleep debt to dig yourself out of. So how do we deal with something as invasive as sleep problems? You probably don’t want to spend a ton of money, or take sleeping pills that will leave you feeling zonked out in the morning, so what’s a great natural way to lead yourself to the best sleep of your life? It turns out the answer could be yoga.
It’s obvious to anyone who’s tried it that yoga has a beneficial effect on your conscious life, but did you know that those benefits last long after you’ve crawled under your favorite comforter? Yoga works on two fronts. First, on a physical level, it tires muscles, relaxes tension, and gives you a better way in which to fall asleep. Second, on a mental level, it reduces anxiety, focuses your mind, and leads to an overall healthier psychological state that is conducive to sleep. More specifically, here are the scientific ways that a regular yoga routine has been proven to affect your brain and body, getting it in its optimal sleep mode.
Yoga Revives You
This may seem counterintuitive to falling asleep, but a revived body actually responds to calls for sleep better than an overtired one. A “revived” body through yoga is due to the release of toxins stored up in your muscle and tissues, as well as increasing the oxygenation of your blood due to controlled breathing exercises.
One way to stimulate these activities is to do a quick burst of yoga before bed, nothing strenuous, just enough to get your body to respond. The breathing exercises here are the most important thing to focus on. Controlled breathing will help with anxiety and naturally relax those muscles, expunging toxins, and allowing sleep to come more easily.
Yoga Relieves Stress
It’s easy to dismiss anxiety or depression as states of mind, and not physical ailments, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that your mental state has a ton to do with how your physical body responds to stimuli. Stress can compromise your immune system and lead to insomnia. A lot of times these are self fulfilling cycles, the sicker you get, the more stressed you get, the sicker you get, etc.
Yoga represents a great way to break that cycle. Yoga reduces the body’s stress responses, functioning like other self care methods, like socialising with friends, or meditation. By reducing stress and anxiety, you can lower your heart rate, your blood pressure, and even respiration. All this should make sleep come easier and better.
Yoga is Great Nightly Habit
Rituals before bed are important. It’s a signal from your brain to your body that it’s time to unwind and start the sleep process. Adding yoga to this routine can be a great way to naturally calm yourself and start the sleep. It might seem a little simplistic, but try it for a few weeks and see what happens. The results could surprise you. Check back to the blog for even more ways that yoga will help your quest for a great night’s sleep.