Yoga has become one of the fastest growing forms of exercise in recent years. However, people for centuries have practiced this unique form of exercise.
Yoga has many health benefits associated with it, but getting better sleep is one that has been overlooked by many. People who practice yoga get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer especially if they do it before they lay down for bed.
What is Yoga?
In essence, Yoga is an age-old practice of mindfulness. Every aspect of yoga has something to do with how you are moving, breathing or thinking. In practice, yoga is a combination of body positions, guided breathing and meditation.
Together these form an exercise aimed at releasing energy and making you aware of your body, your mind, and the space around you. Those who practice it on a daily basis report sleeping better, stress relief, and a sense of inner peace.
While stretching is vital to practicing yoga, another major portion of the exercise has to do with meditation. Meditation is the act of being aware of your inner self. Some might think that meditation is intended to induce sleepiness, but the practice is actually quite mentally active. Meditation is both about concentration and relaxation at the same time.
The two concepts work in harmony to relax and create awareness. This makes it great to do before bed because you can “meditate” on a problem instead of tossing and turning in bed trying to think about it.
How Yoga & Sleep Play Well Together
When you want to go to sleep, your body has to be ready. Excessive stress can cause you to stay awake by not letting your mind relax. Yoga combines the benefits of stretching to relieve tension and allows you to step away from the day allowing you to relax your body and mind before hitting the sheets.
By not thinking about work and focusing on the yoga positions, breathing and relaxing, sleep is only a matter of minutes away. In addition to detaching your mind from the day, yoga’s stretching will ease any tension that you’ve accumulated.
You’ll find it easier to get comfortable for falling asleep. On top of that, yoga also normalizes your sleep schedule naturally. In one study published in the journal “Frontiers of Psychology” menopausal women were found to sleep better by practicing yoga every day.
How to Use Yoga to Your Benefit
The hour before bedtime is an extremely important time in the day. The things that you do during this time period set you up for what’s going to happen during the night. A ritual before bedtime can help your brain realize it’s time to go to sleep.
It is recommended to unplug from technology for this hour because the Harvard Med School, and many others, found that artificial light from devices could make your brain think that it isn’t time for bed yet. Incorporating yoga into your night with guided breathing will let your mind unwind and relieve the tension from your day.
Find yoga positions that you think are comfortable, relaxing, but still engaging. This is a time for you to expel any stress from the day and guide your mind to restful state.
Do you have favorite yoga positions to relax with at night? Do you use meditation to calm your mind from the day? Let us know in the comments?