A good night’s rest is always a treasure. Without being well rested, life can be depressing and you may not look as well as you ought to look, your moods aren’t as happy, and your sex life isn’t nearly as fabulous if you’re not getting quality sleep.
The fact is that insomnia and sleeplessness affect many people. What causes them? Among other things, changing one’s sleeping environment, pain, doing shift work, depression or anxiety, illnesses like those resulting from breathing trouble, and urinary problems. The results? Low energy levels, chronic fatigue, moodiness, a lack of motivation, and being unproductive.
Yoga is one of few activities you can do that promote wellness on a whole-body level, psychologically and physically, without imbalances. The result is perfect harmony between your mind, your body, and the surrounding universe around you.
3 Ways Yoga Increases Sleep Quality
1. Yoga Reduces Sleep Needs
Some people say that every minute of yoga you do means you need a minute less sleep. This means that practicing yoga is a great time investment both for the health benefits and also for your sleep.
2. Yoga Normalizes Your Sleep Cycle
Yoga affects sleep quality, too. Certain poses will affect your nervous system and balance your brain’s hormones, normalizing your sleep cycle. Practicing yoga will help improve your body’s blood circulation and also nourishes your tissues, organs, and your nerves.
3. Yoga Relieves Stress and Some Sleep Disorders
Practicing yoga goes a long way towards relieving tension and stress, which is a factor common to many sleep disorders. When your mind is stuck on negative thoughts, falling asleep is hard. When you’re relaxed and focusing on pleasant things, falling asleep is much easier.
How To Improve Your Sleep
There are few tips you can follow to improve the quality of your sleep.
- First, try and get to bed and wake up at the same time (more or less) each night. Exercise regularly throughout your day, which helps tire your body out, helps too — but try not to exercise too close to your bedtime.
- Similarly, avoid having anything before bed that’s stimulating (like caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco) and try to avoid medications (like decongestants, antidepressants, diet pills, cold meds, pain pills, or sinus remedies) before bed too.
- Before you go to bed, stay calm, try to relax, and avoid anxiety-provoking situations. A cup of lavender or chamomile tea (both caffeine free) often help. Valerian also significantly improves sleep quality and doesn’t have side effects.
- Lastly, make sure you’re sleeping on a quality bed. Buying a better mattress can do wonders for your sleep — not to mention your sex life.
Which Yoga Poses To Use Before Sleep
Before you go to sleep, try a Cat Stretch or Legs Up. Cat Stretch helps reduce tension that’s built up and also promotes deep relaxation. It facilitates deeper breathing, enhancing oxygen flow through your body’s tissues. It stretches your arms, torso muscles, and legs therapeutically too — plus it keeps your spine flexible.
Legs Up on the other hand helps sooth your nervous system. Plus, it promotes deep relaxation of body and mind, and helps keep you in harmony.
How To Do Cat Stretch
- Get down on your hands and knees. Now, relax your shoulders and your face.
- Make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and your hips are right over your knees.
- On exhale, lower your head down, while tucking your hips down and rounding your back.
- Hold for a few breaths.
- Inhale, then go back to your starting position.
- On the next inhale, tilt your head back slowly, raising out one leg.
- Hold this position a few breaths.
- Go back to the starting position.
- Repeat with another leg.
- On exhale, lower your head down, bend a leg, and then bring your knee to your forehead. Hold a few seconds, and repeat on another leg.
- Repeat the sequence as much as you like.
- Take a rest in the Child’s Pose when you’re done.
How To Do Legs Up (The Wall Pose)
- Start by bending your legs so you’ll be able to move your body and position it in a 90 degree angle while your torso is against a wall.
- Relax your arms, placing them away from your sides, then close your eyes.
- While you inhale, bring in the qualities and positive thoughts you want.
- While you exhale, visualize yourself releasing tension and anxiety.
- Try and sink your body down to the floor.
- Repeat the 3rd and 4th steps as much as you like.
- Slowly come out of the pose.