Difficulty in falling asleep, or to wake up several times during the night may affect many people. I used to have this problem before beginning yoga. Every day I went to bed at different time and I got up at different time. Sometimes I went to bed after midnight and I woke up around 10 am, sometimes at 6 am, sometimes I slept more than 8 hours, sometimes 5 hours… My energy levels dropped and I didn’t understand why I was feeling tired and very weak all the time. Now I know the reason. A regular sleep is essential to physical and emotional wellbeing. During my YTT, I started a daily routine. I went to bed before 10 pm, I woke up before 6 am. Every day I had meals at the same time, I practiced yoga every morning and afternoon…
Good quality sleep is the best relaxation and overall regeneration for body and mind. Deep sleep rejuvenates the immune and muscular system, regrow tissues, improves the function of brain and organs, and increases physical energy. Sleep is a prerequisite for not getting sick and tired, rebuilds us, and keeps us youthful. Restful sleep is an important component of a balanced lifestyle.
Sleep affects our body, health, mind, behavior, emotions, and all these factors in turn affect our sleep. Insufficient sleep causes stress, anxiety, depression, and health problems, including headaches, lapses of memory, muscle ache, diabetes
Stress, anxiety, depression activate the sympathetic nervous system, known as “the fight or flight”, which makes us agitated and leads to insomnia. However by practicing yoga, we can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, known as “rest and digest” which brings our body from aroused state to a state of regeneration and rest.
In sleep, which is a form of meditation, we renew our vitality and “digest” of daily experiences. It can be said that much or little sleep is unhealthy. Excessive sleep and sleep during the day increases heavy energy and blocks the channels through which prana (life force) flows. An exception is a ten to fifteen minute rest after lunch, especially on the left side, which makes digestion easier.
Conversely, less sleep causes stress. We should lie down by 10 pm, we should wake up in energy time before 6 am. Doing this after a period of a couple weeks, you may wake up naturally without an alarm.
Insomnia often comes from stress. When overstimulated by stress, we become disconcerted, which makes it difficult to fall asleep. As a result, we become unbalanced and more vulnerable to the stress that caused the problem to begin with.
Chronic sleep deprivation leads to a number of health problems, including immune disorders, depression and chronic pain Yoga reduces stress, especially lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol and relieves muscle tension.
Most of us need around eight hours of quality sleep to function properly.
How to heal insomnia or insufficient sleep
- Regular sleep. Establish your regular bedtime and wake-up time. The best time for rejuvenation and hormonal secretion is during 10 pm and 2 am.
- Apply warm sesame oil to your feet and head and massage them before going to bed.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Notice what you eat. Certain food can affect your sleep. Try to eat small amounts of easily digestible food and no later than 3 hours before bedtime
- Quit, dark, cool, and comfortable sleep environment. Don’t use your bedroom as a workspace or a place to watch TV. Use it only for sleeping. Avoid having TV, computer, or other electronic devices in your bedroom.
- Avoid pushing yourself to fall asleep. The more you try to fall asleep, the more you cannot. If you can’t sleep, get up, read, meditate,…
- A regular walk. Pay attention to your walk. Notice the sense of contact of your feet with the earth. Become aware of your breathing and the environment around you.
- Listen to some relaxing music, which calms your mind.
- Focus on your breathing. When you go to bed, lie down on your back into a position of butterfly (supta badha konasana). Put your right hand on the lower abdomen and the left hand on the heart. Concentrate just on your breath
- Yoga. Not only yoga improves health problems, reduces stress, and creates a good mood, but it also helps better sleep. Make meditation your regular evening ritual. Meditation helps induce deep sleep. Twenty minutes of meditation can regenerate and restore your body.
This yoga sequence is deeply calming. It will help you calm your nerves and unwind after a long day.
These poses are good for quieting a mind, which is something you need when preparing to sleep
A position that brings calmness to your brain and relieves body of stress
To ease tension in hips, create calmness in mind and body is what we need to get a good sleep
This pose stretches hamstrings, shoulders and spine, which gets you into an even deeper state of relaxation that is good for sleeping
Feet leaning against the wall allow release a tension in legs and the body comes into a deep relaxation