Yoga is still used for meditation and relaxation 5,000+ years after its development. It can provide many mental and physical benefits. However, I’ve discovered that yoga can also help to improve sleep quality. It’s one of the many options like learning to find the most comfortable mattress for your bed.
Another benefit of yoga I’ve discovered is it helps to clear my mind. This also helps me to catch Zs since the 24/7 nature of the Digital Age can be mentally draining. Let’s take a closer look at yoga, including what it’s about, possible health benefits, and how it can help you to sleep peacefully.
WHAT EXACTLY IS YOGA?
Many of us have heard of yoga and know it’s somehow related to philosophy, meditation and stretching. However, it’s a little more complicated than that. In fact, as always, it’s also helpful to know about the origin of “yoga.”
Yoga’s Multiple Meanings
Before taking up if yoga can help you sleep, it’s important to know the basics of what it’s all about. The word “yoga” has the literal meaning “union.” This is linked to Buddhism’s philosophy of creating balance in one’s life, including physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Another meaning of yoga is it’s what brings people to reality. For example, humans, animals, and plants are all living things. However, they also all originated from one Earth.
Yoga, Union, and Reality
Yoga is about moving to a “reality” to discover what existing is all about. It’s important to keep in mind that yoga isn’t an idea, concept, or philosophy. It’s about knowing who you are. According to Buddhist philosophy this isn’t related to how rich, powerful, or popular you are.
“Modern yoga” was developed by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya in the 1800s. This “holistic” yoga takes more of a lifestyle approach instead of a religious approach. The focus is on the whole routine rather than just physical yoga.
The goal is to apply yoga to a person’s lifestyle. This can include activities throughout the day, such as preparing for bedtime. Several benefits can even help you get better quality sleep.
YOGA REGULATES NERVOUS SYSTEM
Fight or Flight
“Hyperarousal” is a condition that many insomniacs experience at nighttime. Here’s how it works. During the day, we use “fight or flight” responses when we have experiences like meeting deadlines at work or school. However, some people still have high response levels at bedtime.
Yoga is able to help your mind and body to calm down faster. The part of the nervous system related to resting can help you fall asleep faster and then just as importantly—stay asleep.
Poses for Bedtime Relaxation
Particular yoga poses are especially helpful for boosting blood flow to the sleep center of the brain and lowering the nervous system’s activity. Simply do these poses at bedtime to achieve such goals.
The poses can help the mind to unwind after the hustle and bustle of a busy day. In fact, they can provide similar benefits as the best mattresses for a good night’s sleep. For example, memory foam toppers can provide comfort and support to help you doze off faster and experience more deep sleep at night.
YOGA REDUCES STRESS.
Recent research shows that three-quarters of Americans had moderate or high stress levels during the past month, according to The Recovery Village. We all know from personal experience that being stressed out can prevent a good night’s sleep.
Mindfulness and Stress
Various studies show that “mindfulness” can help to reduce the body’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This, in turn, can help you relax and visit dreamland.
The physical benefits of yoga can help lower cortisol levels to improve sleep quality. In fact, studies show it can also help to reduce anxiety and depression, which can be linked to stress levels.
A recent study that included Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) discovered that the deep mental state that a person can achieve via yoga produced many benefits. This included factors like blood sugar, metabolism, and immune system.
How Yoga Helps De-stress
Features like meditation can help to clear your mind. In fact, simply doing yoga poses for 10 minutes can help you sleep better at night. An alternative is “mindfulness meditation,” which you can do without yoga stretching.
YOGA PROVIDES MENTAL STABILITY
This issue is somewhat related to stress and anxiety. However, it is more about your overall mental state. When yoga helps you doze off, there are fewer question marks in your life. You know basically when, how well, and how long you’ll sleep.
Uncertainty: The Snowball Effect
Uncertainty is created when you’re unable to sleep well. You worry about falling asleep. You worry about whether you’ll oversleep. You even worry if you can perform well at work or school the next day.
Yoga can help provide more certainty, which can ultimately help you get more sleep.
Staying in the Moment
While yoga poses can help you to relax before bedtime, you can even go with meditation as a Plan B. This will make it easier for you to “stay in the moment.” Ironically when you accept that you’re still awake, it can help you fall asleep.
The reason is that tossing and turning can be quite stressful. Mindfulness meditation can help you accept that you’re still awake, which can help to prevent feelings of anxiety, stress, and anger about the situation.
YOGA CREATES A SLEEP SCHEDULE
One of the best ways to improve sleep quality is to maintain a sleep schedule. This sleep environment is important for a person’s “sleep hygiene.” A regular sleep schedule can help your internal clock to work better, which can improve sleep quality.
Staying on Schedule
Yoga can help you to maintain a regular sleep routine. You can make it part of your bedtime schedule, which in turn can help you sleep better. You can combine yoga with steps like taking a warm shower, dimming lights, and switching off mobile devices.
More Sleep and Better Sleep
Having a bedtime routine like yoga might help to improve sleep quality and sleep duration. These are both important since the goal is to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep nightly that includes both light rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and deep non-REM sleep.
Adding yoga to one’s sleep routine might be especially helpful for certain people. That includes those who cannot sleep or are light sleepers.
For over 5 millennia, Yoga has provided people with mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. It can also help you to sleep better, like the ability to find the most comfortable mattress.
Yoga can help to reduce stress, regulate the nervous system, and maintain a sleep schedule. After adding yoga to your bedtime routine, it can help you progress from a sleeping pose to the real deal.
Brett is a writer at ID-MAG. An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Brett dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing about both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Brett has probably reviewed them all. Brett also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business which he runs from home, makes sure he spends time with his daughter and he also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep, too!