Improve Your Sleep With Yoga
A good night's sleep is a treasure that money can't buy. Without good sleep, life just isn't worth living. You can't expect to look as good as you should, be in a happy mood and have a fabulous sex life if you lack quality sleep. Sleeplessness or insomnia affects many people. Some of the factors are: a change in one's sleeping environment; doing shift work; pain; anxiety or depression; various illnesses including those caused by breathing problems and urinary difficulties. This can lead to chronic fatigue, low energy levels, moodiness, being unproductive and lack of motivation.
Yoga is one of the few physical activities that promotes whole-body wellness - both physically and psychologically, without any imbalances. This creates perfect harmony between the mind, body and the universe around you.
It has been claimed that on average, for every minute you do yoga you will need one minute less of sleep. Practicing yoga is an excellent time investment,not only for health benefits, but also for sleep.
Yoga can affect the quality of your sleep. Certain poses affect the nervous system and balance the hormones in your brain, which can normalize your sleep cycle. Practicing yoga postures improves blood circulation throughout the body, nourishing all your organs, tissues and nerves.
Yoga relieves stress and tension which is a common factor in sleep disorders. When your mind keeps thinking thoughts of negativity, it becomes hard to fall asleep.
Try to wake up and go to bed around the same time every night.
Engage in regular exercise throughout the day. This helps tire out the body.
Avoid exercising too close to bedtime.
Avoid any stimulating substances, such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine close to bedtime. This also includes certain medications, such as antidepressants, decongestants, pain pills, diet pills, cold/allergy medications and sinus remedies. These can cause or worsen insomnia.
Try to relax and avoid anxiety and keep calm before bedtime. Take a warm bath, and have a cup of Chamomile or Lavender tea (caffeine free). Valerian can also be taken to significantly improve quality of sleep without any side effects.
Yoga can help induce deep relaxation as well as improve your mental and physical well being.
These are 5 Yoga poses that can help relax you in order to fall asleep. Cat Stretch, Legs Up, Plough Pose, Seated Forward Bend, and Downward Dog.
- Reduces tension build up and promotes deep relaxation.
- Facilitates deep breathing, therefore enhances oxygen throughout the body's tissues.
- Gives a therapeutic stretch to your arms, legs and torso muscles.
- keeps your spine flexible.
Steps for Cat Stretch
- Get on your hands and knees. Relax your face and shoulders.
- Make sure your hips are above your knees and your shoulders are above your wrists.
- on an exhalation, lower your head and tuck you hips down and round your back.
- Hold this position for a few breathes.
- Inhale and resume starting position.
- On your next inhale, slowly tilt your head backward and raise out one leg.
- Hold this position for a few breathes.
- Resume starting position.
- Repeat with other leg.
- On an exhalation, lower your head, bend one leg and bring the knee towards your forehead. Hold this posture for a few seconds. Then repeat this on other leg.
- You can repeat this sequence as many times as you like.
- Rest in child's Pose when done.
This Pose soothes the nervous system. it also promotes harmony and deep relaxation of the body and mind.
Steps for Legs Up Pose
- Bend your legs so that you can move your body into a 90 degree angle with your torso against a wall.
- Relax your arms away from your sides and close your eyes.
- As you inhale, bring in positive thoughts and qualities you desire.
- As you exhale, visualize releasing all tension and anxiety.
- Try to sink your body closer to the floor.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 as long as you wish.
- Slowly come out of this pose.
- Helps relieve stress and any sleeping disorders when practised on a regular basis.
- It stimulates the spinal nerves
- It increases the blood supply and provides healthy nourishment for your internal organs.
- It improves overall blood circulation within the body.
- It strengthens your spine and back.
- It helps to develop mental poise and inner balance.
Steps for Plough Pose
- Lie on your back.
- Using your abdominal muscles, lift your legs over your head until your toes touch the floor behind your head.
- Interlace your fingers behind your and straighten your arms along the floor.
- Roll the skin of your shoulders underneath you.
- Keep hips lifted. Hips should be in line with the shoulders.
- You can bend at the knees.
- You can work legs into lotus position and hold you knees. Stay in this pose for 5 breaths.
- Curl legs in and hold for 5 breaths.
To come out of the pose, roll out gently one vertebrae at a time, while keeping your legs straight and your feet together.
This Pose helps with any breathing problems that you might have. It drains away any mucus that has accumulated in the airways and relieves congestion. It also relieves fatigue and stretches the back and leg muscles. Especially your hamstrings.
Steps for Downward Dog
- Start in an all-fours position, on your hands and knees.
- Feet should be hip width apart, hands shoulder width apart and fingers spread apart.
- Slide the shoulders back and away from your ears.
- Pull your stomach in.
- Gaze between your feet.
- Hold this pose for 5 breaths.
Seated Forward Bend
This pose stretches the back, shoulders, spine and hamstrings. It eases menstrual discomfort. Benefits the kidneys, liver, ovaries and uterus. It tones and massages your whole pelvic area and stimulates your digestive system. It soothes anxiety and helps with insomnia.
Steps for Seated Forward Bend
- Sit on a mat with legs stretched out in front of you.
- Bend forward from the hips as you exhale.
- Arms come forward and reach for your toes or wrap your hands around feet. keep your chest forward.
- Bending at the knees is an option if you have tight hamstrings.
- Keep legs activated and flexed.
- Shoulders should be relaxed and away from the ears.
- Inhale as you lengthen, exhale as you come up.
- Hold this pose for 5 breaths.
- Yoga for Insomnia Video
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