5-Minute Workout: Yoga for Better Sleep
Written by Annie Lizstan.
Yoga is one of the oldest practices in the world, with so many incredible benefits to offer regarding general health. According to a national survey, undertaken at the level of the United States, the regular practice of yoga can help people enjoy a better quality of sleep. In fact, over 55% of the yoga users reported improved sleep, which goes to prove how beneficial this practice is. If you are interested in yoga and stretching, all you have to do is keep on reading; discover yoga poses that only requires a couple of minutes of your time, allowing you to stretch every inch of your body. Be sure to inform yourself on other important subjects as well, reading, for example, about the health benefits of drinking water.
These are some of the best yoga stretches recommended for those who are looking to sleep better at night:
This yoga stretch targets the piriformis muscle in particular, which is located at the level of the hip (deep muscle). You can begin this yoga stretch by assuming the same position as for a push-up. The left knee should be brought near the shoulder, as much it is possible. The other leg should be completely extended, while the weight of the body is supported on the forearms and the toes. Contract the gluteal muscles and feel a tightening sensation at the level of the pelvis. Maintain the yoga stretch for a short period, then return and repeat. Switch sides and repeat.
This yoga stretch targets the muscles of the lower back in particular (lumbar region). You can begin by sitting on the floor, with the knees flexed and the feet on the floor. As you round your back, feel the pelvic floor tightening and try to pull your navel towards the spine. Breathe in and out, pushing with the heels towards the floor. The hands should be kept behind the knees. Maintain the yoga stretch for a little bit, then return and repeat.
This is a good yoga stretch for the abdominal muscles, being suitable for those who suffer from inflammatory conditions as well. Begin by lying on the floor, in pronation. Contract your gluteal muscles, tighten the pelvic floor and raise your arms, until the elbows are slightly extended. Maintain the yoga stretch for a little bit, then return and repeat. Keep in mind that yoga poses, such as this one, can efficiently replace the depression treatment (as they stimulate the release of happiness hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin at the level of the brain).
As the name points out, this yoga stretch targets the hamstring muscles (which are often tight). Begin by lying in supine, with a towel under your head. Raise one leg, with the knee completely extended, and the hands kept at the level of the thigh (hugging the leg). The other leg is extended as well and on the floor. Maintain the yoga stretch for a little bit, then return and repeat. Switch sides and repeat.
This particular yoga stretch is excellent for tight quads and calf muscles. You can begin this stretch by assuming a standing position. Keep your abs tight and your hands resting on the abdomen. Bring one foot forward, with the knee slightly flexed. The other leg is behind, slightly flexed and with the heel raised. Maintain the yoga stretch for a little bit, then return and repeat. Switch sides and repeat.
The quadruped yoga stretch is recommended for those who want to increase flexibility at the level of the shoulder muscles. Begin by kneeling on all fours, with the toes touching the floor. The forehead should be brought towards the floor, while one hand is stretched forward and the other rests on the floor (elbow flexed at a right angle). The shoulders should be pushed down, while the gluteal muscles are contracted. Maintain the yoga stretch for a little bit, then return and repeat. Switch sides and repeat.
Yoga & sleep, a connection confirmed by research studies
According to a doctoral thesis published by Jonathan S. Halpern, the practice of yoga can be used to improve sleep quality and the overall quality of life in adults of older age. Yoga is considered an efficient alternative to medication commonly recommended for insomnia and sleep apnea, which presents a high risk of side-effects and allergic reactions. As opposed to medical treatments, yoga can be practiced with absolute safety and without any additional risks to one’s health.
A study published in Sleep Science and Practice demonstrated that yoga could be used as an efficient method of managing chronic insomnia. The study drew attention to the fact that chronic insomnia is often associated with increased mortality and morbidity; yoga is presented as an alternative to existent forms of treatment, with numerous benefits to offer to patients suffering from insomnia.
Yoga can be an excellent choice for both women and men who suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders. According to a study published in Sleep Medicine, women who suffer from osteoarthritis and sleep disturbances can benefit tremendously from the practice of gentle yoga. The same benefits have been discovered for the male population suffering from chronic insomnia, as it is shown in a study published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research.
If you are suffering from insomnia and other sleep disturbances, you should try the yoga stretches included in this article. As you will see for yourself, these stretches do not require more than a couple of minutes of your time, and they have plenty of benefits to offer in return.
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