Practicing yoga is good for the mind and body in many ways. While it is wonderful for improving flexibility, core strength and reducing stress it can also help with sleep issues such as insomnia. People who are insomniacs have praised yogafor helping them improve their sleep.
Yoga for insomniacsis said to help people fall asleep quicker, improve sleep quality and help them fall asleep if they happen to wake up throughout the night.
A study by Harvard Medical School showed practicing yoga on a daily basis can change the sleep habits of those who suffer from insomnia.
The study also showed improvements in both the amount of sleep people got as well as the quality. Improvements that were observed were:
- Increased sleep time
- Better sleep quality
- Less time spent awake
- Shorter time needed to fall asleep
- Shorter wake times when woken up during sleep
The Effects of Yoga for Insomniacs
Practicing yoga regularly helps the create focus on your breathing pattern and how your body feels and moves. Every yoga pose should have you feeling a subtle pressure building in a particular area of your body through stretching and breathing. The following poses are meant to bring a deep and relaxing effect which can help with poor sleep habits or insomnia. Yoga also allows a person to destress and wind down before attempting to sleep so the chances of a deep and quality rest are increased.
The Ways That Yoga Works Against Insomnia
1. Reduces Stress
Insomnia is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sleep issues in adults, but it is one of the most common ones. It is said that almost 40% of adults in the United States may have it as a sleep disorder. While not getting proper sleep leaves us weary, it also can lead to other physical and mental health issues. People with insomnia often suffer from intense feelings of stress, depression and various forms of anxiety as well.
Yoga can be used to help minimize some of these troubling issues that often come with insomnia. It can be used to decrease stress and offer a mind/body experience that is meant to blend both mental and physical efforts helping the participant find peace for sleep.
There is not a specific type of yoga that has to be done. The goal is to spend time holding postures, sitting in a position for proper meditation, and doing the deep breathing exercises to make sure you are aware of your breathing and the calming effect it has on your body and mind. Destressing through yoga with its proper breathing techniques is going to help combat insomnia.
2. Regulation of Your Nervous System
Yoga is well known for its ability to reduce stress levels, but it also can help stabilize your nervous system. One of the reasons that people have sleep problems is they often suffer from an issue called hyperarousal. This is what many know as the fight or flight response. When we are confronted by things that make us fearful our body has to decide whether to fight or flee.
Those with insomnia have a system that is always in this hyperactive mode and is elevated. It is a significant issue because they can not turn it off for even the most basic of situations such as a work deadline or a small argument with a family member. The hyperactive arousal is on a feedback loop in their mind constantly.
Even when tired, an insomniac's nervous system can keep them awake for long periods of time. When this fight or flight responseis happening, yoga can help people calm down and bring them back to a normalized response. Yoga helps control the overreaction.
Yoga prompts the parasympathetic nervous system to help you fall asleep and then makes sure you can stay asleep to get the rest needed. Practicing yoga in the evening can help your body and mind work to activate the sympathetic nervous system which will in turn help in the relaxation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Insomnia often stems from anxiety and stress which can be caused by upheaval or a lack of ability to deal with change. Practising yoga every day overcomes this ambiguity and means there is always something familiar to aim for and accomplish.
A routine is established and reduces stress while also effectively helping diminish anxiety before bedtime. Yoga is meant to help you listen to your body through breathing and body awarenessso it helps you look forward to your yoga and focus on a set routine every day.
Final Thoughts on Yoga for Insomniacs
Insomnia does not just affect your nighttime hours but daytime as well.
Trying to cope and get through the day while feeling aggravated and exhausted is no way to go through life. People with chronic insomnia sometimes often find that they come down with various medical conditions or exacerbate ones they have due to the sleep issue.
This means it is important to find a healthy way to deal with it. While some need medical intervention and medication, others can try to use lifestyle adaptations to work on a long term answer to their insomnia.
Practising yoga on a regular basis can help do this. It is not only going to help with insomnia, but it is going to help decrease stress, anxiety and other issues tied to lack of sleep and a an anxious lifestyle. The key to battling insomnia by practising yoga is to do it regularly and keep to a routine so your body adapts and can begin to change any ingrained stress patterns.
Change in your sleep patterns may not be evident right away but it will not take long to feel that you are starting to fall asleep quicker, for longer periods of time and in a deeper capacity. You will be waking up feeling refreshed in no time. Practicing yoga offers the chance for a great sleep.