Looking for Better Sleep? Try Stepping Up to the Yoga Mat
Whether you’re a yoga master or a complete novice when it comes to this tried-and-true method of relaxation, one thing is for sure – there’s at least one yoga post that we’ve all done.
We’re talking about savasana (also known as the “corpse pose”), the well-deserved rest that comes at the end of yoga class. This classic pose involves lying on your back, arms at your side, with your eyes closed. And it’s how many of us end up after a long day. Being in savasana is so relaxing, in fact, many yogis have been known to slip into sleep right there in class.
This is no fluke. The link between yoga and better sleep has been documented many times over, and although there have been multiple focuses in the studies that have been conducted on how yoga affects sleep, the bottom line is clear and simple – yoga improves our sleep.
Just a few of the ways that yoga has been shown to better slumber include:
More than 15% of adults in the U.S. have reported suffering from insomnia at some point in their lives. The good news is that yoga offers some real relief to those that just can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep. One study showed that those who practiced yoga daily for 8 weeks were rewarded with an overall improved quality of sleep, including being able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Keeping a Cool Head at Bedtime
Studies have also shown that taking part in heated yoga can help practitioners stay cooler at bedtime and unwind more easily than those that don’t partake. Study participants also reported a decline in sleep disturbances on the days that they practiced hot yoga.
Better Sleep for Cancer Patients
One study of 40 lymphoma patients showed that after practicing Tibetan yoga once a day for three months, they were able to sleep better without the use of controlled sleep medication, as compared to the period of time before they began taking part in daily yoga.
Peaceful Slumber for the Elderly
The practice of mindful meditation in correlation with daily yoga has also been shown to cause fewer sleep disturbances in older adults, as well as an overall improvement of sleep quality.
So why does yoga help us sleep so much better? One of the biggest factors is also one of the most obvious – yoga reduces stress levels. From a physical standpoint, yoga helps us to release tight muscles through the stretching and twisting that comes with the moves done in class. And on the psychological side of things, the mindfulness and deep breathing that is a big part of practicing yoga helps us to significantly lower our blood pressure and let go of daily stressors.
Although yoga can seem intimidating to some, it shouldn’t! One of the most attractive aspects of yoga is the fact that it can be done anywhere and at any time, without the need for special equipment. And at the core of yoga philosophy is the fact that there is no “perfect pose” – whatever version you can do comfortably is perfection for your body.
Getting started with a daily yoga routine is something that you can feel good about physically and mentally, as it will help you to forge the ideal path for fitness that will improve your body, mind, and your quality of sleep.