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Benefits Of Yoga For Better Sleep

Written by Shama Nimkar on Fri, 11 November 2022

Key Highlights

  • There are many types of yoga. High-energy kinds like hot yoga and vinyasa can give you a moderate to high-intensity workout. This may help you sleep better and provide the benefits of regular exercise as long as you do it no later than several hours before bedtime.
  • Lizard pose, Locust pose, Reclining Bound Angle Pose, etc are a few of the poses to encourage relaxation before you go to bed at night.
  • Mindfulness lowers the level of some stress hormones in your body. This can improve your sleep quality.
  • Mindfulness through yoga has been tied to falling asleep faster, sleeping longer, and waking up less often during the night.
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Yoga is a type of meditative movement that blends combine attentiveness and focused breathing with physical exercise.

Although yoga has been practiced for over 3,000 years and is based on Indian philosophy, there are several schools or kinds of yoga. Different postures or exercises, breathing methods, and meditation activities are emphasized in each version.

The benefits of yoga are many and impacts your wellbeing, including enhanced mental and emotional health and stress alleviation, pain treatment, weight loss, and better sleep. Here we will understand the benefits of yoga for better sleep.

Does Yoga Help to Improve Sleep?

Over 55% of yoga practitioners say their sleep has improved, and over 85% say their stress levels have decreased.

Yoga has been shown in several studies to enhance sleep in a number of different populations. These studies usually focus on the quality of sleep rather than the quantity, as more sleep does not always equate to better sleep and general well-being. While each sleeper's idea of great sleep differs, it commonly entails feeling rejuvenated for the day and a lack of interruptions.

Who Sleeps Better With Yoga?

Yoga has been proved to assist people of all ages and enhance their sleep. Yoga has significant health and sleep advantages for everyone, from children to the elderly.

  • Sleep problems, for example, are frequent in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Yoga as a behaviour intervention can help children with ASD cope with stress and enhance their mental health, which can help them sleep better. It can also benefit parents and, as a result, the entire family's well-being.
  • Adult females, in particular, have a harder time sleeping than males. Yoga has been shown to assist a variety of female subpopulations in studies. Pregnant women who practice yoga, for example, have fewer sleep disruptions as well as less prenatal anxiety and depression. Women in menopause who practice yoga have reported comparable benefits, including better sleep and a reduction in depression and anxiety.
  • Sleep difficulties are very common in the elderly population. According to a preliminary study, older adults who practice yoga on a daily basis have better sleep quality and a higher overall quality of life.

How Often Do You Need to Practice Yoga to Improve Sleep

Yoga practice on a regular basis will almost certainly enhance sleep quality more than no practice at all. Regular, long-term practitioners, on the other hand, have superior sleep quality.

If you want to use yoga to help you sleep better, set aside time to practice on a regular basis. This might include going to weekly courses, setting out a certain time to practice at home, or a combination of the two.

How Does Yoga Help To Improve Sleep

There are many ways that yoga can help improve the quality of sleep:

how does yoga help to improve sleep

  • Mindfulness: This is a practice of judgment-free awareness at the moment. Many kinds of yoga include mindfulness as a component. In adults, mindfulness has been shown to boost melatonin levels and lessen nocturnal sleep disruptions.
  • Breathing Awareness and Regulation: Deep breathing is a sleep-inducing relaxing method.
  • Regular Exercise: Frequent movement is an important element of sleep hygiene. Moderate exercise performed several times a week will help you sleep better.
  • Weight Loss: While reducing weight may not be the primary objective for some yoga practitioners, it can help them sleep better. Weight loss can help with a range of sleep issues, including sleep apnea.

What Types of Yoga Help You Sleep?

Yoga comes in a variety of forms, each with its own set of health and wellness advantages. Any style of yoga practice is suitable during the day, as long as the user is

comfortable. Yoga with a high level of activity, such as vinyasa or hot yoga, is a suitable form of moderate to vigorous exercise. When done at least several hours before bedtime, this type of exercise can help you sleep better at night.

It's better to avoid high-activity yoga forms immediately before night because they raise the heart rate. People who want to practice yoga closer to sleep can benefit from a slower, restorative style:

  • Hatha yoga is a kind of yoga that incorporates gentle body postures and breathing exercises. These breathing methods emphasize inhalation lengthening, holding the breath, and exhaling.
  • Nidra yoga is a type of yoga that is practiced while lying down and focuses on breathing or awareness of certain body regions.

Here are few Easy Yoga Poses to Improve Sleep. 

  • Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose) | 1 minute on each side: Bring your left foot forward between your hands and lower your right knee to the floor from Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose). Place your elbows or forearms on a block or the floor while you walk your left foot to the mats outside border. Stay in this position for 10-15 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side. It was one of the easiest yoga poses.
  • yoga poses to improve sleepSalabhasana (Locust Pose) | 1 minute: Lower yourself to your stomach. Place a folded blanket beneath your hips if you wish. Clasp your hands behind your back, or elevate your arms toward your ears with your elbows bent if you have tight shoulders. Exhale and firmly plant the tops of your feet on the ground. As you elevate your chest and arms, take a deep breath in. Gaze forward and slightly down. Remain for 10-15 breaths. Release your hands to the mat beneath your shoulders, inhale and push to hands and knees, and exhale as you push back to Downward-Facing Dog.

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) | 1 minute: Another easy yoga pose is Uttanasana. Walk your feet to your hands from Downard-Facing Dog. Place your feet hip-width apart, or perhaps a bit wider, and bend your knees slightly. Hold opposing elbows loosely while maintaining a relaxed grasp on your hands, or place your hands beside your feet. Exhale and extend down, letting the top of your head fall toward the mat. Hold this position for 10-15 breaths. Release your hands to the mat, press down with your feet, inhale, and gently rise to your feet.

  • Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend) | 1 minute: Step your feet approximately 4 to 5 feet apart, with your toes pointing slightly inward. Take a deep breath and elevate your chest. With your elbows bent, exhale and slowly fold forward from your hips, extending your arms wide and connecting your fingertips to the mat. Take prayer hands behind or back if you like a more dynamic stance. If you prefer a more restful pose, rest the top of your head on a block or a stack of books to help release tension. Remain here for 10-15 breaths. To exit the stance, push your feet down, inhale, and gently rise to your feet.
  • Janu Sirsasana (Head-of-the-Knee Pose) | 1 minute on each side: Sit down on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Place your right hand by your hip and the sole of your left foot against your inner right thigh. Exhale and carefully fold your left arm over your right leg, reaching for your foot or shin. Rest your forehead on a block if you like. Stay in this position for 10 to 15 breaths. Change sides.
  • Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) | 2 minutes: Place a bolster at the base of your sacrum and a folded blanket on it at the far end, starting from a sitting posture. Bring the soles of your feet together and bend your knees. Lean back on the bolster and lay your head on the blanket, just high enough to keep your head over your heart. Legs, shoulders, and neck should all be relaxed. Hold this position for 10-15 breaths. Bring your knees together with your hands, then slowly roll off the bolster onto one side. Keep the bolster and blanket in place.
  • Parsva Upavistha Konasana (Side Seated Wide Angle Pose) | 1 minute on each side: Come to a sitting posture slowly, spreading your legs wide. On the inside of your right calf, place a block. Take a deep breath and stretch your spine. Exhale, lean forward, and gently twist your chest over your right leg, resting your fingertips or hands on the mat and letting your forehead rest on the block. Remain in this position for 5 breaths. Take a deep breath and slowly elevate your chest. Repeat on the other side.
  • Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose) | 3 minutes: If you have any tightness or soreness in your lower back or tenderness in your knees, omit this posture. Otherwise, sit on your heels and lay a bolster against your sacrum's base. Bring your ankles a little wider than your hips and sit between them. If you're having trouble, try bringing your knees as wide as your hips. If it doesn't help, switch to the next stance. Slowly recline into your bolster, a blanket supporting your head. Stay in this position for 30-45 breaths. Slowly push yourself back up to sit by bringing your hands alongside your bolster. Bring your left leg in front of you and shift your weight onto your right hip. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) | 1 minute: Begin by laying down on your back. Bend your knees and position your feet precisely behind your knees, hip-width apart. Take a deep breath and elevate your pelvis. Place a block beneath your sacrum and let go of your weight. If the block does not feel comfortable or supportive, move your hips off the block and reposition it. You can put your block on either side; the highest edge should only be used if your back feels extremely relaxed and comfortable. Lift your heart and open your arms into a cactus form on the floor. Stay in this position for 10-15 breaths. Inhale and lift your hips slightly, then use a hand to slide the block out to the side. Slowly lower your hips to the mat and allow your low back to sink to the mat.

Conclusion

The benefits of yoga for better sleep has been shown to better sleep quality and help people fall asleep faster. Many of the easy yoga poses may also assist people to relax before going to bed. To lessen the risk of injury, people should always follow safety measures such as warming up, cooling down, and wearing suitable gear.

The type of slow, controlled breathing used in yoga stimulates your vagus nerve. This nerve affects your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which controls your body's rest function and helps you get better sleep. Yoga lowers your heart rate and improves digestion, as well.

Yoga also focuses on mindfulness. This means being aware and in the moment. Practicing mindfulness can boost your levels of melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. Mindfulness can also help control your heart rate and breathing changes that are linked with anxiety.

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Shama Nimkar

Shama Nimkar is a Lifestyle Journalist, Content Writer and a Publishing House Copy editor, and has a degree in Arts & Lifestyle Journalism from the University of the Arts London. With several articles published across renowned platforms in India and in the UK, Shama is now based out of Canada, and is pursuing higher studies in Digital Marketing. 

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  1. Getting a good night's sleep: How psychologists help with insomnia, last assessed on 4th May 2022.
  2. Yoga and sleep, Sleep Foundation last assessed on 4th May 2022.
  3. 15 Yoga poses to help you sleep better,Yoga Journal last assessed on 4th May 2022.
  4. Yoga before bed: 5-, 10-, and 15-minute routines