Having a good night’s sleep is vital to a healthy life. Without proper sleep, all other activities of the day are affected. Chronic lack of good sleep can cause disruptions in day to day life and be detrimental to one’s health. Having a regulated, balanced and deep sleeping routine can do wonders for one’s health which in turn affects all aspects of life such as work and relationships.
Yoga postures and specifically Pranayam (Yogic Breathing) focus on regulated, steady and slow breathing. This gives rise to a relaxed and calm state of mind which is very useful to foster a deep sleep. Studies have shown that Yoga can help one fall asleep faster and sleep longer. Sleeping and waking up at the same time daily is also important to have a good quality of restful sleep.
In a study published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Yoga was found effective in treating insomnia in adults older than 60 who participated in regular weekly Yoga classes. There was significant improvement in overall sleep quality and duration.
One can practice Pranayam and light yoga poses before bedtime to release all the emotional, mental and physical baggage which lingers due to the exertions of the day.
Some of the Yoga asanas which can be tried for a better sleep are – Legs up the wall, Lying butterfly pose, Corpse Pose and Child pose. One can practice conscious deep breathing while performing these poses. Ujjayi breath or Victorious (Ocean) breath is particularly useful.
1. Legs up the Wall Pose
Sit sideways against a wall and raise your legs up the wall, with your hamstrings and calf straight along the wall. You can take a pillow to support your lower back while performing this pose.
2. Lying Butterfly Pose
While lying on the back, allow the knees to fall open while bringing the feet together close to the groin. Rest in this position for a few minutes while breathing deeply.
Lie flat on your back with arms and legs straight, and palms facing upwards. Relax all the body parts and allow the feet to open up. Take conscious deep breaths.
Along with this, some other dietary tips to sleep better are – limiting the amount of caffeine, avoiding alcohol and big meals at night and reducing the intake of sugar and refined carbs. Also incorporating an exercise routine is beneficial.
This article is part of a series on the Health Benefits of Yoga.
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