Insomnia is a big problem in America, affecting as much as 40 percent of the population throughout various times of the year. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia, says Psychology Today. However, there's something simple you can do to help alleviate the problem of sleeplessness in your own life, and you can do it right in your own bed. It's called bedtime yoga or yoga for insomnia.
How Yoga Affects Sleep
Yoga is an activity that stretches muscles, encourages relaxation, and nurtures mindfulness. It's a great stress-reliever, both mentally and physically, and it can be a terrific sleep enhancer as well. Performing simple yoga positions as a part of your nightly wind-down routine helps oxygenate your blood. It calms heart rate and breathing, as well as helps settle stressful thoughts and worry. Stretching feels good too, which is why it's the perfect, low-impact activity to do just before bed.
Which Positions Are Best?
When you're ready for bed, you don't want to engage in a lot of vigorous activity that will just get your heart rate pumping and discourage sleep, so yoga is an easy alternative. Simple positions, such as lying flat on your back with your legs raised and resting against the wall, help to gently stretch your hamstrings and calm your breathing. It feels good and may even help prevent nighttime disturbances such as restless leg syndrome.
Other easy yoga positions include these outlined at FitnessMagazine.com. All are geared toward helping both your body and your mind to relax enough that sleep comes easy.
A Good Choice for You?
Using yoga for sleep is an idea that's been around for awhile. Even for those who suffer from limited mobility, yoga can help. There are many different types of yoga, all geared toward people of different skill levels and range of mobility. You can find some of them listed at SparkPeople.com. These may help you find the type of nighttime yoga that's most beneficial for you, including Yoga Nidra.
Yoga Nidra focuses on relaxing the mind while lying comfortably in a prone position. You can practice it on the floor or on your bed, using headphones to guide you through the lesson. This yoga for sleep is immensely powerful at helping to induce relaxation. You can read more about it at Yoga International.
If you've been toying with the idea of taking up a fitness activity but you're hesitant to try because of your mobility, your weight or other factors, you should give yoga a try. This type of exercise is low-impact, but helps improve your mind and body in countless ways. It can help you lose weight, improve your posture, improve your quality of sleep, strengthen your core, improve balance and coordination, and so much more. It can make you more mindful of the daily blessings in your life and help to reduce and even alleviate stress.
So if you're having trouble falling asleep and staying that way, give yoga a try. You have nothing to lose except stress, anxiety and worry.