Published: 08/30/2015 - Updated: 11/11/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
If you have problems getting to sleep, if you want to sleep better, there’s a god chance that yoga will be a good alternative for you. Yoga is currently more valued because it is a discipline that helps balance the body and mind, fight unhealthy stress and its effects. But its benefits don’t stop there.
Habitually practicing yoga improves flexibility, strengthens muscles and thereby improving muscle tone, and it also helps keep joints healthy.
Yoga is also great for people that suffer from back problems, by improving posture. It also promotes good circulation, and increases lymphatic drainage, helping to eliminate toxins from the body.
It helps control blood pressure, making it a great help for people that have high blood pressure.
The benefits of sleeping well
Rest is undoubtedly very important, but because of all the demands we face today, sleep schedules are becoming more and more limited. Insomnia is becoming more common as we stress ourselves out with more stuff to do. Have you ever felt tired, but like you couldn’t go to sleep? In most cases, this is because of the effects of stress, tension, which prevent the body from relaxing and resting.
Several studies have shown that sleeping well improves moods, increases productivity during the day, and is fundamental for optimal immune system functioning. It prevents early wrinkles, helps fight obesity, makes the mind sharp, and helps control blood pressure.
That’s why you need to take advantage of those valuable sleep hours.
Exercises for sleeping better
First of all, you need to try to sleep in a silent room. Try to relax your muscles and breathe deeply, concentrating on your breathing. Once you feel calm, practice the following postures that promote good rest.
Victorious breathing: Sit in silence on a soft surface, like a blanket or a mattress. Bend your legs into a meditation pose, rest your wrists on your knees with the palms up, let your fingers curl in, and remember that you should be relaxed. Breathe deeply. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply through your nose, and then exhale with an “aah”. After a few breaths, close your mount, contract the back of your throat so that your inhale and exhale sound like the ocean. Perform this exercise for 5 minutes.
Half twist: Stay seated and place the heel of your left foot by the outside of your right thigh, leaving your left knee pointing upward. Bend your torso and neck to the right while supporting yourself with your opposite hand on the ground. Then repeat the process with your right leg.
Child’s pose: Kneel down, joining your two big toes together. then slowly move your body forward. Exhale when moving downward, moving on top of your thighs and moving your arms behind, touching your sides. Place the palms of your hand upward, resting your forehead on the ground.
Plow pose: Lay down face up with your arms spread by your side. Raise your legs up, then push your legs toward your torso, keeping your legs firm and extended. Bring your knees close to your face until you can touch the ground behind your head with your tippy toes. Keep your arms spread out, and take 5 breaths before relaxing.
Elevated feet: Lay down close to the wall, keeping your legs spread up against the wall. Make sure your glutes are against the wall. Turn your body so that you are raising your legs against the wall. Keep your legs raised for 10 minutes. You can place a pillow under your back for more comfort.
Dead man’s posture: Lay down face up, with your arms gently spread away from your body, palms up. try to relax every muscle in your body, your arms, face, jaw, and also your mind. Close your eyes and relax for at least 3 minutes.
Try to do this routine every day, even when you don’t have any problems sleeping. This will become effective after several sessions, as it will slowly help reduce stress.
More advice for sleeping better
- Avoid using electronic devices, like cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc., in your room, especially when you’re getting ready to go to bed.
- Avoid keeping the TV on. Distractions like this can make it hard to go to sleep.
- Try to eat a light dinner, and eat at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- Make sure your bed and room are comfortable and noise-free from anything that could disrupt your sleep.
- Make your sleep a habit, and try to respect your daily sleep routine.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2018. Sleep Disorders: In Depth
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2018. Sleep Disorders and Complementary Health Approaches
- Zhou, E. S., Gardiner, P., & Bertisch, S. M. (2017). Integrative Medicine for Insomnia. The Medical Clinics of North America, 101(5), 865–879.
- Zee, P. C., & Turek, F. W. (2006, September). Sleep and health: Everywhere and in both directions. Archives of Internal Medicine. United States.
- Luyster, F. S., Strollo, P. J. J., Zee, P. C., & Walsh, J. K. (2012). Sleep: a health imperative. Sleep, 35(6), 727–734.
- Zee, P. C., & Turek, F. W. (2013, December). Respect the clock. Sleep Medicine Reviews. England.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 11/11/2018
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