How To Stop Sleep Disorders With Yoga
We all have an idea of how not getting enough sleep impacts how we function throughout the day. Feeling tired and unmotivated to do tasks are among the most noticeable of its effects.
Although there are other causes of sleep deprivation, sleep disorders are among the most dominant of the causes. In the US alone, 50-70 million people are not getting enough sleep every night because of sleep disorder. About 30-35 million are reported to snore—which is an indication of sleep apnea and reduces the quality of the sleep during the night. About 20 million people are reported to fall asleep unintentionally at least once a month in the workplace because of sleep disorder.
One must realize the need to address an existing sleep disorder before it grows into more serious concerns. Sleep disorder and lack of sleep are linked to chronic medical conditions like heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hypertension—all of these could potentially shorten one’s life expectancy.
One of the natural solutions people have for their sleep disorder is yoga. But is it effective? Can yoga help you deal with your sleep disorder?
Yoga and Sleep Disorder
Yoga is a simple form of meditation that helps with breathing control through specific bodily posture. Among its primary effects is it promotes relaxation. Yoga can help some sleep disorders, but not all.
A sleep disorder, as simple as it may seem, is caused by a lot of factors—often, by the interplay of those. Short-term sleep disorders are often caused by psychological factors such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Sleep disorders caused by factors such as these can benefit from relaxation will most likely benefit from yoga.
Yoga promote relaxation by allowing one to have controlled breathing and by improving blood circulation throughout the body. People who suffer from a form of sleep disorder reports experiencing improvement in their sleep experience. They fall asleep faster, longer, return to sleep faster during sleep interruptions in the middle of the night (typical of a person with a sleep disorder) and wake up feeling energized.
The relaxation effect of yoga extends beyond just improving the sleep experience of a person suffering from a sleep disorder. For instance, yoga seems to train people to eat more healthily, thus solving short-term concerns such as hunger pangs and cravings. As a result, people who engage in yoga tend to lose weight more easily and safely. Weight loss is a helpful factor in dealing with sleep apnea—one of the most dangerous forms of sleep disorder.
Yoga Poses to Improve Sleep
Not all yoga poses have similar effects. Some poses are designed to help you be active and energized. Some poses help you relax. The following poses are particularly helpful for relaxation and must be done an hour or two before bedtime.
This pose can be performed in two minutes.
- Sit down facing your headboard or the wall. Your butt should be 6 inches away from either the board or the wall (whichever you feel comfortable for support).
- Slowly lie back while extending your legs up. You can use the wall for support. Some people are able to extend their legs up with only the board supporting the lower portion.
- You may find that 6 inches may not be close enough. You can adjust yourself closer to the wall or board.
- Place your arms beside you with the palms facing upward. Close your eyes and feel the stretch at the back of your legs. Breathe and let yourself relax for two minutes.
Winding Down Pose
You can perform this pose in two-three minutes.
- Sit on the floor or bed and cross your legs. You might want to invest in a yoga mat if you are going to do the poses on the floor to make the experience a bit comfortable. After all, yoga is meant to relax you.
- Twist your torso slowly and gently to your right (or left). Breathe in and out gently as you do this. Feel the release of the tension as you exhale. As you turn, let your gaze follow. Take a final deep breath and return to the normal position.
- Do the same with but this time on the opposite direction. Do this for a minute or so for each side.
Bedtime Stretch Pose
You can perform this pose for 3 to 5 minutes. This pose will let you relax even more so it would be ideal if you do a five-minute one during your first time. Eventually, your body will associate the pose to getting relaxed and you will achieve the same results with a shorter pose.
- Sit down on a bed or floor.
- Slowly bend your knees and move the soles of your feet together.
- Lie down and place your arms to your sides with palms facing upward.
- Form a diamond shape with your legs by letting your knees open (move the knees to the sides).
- If you feel discomfort, you can place a pillow underneath the knees to support your legs.
- Close your eyes and take deep slow breathing. Feel the stretch on the sides of your legs. Do this for 5 minutes.
- Begin the pose by sitting on your heels comfortably. You can also begin on your knees. The knees can be close to each other or with a space in between depending on what makes you feel comfortable.
- Move your torso forward. You can do this with your butt elevated or seated on the soles of your feet (which should be facing upward by now).
- Bring your forehead to rest in front of you. It is important that you are on the bed or yoga mat to prevent hurting your forehead.
- Extend your arms forward. Close your eyes. Feel the stretch in your arms and torso at you draw in and expel air.
- Hold the pose for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Sit on your butt, feet forward with the soles of your feet facing the floor and your knees bent and close to each other.
- Wrap both of your arms around your shins. Make sure that you clasp your hands for support.
- Slowly fall back and lie on your arms while still hugging your knees.
- Cross your ankles and hug your knees as close to the chest as possible. Take a deep slow breath for a while.
- Move back to initial position and fall on your back again. This time, hold the position a bit longer.
- Extend your legs and arms and let yourself drift to sleep.
Before trying out medication or surgery, it is always best to try out natural remedies first. Make sure, however, that you consult your doctor first.
Yoga is one of the solutions to sleep disorder that has gained a lot of attention for the past few years because of its remarkable effects. The poses outlined above are basic yet effective for helping one get a better sleep. They are simple and basic enough even for those who are into yoga for the first time.