Yoga and Sleeplessness
By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jul 4 2018 08:00AM
Yoga teacher Emma Klein shares how yoga can positively impact your sleep - and therefore the rest of your life.
When my little one was a tiny baby, I never really appreciated the fact that even though we were waking up every hour or two to feed her, the rest of the time she was pretty complacent. Fast forward to now and we have a little terror who never sits still.
Going into this motherhood thing, I was fully expecting to be tired (mostly just for the first few months), to have days where it all got too much, but overall, to just be able to continue on pretty much as normal. Even though I knew from friends and family how time consuming and exhausting being a mother is, I still don't think I really understood it until I've had to do it!
As kids get older, they fight against you more and try and assert their will at strange times. I have discovered that the tired crazy monster that appears when my daughter is refusing to sleep is like a belligerent drunken tornado who lies on the floor screaming, “I’m not tired!” until she suddenly passes out dead to the world for anything from 30 seconds to 2 hours.
So, let’s talk about sleep.
As an adult, we expect to get between 5 - 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. We dream of the days when we were able to have naps during the day and often can think of nothing better than snuggling down in bed with a book and a cup of tea (or at least I can't).
When we are short on sleep, we start to become short on a lot of other things too. Patience often is one of the first things to go, closely followed by concentration. When this happens we take longer to do simple things and the next things to go out the window are diet and exercise.
As an adult, having a toddler isn’t the only reason we become short on sleep. Being tired can be caused by many different things from worry and stress all the way through to serious health conditions. And these causes can all be treated in different ways. But one thing that can help you to feel refreshed and give you a little bit more energy without any caffeine is Yoga.
The exercise can help tire out the body and quieten the mind.
Often when we can’t sleep it is because we are stressed. This is also regularly accompanied by sitting at a desk all day. Getting the body moving and focusing completely on these movements helps work off the excess muscular energy and gives the mind a mini break to not think about everything else in your life.
The meditation aspect, whether actual seated meditation or the 2 minutes in savasana can help give the brain a mini rest.
Savasana is the most important and difficult pose to work on in Yoga. Lying completely still and thinking of nothing is much harder than it seems. But after a good yoga practice the body is tired and the rest is welcomed and with practice the mind learns to focus on the breath and eventually on nothing. This comes with time and patience but the lessons can be taken into a meditation practice and as this practice develops, eventually you will be able to find calm and moments of stillness where ever you are, whether that is in a quiet space or a busy tube.
Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) is extremely beneficial and just 1 hour of Yoga Nidra can be the equivalent of 4 hours sleep to both body and mind.
Yoga Nidra is a practice all on its own. It is something that can be done in a Yoga Nidra class or you can download a track to play at home. This practice taps into the Alpha brainwaves and takes you to a place of neither sleeping nor wakefulness. Where sleep can be a rest for the body and meditation a rest for the mind, Yoga Nidra tries to merge these together and bring rest to both the body and mind. This practice can be extremely profound and has been shown to help with many different types of tiredness and insomnia, as well as PTSD and other mental health issues.
It can be really hard to find the few minutes a day to have a daily practice, but even attending a class once a week can have longer lasting benefits and is worth the effort. And if you really can’t find the time for the hour of yoga, then download a 15min Yoga Nidra and play it while you are lying in bed at night. You will be amazed at how well you sleep.
Namaste everyone and happy sleeping!
Class Schedule can be found either on West Norwood Therapies website or my own Yoga Flo-ga website
Contact details if you have any questions: www.yogafloga.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org
Source for Yoga Nidra Tracks: http://www.yoganidranetwork.org/
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