Trouble sleeping? Try yoga!

You took a long afternoon walk and a hot bath in the evening, read a few pages of that latest novel, drank a camomile tea… to no avail. Sleep escapes you once again. Think you’ve tried everything? Here’s a new idea: try practicing yoga… in bed!

You took a long afternoon walk and a hot bath in the evening, read a few pages of that latest novel, drank a camomile tea… to no avail. Sleep escapes you once again. Think you’ve tried everything? Here’s a new idea: try practicing yoga… in bed!

When insomnia strikes, we tend to start thinking along the lines of “Oh no, not again! I have an important project to hand in tomorrow…” These kinds of thoughts only increase your stress level, which can be measured as increased blood levels of cortisol, and further repel sleep.

Yoga is being increasingly studied as a tool for fighting insomnia. Yoga is typically associated with dynamic poses that “awaken” the body. When practiced during the day, yoga helps regulate your attention and stress levels. However, it seems that at the end of the day, you could swap those for more relaxing movements that prepare your body for sleep. Yoga nidra, which emphasizes breathing and relaxation, is thought to be particularly effective in these cases. The U.S. Army has even put together a program based on this type of yoga for soldiers returning from combat and suffering from post-traumatic stress, as insomnia is one of the main symptoms of that syndrome.

No need to change into tights and a t-shirt to reap the benefits of yoga on sleep. You can adapt certain poses so that they can be performed in the warmth and comfort of your bed. A few minutes may be enough to prepare both mind and spirit for sleep.

Yoga is excellent for the body, the mind and maybe even sleep. Why not give it a try?

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