Yoga and Insomnia (Sleep Disorder)
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by a chronic difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep which has a relatively high prevalence and a significant socioeconomic cost. There is good evidence that cognitive and/or physiological arousal, associated with sustained sympathetic activation, is one of the underlying causes of Insomnia.
How Yoga Helps
Simple stretching and relaxation exercises of yoga can increase suppleness, enhance mental and physical relaxation, and improve the quality of your sleep. Yoga is suitable for people of all ages. Do the exercises every evening. Yoga relaxation uses breathing and visualization techniques.
Relaxation treatments such as progressive relaxation and meditation which address the cognitive and somatic arousal associated with insomnia have been found to be effective. Yoga is a comprehensive discipline which includes physical exercises, postures, breathing techniques, and meditation, for the purpose of improving health and well being. Yoga exercises for insomnia are organized into a three-part sequence. They are designed to help you unwind mentally and physically and prepare you to sleep. Some tips are:
- Use breathing techniques to relax for five minutes to unwind from daily activities.
- Do gentle stretches for ten minutes. When doing the exercises listen to your body and be guided by it. Stretch only as far and as often as is comfortable. Do only those asanas or postures you can achieve comfortably.
- Use breathing relaxation or yoga nidra for ten minutes.
Important Asanas/ Pranayama for Insomnia
- Yoga-Nidra is the perfect yoga to counter Insomnia
- Avoid caffeine, especially after midday. This includes coffee, tea, chocolate, and many sodas.
- Sugar can also cause problems. Consider avoiding refined sugar in the evening because it is absorbed immediately into the bloodstream. That's why it gives you a burst of energy and sometimes makes you feel a little high.
- Eating sugar near bedtime can make you restless and jittery and can keep you from falling asleep. If you need a treat at bedtime, a glass of warm milk is your best bet.
- Alcohol and tobacco taken near bedtime can also interfere with deep sleep.
- It's true that a nightcap will make you sleepy, but the sleep it induces is light, restless, and shot through with periods of wakefulness. Likewise, you may associate tobacco with relaxation, but it actually increases tension.
- Tobacco is a stimulant that makes the heart race and blood pressure rise. It's best avoided altogether, but if you choose to smoke, avoiding it in the hour or two before bedtime will make your sleep more restful.
- The sleep medications/sedatives are not helpful in resolving chronic sleep problems.
Next Article: Yoga and Skin Diseases/ Problems