Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which a person has trouble falling and/or staying asleep. There are many of us who find it difficult to fall asleep and many times we find ourselves restlessly tossing and turning on our bed while trying to catch sleep. Numerous studies have shown the prevalence of insomnia in 10%–30% of the population. It is very common in older adults, females, and people with diseases and mental health issues. Several studies show that lack of sleep can increase the risk of anxiety, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and obesity. It can also undermine a person’s work performance and limit a person’s ability to do daily activities.
The good news is that the humble yoga workout can help in regulating your sleep patterns. Yoga is one such time-less practice that is not only a great stress reliever but also helps in combating symptoms of insomnia. When people battling insomnia practice yoga daily, they sleep for more hours, fall asleep earlier, instantly and sleep better without waking up in the middle of night.
A Harvard Medical School study found that a regular yoga practice helps those living insomnia by improving their sleep efficiency and total sleep time among other improvements. The National Health Interview Survey found that over 55% of people who did yoga found that it helped them get better sleep. Over 85% said yoga helped reduce stress.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep in every 24-hour period, depending on their age. If you want an adequate sleep, yoga can help you achieve this goal.
The following 5 yoga asanas can help you relax and enjoy a deep slumber:
- Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)
- Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
- Spinal Twisting Pose(Makataasna)
- Child Pose (Shishuasana)
- Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
SEATED FORWARD BEND POSE (PASCHIMOTTANASANA)
Sit straight with your legs stretched in front of your body. Inhale and slowly raise both the arms straight above your head. As you exhale, slowly bend your body forward and let the spine extend as you bend. Keep your hands on your legs or wherever they can reach. Hold the pose for up to two minutes. Now inhale again and stretch your arms straight above your head. Slowly exhale and bring your hands down placing your palms on the floor.
LEGS UP THE WALL POSE (VIPARITA KARANI)
Sit about 3 inches from the wall facing it. Lie flat on your back and swing your legs up against the wall. Place your hips against the wall or slightly away and the back of your legs rests against the wall. Relax on your arm on either side of the body or tummy. Hold this position for up to 10 minutes. To release the pose, slowly push yourself away from the wall. Bend your knees and roll onto your side.
SPINAL TWISTING POSE (MARKATASANA)
Lie on your back and spread your arms at the levels of your shoulders. Bend your knees, placing your feet closer to your hips. Now turn your knee to the right side and let it rest on the ground. The right knee should be bent to the extent that the left knee is able to touch the right toe. Simultaneously, twist your head and neck towards the left. Maintain this position for at least 30 seconds with normal breathing. Repeat the same procedure by twisting the legs to left and neck to the right.
CHILD POSE (SHISHUASANA)
Sit down on your knees, keeping the spine straight with your hips touching the heels. Slowly bend forward and press your chest on your thighs. Gently keep bending forward to bring your forehead forward to touch the floor. Place your arms alongside the body with your palms facing downwards. Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly rise up, sit back on your heels to return to the starting position. Repeat this 2-3 times.
CORPSE POSE (SHAVAASANA)
Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms relaxed at your sides. Close your eyes and take deep slow breaths. Cover your body with a blanket, if required. Working from your toes to the fingers up to the crown of your head, release every body part. Visualise each and every part of your body in your mind and the feeling that every organ is relaxed and free your mind, body and soul from all stress. Hold this position for 5-10 minutes. To exit the pose, deepen your breath & wiggle your fingers and toes. Roll to your side and rest for a moment, then slowly come in a seated position.
I hope these yoga poses will help you sleep deeply and peacefully. Keep in mind to find a quiet, soothing and safe space to do the yoga poses before you go to sleep. Regular practice before going to bed can be very effective in treating insomnia.
Do try these 5 simple yoga poses and let me know in the comments below if they helped in your battle with insomnia. Sleep tight.