We all have been through periods of time when we could not sleep. Insomnia is a common problem for many people across the nation. An article in Yoga Journal states that 10 to 15 percent of American adults suffer from insomnia. Often people find themselves falling asleep while surfing the net on a laptop, or watching late night infomercials. Things like that are actually adding to our sleeplessness. Troubles with insomnia can be cured with behavior changes, relaxation techniques such as yoga. Yoga is a practice that many people use to bring relaxation and tranquility to their bodies. Because of it’s relaxing power, Yoga can help us sleep better.
First thing one needs to do is create a routine; go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, eat at the same time and do yoga at the same time. Going to bed at a certain time each night say 10 does not mean sitting in bed with the television on from 10 until you fall asleep. Turn the television, cellphone and computer all off. Try not to use over the counter medications such as Tylenol PM, while pills have their place in conventional medicine, something like insomnia can be fixed without medication, but with modifying your behavior. Try to learn what it is that is the cause of your insomnia: relationship troubles, too much caffeine/sugar, or stress among other things. Room temperature could also be a factor that leads to insomnia. Keep in mind the reason can be very unclear.
In the late afternoon or early evening you can do a rigorous yoga routine, one that will get you sweating. This will cause your body temperature to go up and by bedtime you core will still be warm, but skin temperature will still be cool. According to the Yoga Journal this is the ideal balance for sleeping well. You could also do a gentle sequence before bed. There are some sequences that are specially designed to help you sleep better. After you learn how to regulate the ideal sleeping body temperature figure out how much time you spend sleeping, not tossing and turning. Be in your bed only to sleep, don’t read a book or surf the net in your bed, designate another place for that.
Make sure your sleep space is dark and comfortable, have a comfortable body temperature, not too hot or too cold. Keep yourself calm. Anxiety activities can cause your body to produce stress reactions such as a racing heart, tense muscles, and shortness of breath. This is the point where basic behavior training can help reduce the problems. It is easier than you may think and doesn’t require more than a few extra minutes for yoga, discipline and of course patience. After you had 3 or 4 nights of uninterrupted sleep you can increase the designated sleep time you need. You will not see results over night or in a few days. It will take time, weeks maybe even months before there is a change.
There are some yoga poses that you can do in bed, but since we are trying to keep the bed as a place for sleep and nothing more (well maybe a little naughty fun) you may want to do these poses beside your bed. The first pose is called upside down relaxation. This is really easy; what you do is sit facing your wall with your rear about 6 inches away from it. Lay back and lift your legs up against the wall, if it feels too intense you can scoot back a little until you feel comfortable. Rest your arms at your sides with your palms facing up and breathe gently. Focus on the stretch in the back of your legs. Stay in this position for about 2 minutes. You can close your eyes and breathe deeply focusing on a few yoga breathes and getting your body to relax.
The winding down twist is another pose that is rather easy to do. Sit cross legged and place your right hand on your left knee, and your left hand behind your tailbone. Twist towards your left; allow your gaze to follow the twist and breathe deeply calming your body and your spirit. Repeat on the right side for another 2 minutes. The next move is called the Nighttime Goddess Stretch. I really like this one because of how relaxing it is. Lay back on the mat or floor with your knees bent and your arms out. Then place the soles of your feet together and then let your knees fall open which should form a diamond with your legs. That is it; doesn’t take a lot of strain or anything and it is more relaxing than anything.
Child’s pose is another great pose that would relax your body enough to help you sleep. Sit with your tailbone on your heels. Roll your body forward and rest your head on the floor, then lower your chest as close to your knees as you can. Reach out in front of you as far as you can and hold the pose and breathe. That is all there is too it, very simple but very relaxing at the same time. I love doing this pose whenever I need to relax. The last one is somewhat fun to do. It is called Rock A Bye Roll. You pull your knees into your chest while laying on your back. Clasp your arms around your ankles. Then Rock your body to roll up into a sitting position then roll back down. Do this for about a minute then as you roll back down for the last time extend your arms and legs, and you will find that it is easy to fall asleep.
Insomnia is something that gets a hold of all of us at some point in our lives. Doing a few yoga moves such as these will help your body regulate and relax in order to fall asleep faster and better. Yoga is a practice that helps us control our breathing and clears our minds before bed. The 4 poses mentioned in this article are all ones that will relax your body and help you sleep better and place your mind on tranquility and relaxation before bed. Try it out, what do you have to lost other than more sleep. Sleep well.