- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How Yoga Can Help Cure Insomnia
Activating the parasympathetic system via yoga
Today, many people face 40+ hour work weeks on top of appointments, children, families, school and countless obligations. It is no wonder why over 70 million Americans suffer in some form of insomnia. Our bodies need sleep in order to function at full capacity throughout the day, yoga can be the solution to your restless nights and tired days.
The first step to a good nights sleep is to declare your bedroom as a sleep zone. Many experts will tell you to reserve your bedroom only for sleep and well, getting it on between the sheets. Keep the electronics in your room to a minimum. Turn off computers and phones (if possible) to reduce your distraction from sleep and to help shut down the busy activity in your brain.
Routines can also be helpful to train your brain and body to prepare to switch the sympathetic nervous system into parasympathetic mode. Brushing your teeth, getting pajamas on etc will help you with this process.
Finally, yoga in this instance will require deep breathing practices which are commonly used in Vinyasa yoga. Some poses can help deepen this relaxation. Dead mans pose, reclining bound angle pose, waterfall pose, or child pose are the most effective for parasympathetic activation. While in these poses begin by focusing on the breath, Become aware of your breathing and try to slow it down by making your inhales the same length as your exhales. Expand your breath from your stomach and into the chest, the exhale the chest through the stomach, emptying out any extra air with a gentle stomach tightening.
Once you have a rhythm, shift your focus on the sounds around you. What sounds is the universe making, outer space, the area outside you, next to you. Then bring focus into the activity in your mind, accept these noises and allow yourself to let go of these noises bringing stillness to your mind.
While maintaining a steady, deep breathing pattern and quieting your mind, your night is guaranteed to be one of deep and restorative sleep to give your day full potential for greatness.