How Yoga Nidra can help you sleep and deal with stress

Women sleeping | nidra-yoga | benefits-nidra-yoga

Wow, what a crazy year 2020! I’m sure you’re all feeling the impact of the Coronavirus epidemic. You might be feeling overwhelmed or scared about the future. It’s OK to be feeling those things, but it’s important to get some control over your worries. Adequate sleep and relaxation are more important than ever! Being able to deal with new challenges is so much easier when you’re properly rested.

Why sleep is important

  • When you sleep, your body goes into recovery mode. A good nights sleep leaves you revitalized and well prepared for the next busy day.
  • Good sleep even helps you consolidate memories and behaviours. If you skip out on good sleep, you’re not giving your brain the chance to put everything together from your day.
  • Lack of sleep contributes negatively to mental wellbeing and anxiety. It makes overcoming the challenges of life much harder.
  • Core body temperature rises when you don’t rest. Problems with higher core temperatures are inflammation-related conditions, autoimmune disease and allergies.

Adults require between 8 to 10 hours sleep a night and studies show that most are getting less than 6 per night. Many people also either have trouble falling or staying asleep. We just aren’t getting the amount of sleep we need. One of the main reasons for sleep deprivation is our lack of time to get everything done. 

As a teacher, there are high demands and endless things that need to be completed.  The ‘easy’ solution is to sacrifice sleep for more time. However, the lack of sleep creates more problems than it solves. At work, I can see how lack of sleep can impact productivity and relationships with students. It can also lead to stress-related illness, burn out and staff absence. At home, it can lead to emotional outbursts and strained relationships. 

Women on phone & laptop | sleep-rhythms | nidra-yoga
Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

How our natural rhythm is being effected

Everyone has a circadian rhythm, known as your sleep/wake cycle or body clock. It’s a natural, internal system that helps regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness every day. Our bodies are designed to be awake during the day, and asleep at night. The visual cues of light and dark signals to our body to produce melatonin as the sun sets and to stop producing it when dawn breaks to wake us up. also signals the body to stay awake or sleep. 

sunrise over countryside | sleep-rhythms | nidra-sleep
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

However, this natural process is often disrupted with artificial lighting. Overuse of lights, phones and technology during what should be your bodies sleeping hours overrides your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Overriding your rest-activity cycle consistently leads to burnout. It clashes with your natural rhythm and activating your flight and fight stress response.

What is Nidra Yoga and how can it help with sleep?

Yoga Nidra is a sleep-based, conscious guided meditation. Don’t let the word yoga put you off! There are no yoga poses or physical exertion. You’re lying in a comfortable position and covered with a blanket. So there’s really nothing stopping you from giving it a go! Your body sleeps while your mind is awake taking in the guided instructions. It’s complete REST for both your mind and body. Yoga Nidra is a great way to let your body rest and balance your rest-activity cycle. You get all the benefits of meditation, as well as sleep.

Women doing nidra yoga | nidra-yoga| nidra-sleep

Yoga Nidra encourages rest by using breathing triggers the relaxation response. Your brain is guided to a delta brain-wave state where organs are regenerate and stress hormone cortisol is removed. Your nervous system is calmed and your thoughts slowed down. The hormone serotonin is released to help you feel more relaxed and reduce anxiety and depression. Practicing Yoga Nidra for just 20-minutes is equivalent rest for your body to an extra 2 hours of sleep. Getting to sleep and staying asleep is also improved with a regular Yoga Nidra practice.

Whether you’re in a lockdown area due to coronavirus, immune-compromised or just wanting to stay at home it’s time to look online for your health and exercise needs. Join me on the mat to ‘Calm Your Mind & Body in 5 days’ at home. You just need a mat and blankets. I’ll be sharing Yin Yoga shapes and Nidra Yoga. Just 10 minutes each day, no yoga experience needed, it’s perfect for all ages.

Sounds great right? It’s easy to try, doesn’t take long and offers amazing benefits.

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