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  • Published at 04:36 pm July 12th, 2018
  • Last updated at 05:31 pm July 12th, 2018

5 yoga poses to help you sleep better

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep and usually experience one or more of the following symptoms; fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentration, mood disturbances and decreased performance in work. 

Causes

Insomnia is not a sleep disorder in and of itself, but a related symptom of other problems, including an assortment of common physical and psychological disruptions in the sleep cycle. Symptoms of insomnia can be brought on by physical factors - such as medical conditions, hormonal changes, changes in diet, changes in work schedule, exercise or lack of environment situations (including changes in time zone, changes in season, travel and cultural changes) – as well as psychological problems including stress, depression and anxiety. Symptoms related to insomnia are common among individuals that work night shifts or simply stay up late. While some people prefer it, is an unnatural human cycle. Studies have shown that this type of work over the long term on in cycles can significantly disrupt your natural Circadian cycle. Interruptions in the Circadian cycle affects the physiological balance of your body and can vastly shift, sleep patterns and inspire symptoms of insomnia or sleep deprivation. 

By lowering stress levels, calming the mind and relieving tension in the body, the soothing practice can be an effective sleep remedy. Certain resting and inversion poses can be particularly helpful for combating restlessness and insomnia, especially when practiced in the evening or in bed before hitting the hay. 

Alternative Nostril Breathing

This encourages deep relaxation by balancing the left and right sides of the brain while calming the nervous system.  

Sit into Sukhasana or a comfortable crossed leg position, feel your seat bones ground you as you lift ever so slightly from the crown of the head and stretch spine. Rest your left palm on your left knee, moving your right hand towards the nose. Using the right thumb, softly close the right nostril, and inhale as slowly as you can through the left nostril, then close it with your finger and hold. Now exhale slowly through the right nostril. With the right nostril open, inhale slowly, then close it with the thumb and hold. Exhale through the left nostril. Once your exhalation is complete, inhale through the left. Hold before moving to the right. Repeat this pattern five to ten times and then release the right hand to the right knee. Ease back into normal breathing. Time ratio of inhalation, retention and exhalation is 1:4:2.

Legs up the wall pose 

This completely passive pose allows you to focus on conscious relaxation as you prepare your mind for deep sleep. It has the added benefit of draining stale blood from your legs and refreshing your circulatory system. 

Place a block or a bolster 5 inches from the wall. Bring your sacrum on top of the prop, so that your sitting bones slide into the space between the support and the wall. Take your arms straight out to the sides with palms facing the earth. Breathe normally and stay in this pose 5-10 minutes. You can scan your body to slowly relax each major muscle group in the body, beginning with your feet and working your way up to your face.

Cat pose

This pose is yet another spine flexing exercise and relaxes the mind, and creates the opportunity to sleep better.  

Start on your hands and knees in a “Tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, and that your elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor, and inhale. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, but don’t force your chin to your chest. Hold this posture for 1-2 minutes. Inhale, coming back to neutral “Tabletop” position on you head and knees and gently release from this posture.  

Child’s pose

One of the best yoga poses for insomnia, it gives the back a deep, relaxing stretch and helps calm the nervous system, thus inducing better sleep. 

Sit up comfortably on your heels, roll your torso forward, bringing your forehead to rest on the mat or bed in front of you, you can turn your chin to the right or left side. Hold your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms on either side. Breathe normally, and hold this posture for 1-2 minutes.  

Shavasana

This pose relaxes your entire system and is very effective to get rid of insomnia. 

Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides. Rest your hands about six inches away from your body with your palms up, let your feet drop open, close your eyes. Let your breathing occur naturally. Relax your face, invite peace and silence into your mind, body and soul. Stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes. To exit the pose, first begin to deepen your breath. Turn to your right side and rest there for a moment and gently release from this pose with help your left hand. 

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Tips: 

    Adjust your activities with Chronobiology, ensure your sleep time from 10.00 PM to 6.00 AM and avoid sleep at day time. 

    Ensure your room is dark and quiet when sleeping. 

    Finish your dinner between 7.00 PM 

    Don’t carry any stress before bedtime. Try to forget everything, relax your mind and count down from 100 to 1. 

The writer is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, USA. Check out his website at www.saldinyoga.com