The Soundness of Sleep: Can Yoga Improve Your Rest?

Our sleeping habits are dictated by a number of factors. Any combination of stress, nutrition and activities can help or hurt our bodies’ abilities to get enough rest to regenerate and repair itself. Yoga is often regarded as an activity that can improve things like balance, flexibility, and strength. In addition, the benefits of meditation and focus on your practice can reduce stress, improve focus and add overall calm to your life. However, one of the lesser-known benefits may include a better night of rest, which may be a great option for those who struggle with insomnia. Let’s take a look at why yoga may be a great option to get that regenerative rest that your body so desperately needs.

Nearly one in three people suffer from at least mild insomnia. Insomnia can be frustrating to say the least, but that’s not all. The repercussions of insomnia are well documented, and the consequences of little sleep run far and wide. Not only can it do things like ruin your ability to concentrate and lower your sex drive, it can also have some pretty serious long-term effects. This can be anything from heart failure to high blood pressure to strokes or diabetes. Basically, your body needs sleep – and if you aren’t getting the recommended seven to nine hours, you’re doing an incredible disservice to your body. While there are a number of suggested ways to combat those sleepless nights, yoga, in particular, may help.

According to a Harvard Medical School study, yoga can have a profound effect on your ability to get great sleep. The study took 20 participants who suffered from acute insomnia and taught each of them breathing, meditation and mantra. Participants then practiced these techniques prior to sleeping and chronicled their sleep for two weeks. The study showed that participants got more sleep and woke up less during the night. In another study conducted by the University of Rochester, cancer survivors reported feeling more rested after completing two light yoga sessions per week. In addition, yoga’s calming effects may help people deal with stress more efficiently. Breathing exercises and mental focus can alleviate stress, so yoga can help people relax and, eventually, sleep better.

If you are like many people and suffer from insomnia or other sleeping ailments, yoga may be a great option for you. Yoga can help you improve your strength, flexibility and balance, but you may be warding off future health issues because you’ll be giving insomnia the boot. Of course, check with your healthcare provider prior to trying something new, but it may be time for you to grab a mat and head to your nearest class. Your body and mind will thank you.