Yoga for sound sleep


In these busy times, sleep is a precious commodity.  Both students and adults experience day to day pressures causing undue stress which eventually affects sleep patterns. The body has its optimal rhythm for sleep and rest.  This is called the Circardian rhythm. The quality of sleep that we get is an indicator of our overall health and wellbeing.   The body needs the rest for rejuvenation of the vital organs.

If the sleep cycle is disturbed on a regular basis, we start building sleep debt, where we are constantly tired, fatigued, listless, which eventually leads to ailments.  Even though 8 hours of sleep is recommended, it still differs from individual to individual. Some people thrive on less while others simply cannot.  Rather than quantity, it is the quality of rest that matters.  If you are well rested, you wake up feeling light, alert and looking forward to the day.

To feel fully rested it is important to sleep and get up on a schedule.  Between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. is when the sleep is at its deepest for most people, when the body is in rejuvenation mode.  Factors like light and darkness can also impact sleep.  The body rhythm anticipates half a day of light followed by a half day of  darkness.  Exposure to bright light for long periods of time disturbs the cycle and can affect sleep quality Especially, with the overuse of electronics, most people have difficulty falling asleep on time.

To ensure a good night’s rest, it is important to follow a few guidelines which can be easily incorporated into your schedule.

1) Get in tune with your biological rhythm.  This would mean that you are eating and sleeping at the same time each day.  By doing this you also prolong the health of the digestive system, as your system knows when to expect food and produces the necessary enzymes for digestion.   It is a well known fact that good health is a consequence of a well functioning digestive system.

2) Eat nutritious, healthy diet and eliminate strong stimulants like coffee, coke and caffeinated energy drinks.  Stimulants negatively affect the nervous system by artificially increasing alertness making falling asleep difficult. Having a cup of coffee to start off your day is fine, but if you are dependent on stimulants to keep your system alert, then there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

3) Spend time outdoors. It is important to get sunlight for 20 minutes every day.  Our body is meant to be in the sun, and exposure to sunlight during the day is important for wellbeing.

In addition to the above, add a gentle yoga routine that can help with relaxation and help you fall asleep naturally.  Yoga reduces the cortisol levels in the brain and helps alleviate stress.  Constant intake of caffeine and exposure to unnatural bright light can artificially activate the nervous system.  By doing  yoga on a daily basis, you can sleep for longer, fall asleep faster, and return to sleep more quickly if you wake up in the middle of the night.   Working yoga into the bedtime routine will help relax the mind and body.  So doing the right type of yoga right before bedtime is key to getting sound sleep.



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