Article by Subham Sri
Do you sleep well at night? If you do, you are one of the lucky few. An average of 93% of Indians are sleep deprived of which only 2% are ready to discuss it. Studies suggest that around 1 in 3 people suffer from at least mild insomnia. Insomniacs report difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, being unable to sleep for long durations and waking up feeling tired and unrested. Foreseeably, the biggest cause of insomnia is mental stress, anxiety, depression etc.
Sleeplessness is addressed from various standpoints. It can be associated with many diseases and illnesses. What many fail to understand is that insomnia is not a part of the issue but a mere side-effect, caused by the stress of ill health. Sleeping medications address the effects of stress, altering brain chemistry allowing you to sleep, but the gap between the stressor and the solution is not effectively addressed.
The emphasis upon this is stronger because people from this generation are increasingly dependent on sleeping medication (each with its own, long-term side effects), failing to recognize the perfect alternative which helps them drift to blissful sleep - Yoga.
Yoga has shown to remarkably reduce cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Literally, driving your stress away. Lowered levels of cortisol means, you are able to relax and get those precious hours of shut-eye.
Yogic practices, asana and pranayama stimulate the pineal gland and hypothalamus, increase melatonin, the hormone secreted by the pineal gland and promote sound sleep. Meditation and mantra chanting refreshes and calms the mind. Yog nidra is effective in reducing anxiety and stress and induce restful sleep.
Yoga postures are helpful to restore body energy and balance. Allowing asanas to hold longer time than usual holding time. It relieves stress and reduces muscle tension and promote sound sleep.
Balasana Releases tension from the hip and back. Gently stretches the spine, hip, thighs and ankle. Calms the mind.
Uttanasana Relieves mental fatigue, mild depression and insomnia.
Viprit Karni Relieves tension from the leg, balances hormones and emotions.
Setubandha Asana Helpful in the back and hip pain calms the brain and central nervous system.
Supta Baddha Konasana Relaxes and calms the mind, relieves chest congestions and tension from the back.
• Yoga practice regulates routine. This automatically regulates sleeping times, patterns and any other habits which are detrimental to the sleep flow. A consistent person, who sticks to his lifestyle routine, in turn, is a happy sleeper, as his biological clock works on time. • Restorative poses, relax the body and stretch the muscles, replenishing the organs and providing the brain with lots of oxygen. Sleep provides you with these exact same benefits. What can we say, it's a master trickery of the brain. • Yoga, helps you balance your day and night, allowing the ‘fight or flight’ response which is enhanced by the day's activity to rest at night. Ending that tiring day with a satisfying sleep is always a need. • Yoga helps you put things into perspective, the matter which was causing you stress, seems trivial and even freeing compared to this magnanimous existence, increasing feelings of gratitude and satisfaction. A happy person sleeps a blissful sleep.
Cultivate a healthy lifestyle with your regular yoga practice. Yoga is the most effective ‘alternative medicine’ prescribed throughout the world. The better sleep bandwagon arrived centuries ago in the form of this practice. Read to know how these asanas will help you sleep better!