We spoke about the importance of sleep and how yoga helps you sleep better in Yoga for Better Sleep. It’s safe to say that without a good night’s sleep our days lack productivity and focus. Our bodies are screaming for rest and we often find ourselves experiencing multiple physical and physiological problems. Now, with the winters here we might feel like sleeping in or getting a couple of extra hours but if our minds are not rested, our sleep is not really restful.
What yogic practices help you sleep better?
Simple yogic practices like breathing exercises (Pranayama), a few stretches, the right diet and yoga nidra can help you achieve that restful 7-8 hours of sleep that you’re craving for.
Calming Pranayama or Breathing Exercises
Practices like Ujjayi and deep Yogic breathing help you relax and calm down your nerves. While you can do these practices at any time of the day, a few minutes of this before going to bed is very helpful in relaxing your mind and body. Learn how to practice this the right way with a teacher.
Relaxing Asanas or Stretches
A few stretches have a relaxing, impactful effect on the body if done before hitting the sack. Bedtime yoga helps you fall asleep quickly and enables a deep, restful night’s sleep. These are easy, simple stretches that do not stimulate heat or energize the body, but rather induce a relaxed state of mind. Care should be taken not to pressurize the abdomen, as these practices are done after your evening meal. It’s also always best to sleep on the left side, rather than on the back.
Here are a few bedtime practices to do guided by our Head of Yoga, Pradeep:
The Right Diet
Ayurveda always recommends eating light in the evening and eating as per your dosha or body composition. Soups, lentils, fruits or a salad are easy on the stomach and fast to digest. The less your digestive system has to work at night, the better your sleep. It is also recommended to eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before you head to bed. Now, with winter here, there are many dietary and lifestyle suggestions you can follow in keeping with the season. Eating as per our dosha (body composition - Vata, Pitta, Kapha) and what foods are suitable for the particular dosha also impacts our digestion. In winter, there are several foods for each dosha that are suitable. There are also recommended sleep routines for each dosha.
Here are a few:
According to Ayurveda, when we follow the right seasonal recommendations our body and mind remains healthy, strong and balanced. When all of this is in-sync, our minds are also calm, relaxed and it’s easier to drop all thoughts and occurrences from the day gone by and just sleep. Doshas can easily imbalance if an unsuitable diet or lifestyle routine is followed and this immediately impacts our health, and quality of sleep. Speak to an Ayurveda expert to know your dosha and the dos and don’ts of it.
This deep and profound practice of guided relaxation is scientifically known to influence our brain activity, autonomic nervous system and subsequently, our overall well-being.Through this relaxation, while it appears we are sleeping, our subconscious mind is in a state of deep awareness. Regular practice helps us drop all thoughts, worries and stresses of the day and induces restful sleep. Far from the impact of screening movies and shows on our phones to help us sleep, Yoga Nidra promotes a relaxed state of sleep.
When practiced regularly under the guidance of a teacher, you’ll experience a complete shift in the quality of sleep and subsequently, heightened productivity, focus and balance.
Here is a step-by-step guided Yoga Nidra by our Head of Yoga, Pradeep:
With the Holiday season around the corner, lifestyle and routine can very quickly go out the window, affecting how we sleep. You don’t want to be feeling tired through the Holidays - follow these simple practices to help you sleep better.