The National Sleep Foundation estimates that adults over the age of 18 require seven to nine hours of sleep per night to maintain optimal functioning. However, CDC findings reveal that up to 48.9% of American adults experience short sleep duration, falling short of that seven-hour mark on a routine basis.
Fatigue isn’t the only consequence of a lack of shut-eye; sleeplessness can also result in memory issues, lack of concentration, weight gain, weakened immunity and vulnerability to disease… the list goes on. Many of the trappings of our modern lives, from busy schedules to blue light from screens, can disturb our circadian rhythms and keep us tossing and turning.
Many Americans turn to over-the-counter or prescription sleep medications, but these can cause side effects and place the user at risk of addiction. We recommend healthy, all-natural alternatives, like the herbal goodness of Swiss Bedtime Blend. Another holistic remedy for sleeplessness is yoga.
Yoga has long been a practice that connects the body and mind, making the yogi (no matter how beginner) more in touch with his or her natural bodily rhythms. Yoga is widely known to improve flexibility, strength, breathing and mental focus… but did you know that yoga has also proven highly beneficial for sleep?
Practicing yoga on a schedule helps your body establish routine. Get your mind and your body accustomed to yoga as an indicator that it’s almost time to sleep, and you’ll find yourself drifting off sooner. Swapping out screens for a yoga mat before bed will also help you effortlessly cut out some of that harmful blue light.
Yoga stabilizes your central nervous system, which relaxes your body before bed. Even when your brain has stopped thinking about the stress of the day, your bodily stress can keep you awake even when you’re exhausted. Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system (your body’s “rest and digest” state) to bring the body back to homeostasis.
Yoga lowers our stress levels. In a national survey by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, over 85% said that yoga helped reduce stress. Yoga reduces the body’s levels of cortisone (the “stress hormone”).
If aches and pains keep you awake at night, yoga can help. Yoga can relieve pain and muscle stiffness. Practicing yoga can increase strength, flexibility and mobility without placing excess stress on the joints.
Yoga’s deep breathing naturally promotes relaxation. Yoga facilitates the practitioner’s relaxation, emphasizing deep breathing and mindfulness — all essential to falling asleep. Breathing exercises promote circulation of oxygen, which equips the body to complete all of the revitalizing tasks it does during sleep.
If a nightly yoga regimen alone isn’t enough to get you swiftly to sleep, try Swiss Bedtime Blend, our deliberate combination of organic herbs that naturally facilitate sleep. Sweet dreams!
Try these poses to facilitate a good night’s rest:
Pigeon Pose increases hip flexibility and relieves back pain. This pose is known to release pent-up stress and anxiety, and makes for a great addition to a before-bed yoga ritual.
Sometimes called “the destroyer of disease,” Lotus Pose has the ability to promote a sense of well-being across the entire body. This pose settles stressed nerves and calms the mind. Incorporate this pose into a pre-bed routine to meditate and relax.
If back pain holds you back from being comfortable in your bed, try stretching your spine and working out the kinks with Happy Baby Pose. This pose also calms the brain and relieves stress.
Standing Forward Bend
This pose is beneficial for digestion, stimulating the liver and kidneys. As you settle into Standing Forward Bend, you’ll feel tension in your hamstrings, calves and hips melt away. Since this pose reduces anxiety and insomnia, try it before bed.
Reclining Goddess Pose
Reclining Goddess Pose will give you a heavenly relaxation before you go to sleep. This pose stretches the thighs and groin, relieving any muscular tension in those areas. Yogis have long believed this posture to relieve some symptoms of stress and depression.
Shavasana: Corpse Pose:
Be prepared to sink into an intense relaxation in Shavasana, also known as Corpse Pose. This pose brings the yogi into a deep state of muscular rest, which helps to release stress. Shavasana helps reduce blood pressure, stimulates circulation, and assists in the repair of tissues and cells. Conclude your yoga session with this pose to give your body the opportunity to sink in the workout at a deeper level and seamlessly transition to sleep.