Sleep deficit and disorders are becoming more common in people across the world than ever before. India is the second-most sleep-deprived country in the world, with an average person sleeping for seven hours and one minute, according to a 2019 study conducted by the US-based firm Fitbit across 18 countries. 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep issues which affects daily functioning and impacts long-term health. Stress and fast-paced life are some of the factors that could be affecting our sleep. Yoga can help improve sleep quality by easing stress and relaxing the body and mind to prepare them better for rest. There are asanas, pranayama and meditation practices that can help you sleep well every day.
On the occasion of International Yoga Day, Dr Hansaji Yogendra, Director, The Yoga Institute and President of the Indian Yoga Association suggests Yoga asanas that help manage sleep disorders or improve quality of sleep.
“In the modern times, sleep disturbances are becoming common due to challenging professions, work stress, or other health and lifestyle factors. Yoga is an effective pathway towards the restoration of deep sleep and managing insomnia. It has the power to delicately soothe the wearied mind and body into a serene slumber,” says the Yoga expert.
1. Surya namaskar
This fluid sequence of poised postures, if practiced slowly in the evening, pays homage to the resplendent energy of the sun, seamlessly channelling it inward. Each movement within this graceful dance between strength and surrender gently elongates the limbs and invokes the release of pent-up tension.
This Stick Pose, in its resolute stillness and gentle stretch, offers a sense of quietude to the body and mind. The meditative rhythm of the stretches serve as a harmonizing force, compelling the body-mind complex to relinquish its restlessness
In its auspiciousness, this pose is akin to the delicate unfurling of petals. It slowly releases stiffness, strengthens, and stretches. It offers respite to fatigued muscles and gradually eases the knots of tension in the lower body.
The Bee Breath resonates as a hymn of profound serenity at bedtime. This practice gently leads the weary mind away from the chaos of the world. As one harmoniously emulates the drone of a bee, the vibrations drown out the cacophony of disquieting thoughts.
5. Abdominal breathing
This rhythmic symphony of the breath orchestrates each inhalation and exhalation. The steady rise and fall of the abdomen serve as a lullaby of solace, entrancing the mind into a state of profound relaxation
“These asanas and pranayama enhance melatonin levels which leads to a peaceful state of mind that naturally helps promote sleep. These techniques work wonders in relaxing the nervous system to easily manage insomnia and restlessness during the night,” says Dr Hansaji Yogendra.