Despite the efforts of the $70 billion sleep-aid industry, many exhausted people are still searching for ways to get the sleep they need. Unfortunately, sleeping pills are the dominant treatment strategy for insomnia. Sleeping pills don’t work for everyone, have side effects and do not address the underlying stress that is keeping you awake.
Medical experts are increasingly advising those struggling with poor sleep to first try more natural solutions like yoga. According to "Yoga Can Help With Insomnia" by Psychology Today, "Researchers at Harvard Medical School investigated how a daily yoga practice might affect sleep for people with insomnia and found broad improvements to measurements of sleep quality and quantity."
Signs your sleep could use improvement include taking too long to fall asleep, waking multiple times with difficulty falling back asleep, overall light and restless sleep, and drowsiness during the day.
Sleep is an important component to health and wellness. There’s nothing quite like waking up feeling refreshed, alert, and ready to face the day.
Yogic Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
- Avoid bright screens and stimulants like caffeine, alcohol or nicotine close to bedtime.
- Exercise during the day so the body is ready to rest later. Be mindful of timing; exercising too late in the day can disrupt sleep.
- Get the firmest mattress that works for you, in order to support your spine and let your nervous system relax.
- Align your bed east-west. This is best to preserve your electromagnetic field from being drained by the earth’s north to south polarities.
- Eat your final meal at least 3-4 four hours before going to bed. If you eat early, your digestive system will be free from working overnight.
- While brushing your teeth, clear your monkey glands so that mucous may not go into your stomach. Do this by gently massaging the back of your throat with your toothbrush to induce gagging two to three times.
- Brush your hair down and, if long, braid it so it stays neat and tidy through the night.
- Wash your feet with cold water and massage them to get your nervous system ready for relaxation. As you massage your feet, detach from the world and tune into the cosmos. Rub your feet with a coarse towel.
- Drink a glass or two of water. Dehydration can disturb the sleeping mind. Waking up to use the bathroom is less disruptive to a whole night’s sleep than dehydration.
- Practice a restful activity before getting into bed. For example, do gentle yoga and slow breathing exercises, read a book, pray or meditate.
- A busy mind has difficulty sleeping. Quiet your thoughts by first visualizing all your worries, ideas and problems, wrapping them up in a package, then placing that package on a shelf in your mind. You’ll be amazed at how many are gone, solved or improved by the time you wake up.
- Set your mental timer to wake you up in the morning. Yes, your subconscious mind has a great sense of time and will respond to your directive with a little practice.
- Lie down on your stomach so your right cheek is on the pillow. This automatically opens your left nostril to bring in cooling, calming energy. Practice long, deep breathing in this position. Relax your body. If you are feeling particularly restless, you can help eliminate anxiety by making a fist of your two hands and placing them directly under the navel. This will hurt if you need it, but it works.
- Once you feel drowsy, turn over onto your back, side, or your preferred sleeping position. Continue long, deep breathing and enter a blissful sleep to regain your health.