A Melo introduction to the new year:
Hello to everyone again, this is officially our first article of 2023! Melo Yoga is officially stepping in to the new year… only two months late. To start our year, we felt like speaking about something that relates to us all… that would be sleep. In general, most of us probably feel like we do not get enough sleep or a good enough quality of sleep from day to day. A lack of sleep can be attributed to many different factors. This includes work schedules, excess time spent on phones/technology and simply a lack of proper sleeping schedule. However, like with many things there are many solutions to any broad problem. Let’s explore what the science says regarding yoga and how it can improve your sleep!
The effects of a lack of sleep on the body:
Besides just ‘feeling tired the next day’ there are numerous ways a lack of sleep negatively affects our bodies and minds. Just some of the immediate effects are:
- Issues with long and short term memory
- Trouble with concentration
- Mood swings
- Heightened blood pressure.
These are just a few of the many possible effects! None of this sound great, especially alongside the rest of the stressors we experience in our daily lives.
What type of yoga works best for aiding sleep:
According to medical experts on sleep, moderate to high activity yoga such as vinyasa are great when performed a few hours before bed. However, for a slower based form of yoga done just before bed its recommended to apply gentler movements that focus on breathing and focusing on extending your breathing. These can be found in yoga like Yin and Nidra.
Four exercises that specifically work well before bed include:
- Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
- Reclined Butterfly (supta baddha konasana)
- Legs up the wall (Viparita Kirani)
- Standing forward bend (uttanasana)
A final note on yoga’s relation to improving sleep:
Yoga is a versatile tool towards improving all aspects of your life, including improving the quality of your sleep. A lot of research has looked at how yoga can improve the quality of sleep and reduce stress in the most physically demanding jobs. Two to three sessions a week, performed for 30-60 minutes can have a noticeable improvement in the overall quality of your sleep. In summary, there are two different types of yoga you can perform during the day to help with your sleep: Moderate to high activity yoga i.e., Vinyasa or slower, more relaxed yoga i.e., Yin and Nidra.
The type of yoga suitable for you, depends on your personal situation including work schedule, family demands, mood state etc. Alongside yoga there are other things you can do besides it to help sort out your sleeping pattern! Try reducing your screen time before bed, avoiding caffeinated drinks late into the night, create a regular wake-up and sleep time and avoid heavy meals before bed. Good luck with improving your sleep!