Yesterday I read a post on Hummingbird604.com titled Insomnia in the 604. If you haven’t read the post yet, it’s basically about “checking in” at 604Insomnia (on Foursquare) which was started by @mini604. Raul goes on to talk about how many natural remedies (drinking warm milk, taking melatonin etc.) have failed to work for him. This inspired me to talk a little bit about how Yoga can help with sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Sleep disorders are usually divided into 3 categories: Medical, Psychological and Environmental. We won’t get into types of disorders and which categories they fit into. Instead, we will talk about sleep disorders as a general term. Yoga techniques (pranayama and asana) increase the sensitivity to bodily functions and cellular changes. Yoga improves the circulatory system, digestive system, renal system, respiratory system, and nervous system. Asanas can help to regulate the functioning of adrenal glands which produce the hormone serotonin. Basically, serotonin helps us to maintain that “happy” feeling and tends to improve our moods by aiding in sleep (as well as other things). Not every asana helps to achieve this effect; different asanas help with different functions of the body. Primarily, a restorative yoga practice will give calming and cooling effects to the nervous system, which is of great importance when it comes to sleep!
Sleep, at some point in life, is a real problem for many people for various reasons. While some causes are very serious and should be treated by a physician, it could be a good idea to incorporate complimentary therapies such as Yoga into your treatment (if recommended by your physician). Yoga, by means of asanas, pranayama and meditation helps to induce sleep and relaxation. If you haven’t given it a try yet I highly recommend starting off with Savasana – if it seems like something that may work for you, take the next step and take a restorative yoga class. We only function as well as we treat our bodies – sleep well everyone!