Sweet Slumber: Yoga for Better Sleep

by Mary Hilliker, RDN, E-RYT 500, CYT

Sleep Healthy people govWhen sleep escapes you and fatigue is your daytime companion, it’s time to evaluate what action you can take to improve sleep. Your yoga toolbox has many tools but you need to know which ones to apply to your situation.

The roots of sleeplessness may be related to age, stress, hormonal changes, pain, digestive distress, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, other health issues, treatments, medications, exercise (lack of or timing), diet, or lifestyle. Yoga is especially helpful for reducing symptoms of fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, digestive distress and menopause, and creating awareness around the impact of lifestyle choices on the body’s natural rhythms of wakefulness and sleepiness.

The tools of yoga are skillfully applied based on the characteristics of sleeplessness. Some people have trouble falling asleep. Others wake in the middle of the night. The early risers may wake at 4 am even though the alarm is set for 6 am. And some individuals sleep for 8 hours yet never feel rested and refreshed.

Yoga tools that may be used for sleeplessness include yoga postures, breath adaptation in the postures, breathing practices, guided relaxation, meditation, or sound. Talk to a certified Yoga Therapist about how to apply the tools for your particular pattern of sleeplessness. A Yoga Therapist can help you with:

■ Setting the stage for better sleep with lifestyle and yoga techniques
■ Yoga techniques for falling asleep
■ What to do when you wake during the night
■ How to approach waking early
■ Quick and easy techniques for dealing with daytime fatigue
■ Changing your relationship with your sleeplessness.

One of the most common experiences of sleeplessness is not being able to fall asleep because of stress and repetitive negative or worrisome thoughts. Yoga tools that may be applied in this situation include lifestyle changes, and a short evening yoga practice of simple postures with breath adaptation, a short breathing practice that promotes calmness, and guided relaxation or meditation.

Whether you need better sleep, more sleep, or better energy during the day, your yoga toolbox has options for skillful action. You can learn how to use those tools for sweet dreams at night and vitality and clear thinking during the day.

Learn more about our upcoming webinar series, Yoga for Better Sleep.

Mary Hilliker is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist and Certified Viniyoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. She teaches group classes, individualized Yoga Therapy and yoga teacher training in Wausau, WI. You can contact her at mary@riverflowyoga.net or www.riverflowyoga.net.

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