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Yoga has a reputation for being calming and relaxing, as well as improving flexibility. Do those benefits continue once you’re lying in bed at night?
Here are a few ways that yoga can improve sleep quality.
– Deep breathing
When you do yoga, you’re encouraged to be conscious of your breathing. You’ll take deep, slow breaths in and out.
Breathing exercises reduce stress. In fact, it’s thought that deep breathing leads to the Relaxation Response because it’s an activity that you can only do when you’re in a safe space.
Most of the time, you’re on edge and prepared for a fight or flight response. This state of being goes back generation after generation, to our ancestors that were constantly on edge and alert to stay aware of nearby predators.
When you have the opportunity to breathe deeply, you’re clearly not running from a sabre-toothed cat, and so your body and mind can relax. The Relaxation Response reduces blood pressure, relaxes the muscles and slows the heart rate and metabolism, all of which can help you to sleep better.
– Reduced stress
It’s estimated that approximately 20.4 million people do yoga each day around the globe.
Many people do yoga to unwind at the end of the day. It helps to clear the mind, providing the perfect opportunity to throw away the day’s thoughts and stresses.
Before you do your yoga exercises, you can take additional steps to get rid of unwanted emotions. Keep a notebook by your yoga mat, and write a list of tasks that you’ll need to carry over to tomorrow. You can also use this book to record a shortlist of the day’s events, and to evaluate your emotional state.
– Pain relief
Yoga helps to stretch muscles and improves flexibility and posture. All of these elements lead to overall pain relief, which can help you to get a night of better sleep.
There are few things worse than climbing into bed and noticing those little aches and pains. Often, they come as a result of sitting down for too long as a desk or slumping in front of the TV.
Yoga has been shown to be beneficial for cancer survivors, women going through the menopause and people with arthritis, amongst other studied groups.
– Positive mental attitude
At the end of the day, you want to go to bed feeling good about yourself. Yoga helps, improving self-esteem and boosting mood.
You can feel good about the day’s activities if you know that you’ve ended on a positive note. You’ve done some exercise, and something to take care of your body.
Often, people struggle to sleep because they climb into bed and feel like they’ve wasted their day. They might think that they’ve done nothing productive, to benefit themselves or other people.
If you end your day with a yoga routine, then you can go to bed happy. You’ll be able to say, with confidence, that no matter what the day has brought it’s ended on a positive note.