Trouble Sleeping? Try Yoga!

By Emily Murray 

For those who can’t sleep the recommended 7 to 9 hours each night there is no feeling of peace as the end of the day grows near.

According to a recent Huffington Post article, nearly two-thirds of all American’s suffer from sleep deprivation. When you consider not only the psychical need for sleep but the mental need for it too, missing out on these valuable hours of slumber can lead to some serious complications in everyday life.

Some of the most common problems that can result from sleep deprivation over time include:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • muscle aches
  • risk of diabetes
  • headaches
  • confusion
  • obesity
  • trouble concentrating

These are just a few of the complications that can arise if you are having sleep problems. While there are medical causes of sleep deprivation, often stress, anxiety and overactive thoughts can lead to difficulty sleeping. If you are one of the millions affected by this condition, you might want to try yoga according to researchers.

A Natural Way to Help Ease Sleep Deprivation 

Sleeping pills or other medications are often prescribed for patients with insomnia but they too come with their own set of unwanted side effects, like drowsiness and difficulty waking in the morning. For those who want to try a natural approach, the study published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback might be of some interest. Through this study researchers discovered that yoga was effective in helping ease sleep issues in study participants.

The Study 

Harvard Medical School researchers taught 20 study participants how to do meditation, yoga breathing and mantra all in one meeting. For the next 8 weeks these same participants practiced what they had been taught before bedtime with limited phone call follow ups and in person meetings. In order to track the effects the participants kept a log about their sleeping a wakefulness for 2 weeks before learning these relaxation skills and for the entire 8 weeks that they were practicing them.

The results revealed significant improvement in the sleep patterns of all the participants involved. It’s believed that the breathing used in yoga and meditation along with the movements are enough to help many with sleep difficulties begin getting more sleep at night.

This is just one of many studies that have been conducted in the benefits of yoga for both body and mind. Never tried it? Take a class or two and see if it helps your sleep patterns. Do you have a personal story to share about your experience with yoga? Feel free to comment below!