How can I improve sleep quality with yoga, meditation or mudras?
After an exhausting day you finally fall into bed and … Your mind stays there, fully awake, wandering through the most diverse thoughts. Did you identify yourself?
Well, this mental mess is quite common thanks to the hectic, stressful and full of compromise life we carry, especially in big cities.
If you suffer from insomnia or have trouble getting to sleep, we have good news! Meditation can help you cope with this problem and provide a lighter, more relaxing and refreshing sleep.
Check out this post how meditation helps you sleep better and how to bring this technique into your life.
What is meditation?
Many people mistakenly associate meditation with a religion or something that only Zen masters and enlightened people are fit to practice.
But in fact, meditation is a way of silencing and calming the mind, detaching ourselves from external stimuli and providing contact with our inner world.
Meditation is paramount for any human being who wants to get off the autopilot, that dangerous state of mind, in which we perform our tasks as machines, totally submerged in the day-to-day stressful routine.
And contrary to what many people think, meditation can be practiced by anyone, and a few minutes a day is enough for a significant improvement in the quality of life. Here’s our post talking about the types of meditation.
What are the causes of sleep problems?
The difficulty of sleeping can be caused by several factors, such as excessive visual, sound and electronic stimuli before bedtime, poor diet and emotional stress, such as quarrels and arguments.
It is also influenced by other deeper aspects such as dissatisfaction with life and emotional problems such as guilt, sadness, regret, among others.
All this added to the heavy and stressful routine causes mental, physical and psychological tiredness that unbalances our energetic body, hampering our sleep.
How does meditation help you sleep better?
When we develop sleep disorders or other problems like anxiety and depression, it means that we are distancing ourselves from our inner self and our meditative state.
This detachment occurs because of all the factors we have mentioned above and meditation appears as a tool that disconnects us from external concerns and stimuli, leaving our minds free for relaxation and rest.
Imagine this: you are invited to take a dip in a pool. But he’s holding a lot of bags. If you dive immediately, you will not be able to swim, as the bags will be limiting or impeding your movement. You should first drop the bags, then dive and swim freely.
The same happens with sleep. To fully sleep, you must first free yourself from all the thoughts, feelings and worries that bind you and that is how meditation helps you sleep better.
Step by step of the meditation to sleep
Meditation should be trained like any other resistance exercise: every day, with discipline and focus.
Before meditation it is important to finalize your day in a positive way.
Sit on the bed with your back straight and make a brief mental summary of your day. Thank the good things that have happened, turn the bad things into learning, accept it as it has gone and prepare to recharge the energies for the next day. Then start the meditation technique:
- Still sitting with your back straight, breathe deeply inhaling and exhaling through your nose without imagining anything, any stimulus can nourish your mind;
- Establish a “focus” below the nose where the air passes and feels it coming in and out of your body;
- Stay like this, exercising your breath and totally absorbed and concentrated in it;
- At this moment, many thoughts will come to visit you, however you should not dialogue with them. Notice their presence and let them pass like clouds;
- The concentration must be all in the breath, feeling the air entering and leaving the body;
- Stay in this exercise for at least five minutes. Over time and increasing your concentration power, you can extend your meditation time;
- At the end of the exercise, stretch, and lie down.
For a good night’s sleep, it’s important to leave the room totally dark, turning off even electronic lights that are in the environment, as they can change the quality and depth of sleep.
It is a fact that meditation helps you sleep better. But in addition to meditating, you need to rethink your lifestyle. Decelerate, you are not and should not be multitasking. Begin to live more present, after all, no exercise will really be effective if we do not change the essence of our way of living.
Yoga: the solution for a better sleep
In our western society, a yoga class is often seen as a relaxing gymnastics course or an oriental version of stretching.
However, yoga is an extremely rich Indian philosophy . It provides numerous benefits, such as obtaining an excellent restful sleep.
Yoga practiced in the West is often hatha yoga , one of the many branches of yoga. “Ha” means “sun” and “tha” means “moon”. “Yoga” is the union of opposite energies.
Our life is a difficult balance between positive and negative forces. Getting to reconcile both oppositions is one of the goals of yoga postures.
In yoga, everything is vital energy in our body. That is why breathing is so important: it feeds this vital force that circulates in us through 7 chakras arranged along our spinal column.
The energy of the breath is redistributed to the whole body by the chakras.
By eliminating the effects of bad postures we perform, yoga exercises allow the energy to circulate again correctly.
Of course, all this is very simplified and the study of yoga deserves special attention, it is an exciting philosophy.
Yoga allows us to separate our mind from difficult or painful thoughts, such as professional anger, love difficulties or calculation of the family budget, making the body recover elasticity and relax the mind , which allows us to sleep well.
Yoga is an ideal solution to enjoy a quality sleep and avoid taking medications , harmful to the body and to which we tend to habituate.
What postures favor before sleeping?
To relax and let yourself be invaded by a feeling of well-being in order to sleep well, there are several positions! These favor the production of sleep hormones and will be much more effective than taking a chamomile.
Be careful not to go beyond your limits. It is not about being as elastic as possible, just relaxing, nobody looks at you or judges you.
The twisting torsion (Parivritta Janu Sirsasana)
Do not worry if you are not so flexible, it works the same!
This position relaxes the dorsal muscles and releases endorphins (pleasure hormones).
- Sit on your buttocks and stretch one leg in front of you,
- Fold the other leg and put the heel in the hollow of the thigh,
- Place the hand of the stretched leg on the toes, heels or knee, depending on the difficulty,
- Leaning towards the leg opening the bust, in the rotation position,
- Hold the position for 5 or 10 full breaths,
- Change of leg
The position of the cat (Marjarasana)
Contraindication: lumbar pains.
This position stretches the back and relaxes the muscular tensionsaccumulated in this area.
- Stand on four supports,
- Expiration by rounding the back and contracting the belly, looking at the floor, chin tilted towards the chest,
- Inspire and lower your back facing forward,
- Repeat 15 times taking care not to contract the trapezoids.
The position of the dog with the head down (Ado Mukha Svanasana)
The ideal posture to relieve back pain and slow down the heart rate to go to sleep.
- Position with four supports,
- Hands spaced shoulder width apart, lift up the pelvis to reach the back in an inverted V shape,
- Unfold your legs and try to place your heels on the ground,
- Breathe deeply three times and then return to the starting position.
The child’s posture (Balasana)
This very relaxing posture allows you to focus on yourself and relax your entire muscles.
- With knees on the floor, sit on your heels and bend your bust forward to put your forehead on the floor,
- Stretching the arms in front or placing us along the body,
- Breathe slowly between 5 and 10 full breaths.
The position of the corpse (Savasana)
With this unglamorous name, this posture is usually the final position to prepare to sleep. It can be done directly lying on the bedspread, before falling into the arms of Morpheus.
- Lie down with your feet spread wide across the pelvis,
- Both arms extended on the sides,
- Head well aligned,
- Inspire deeply through the nose causing the belly to swell and without moving the rib cage (abdominal breathing),
- Expiration slowly through the mouth, until the belly regains its natural position,
- Relax the feet, the twins, the legs, the pelvis, up to the head.
The abdominal breathing relaxes the nervous system: digestion, respiration, blood circulation, secretions …
If you had an especially stressful day, if you need to clear up before an exam or you just have a little time, it’s ideal!
- Many people suffer from problems sleeping. Although in the short term, the lack of sleep affects our mood and our physical and intellectual capacities, in the long term, it can be dangerous : cardiovascular problems, hypertension, etc.
- If counting little sheep is not enough, yoga before going to bed is an excellent way to fall asleep quickly and have a quality sleep.
- Be careful not to hurt yourself by practicing yoga alone. There are professionals who can advise you. Find our yoga superprofessionalsthroughout Spain!
Fall asleep more easily thanks to yoga postures and meditation.
Whatever the reason for your lack of sleep, there are solutions at your fingertips. Would you like to know the best relaxation techniques ? Read our article!
There are studies that link insomnia and increased risk of serious health problems, such as diabetes and stroke, as well as depression, decreased abilities, memory failures and other cognitive deficiencies.
Luckily, there are simple techniques based on yoga that you can use every night to fall asleep and not wake up every so often.
Example of exercise: comfortably installed with the head on the pillow. Close your eyes. Inspire by the nose …
You will feel how your lower ribs rise, instead of inflating your chest.
Expire and concentrate on your lower ribs in rotation and internal descent.
It is important that you feel the rib cage release down when you expire, for the proper functioning of the diaphragm.
Try to prolong and deepen your breathing to match this model: count 5 inhalation, count 5 expiration and count 2 the pause after expiration
Once you have established the breathing pattern, start counting your breaths backwards from 20 to 1. Concentrate mentally on an image of each number and the sensations of your breathing. If you are not already staying asleep after 20 breaths (between three and four minutes), repeat the process, from 30 or 40 breaths.
Practicing this six-minute yoga program before bedtime offers constant quality rest by creating an optimal physical base (muscle relaxation and body positioning) and psychological (parasympathetic nervous system and diaphragmatic breathing) to fall asleep and stay asleep.