One of the most impactful and significant benefits of following a yoga lifestyle is enjoying peaceful sleep every night. People who struggle with insomnia, depression, anxiety, and sleepless nights, turn to yoga for a relaxed body and mind that greatly affects and impacts the sleeping routine in a good way.
Among the many kinds and types of yoga, one beneficial kind of yoga is Nidra yoga, which helps people with the calmness of mind, further enhancing and improving their sleep and resting time. If you are new to Nidra yoga and even experience sleeping issues, here is a detailed discussion regarding why sleep is so important for a healthy life, what Nidra yoga is, its benefits, how to perform it, and how it can impact your sleep.
Importance of Peaceful Sleep for a Healthy Life
Sleep is a natural way for humans to reset their minds, relax their bodies and mind for some time, and provide a resting phase to their consciousness. In addition to having a beneficial impact on the mind and consciousness, good sleep greatly affects a person’s body. Here are the key reasons why a peaceful sleep is so important for a healthy life:
- A strong immune system requires regular rest. Someone who sleeps fewer than seven hours each night is three times more likely to catch a cold as compared to one who gets eight hours or more of sleep.
- Those who get enough sleep consume fewer calories. Lack of sleep disrupts the normal fluctuation of hunger hormones, which leads to an increase in appetite.
- The risk of a stroke or heart disease are higher in people with trouble sleeping. Adults need to obtain enough sleep, since chronic disorders linked to sleep deprivation are prevalent.
- Sports performance can be improved by getting enough sleep. A restful night’s sleep can enhance quickness, accuracy, mental clarity, and reaction time.
- Inflammation is related to inadequate sleep. Inflammation and cell damage indicators might be activated at night if you don’t get enough sleep. In addition, lack of sleep is connected to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a condition that causes the digestive system to become inflamed.
- Sleep impacts your emotions and makes it harder to engage with others. You have a harder time identifying and reacting to social cues and processing emotional information when you have a bad sleep cycle.
- Higher body weight has been connected to less sleep. One of the biggest risk factors for becoming obese is sleep deprivation.
- Getting enough sleep enhances cognitive function generally and productivity. According to one study, lack of sleep affects brain processes similarly to drinking alcohol.
- Risk of Type 2 diabetes and glucose metabolism are both impacted by sleep. Limiting daily rest impacts blood sugar levels and lowers insulin sensitivity, resulting in prediabetes in healthy persons in as little as six days.
- Sleep deprivation has been related to a variety of mental health problems. For instance, it’s thought that 90% of depressed individuals have sleep issues. Additionally, persons with sleeping problems like insomnia report having much greater levels of depression than those without.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra, also known as “Yogic Sleep,” is a meditation session that combines reflection and deep breathing to encourage a harmonious bond between the body and mind. This yoga meditation technique is frequently thought to encourage deep sleep because it enables the mind and body to relax while the conscious mind is still awake.
As it treats and cures weariness and tiredness, it allows the mind to halt; the entire yoga practice also takes place in a lying-down position. Yoga Nidra teaches you to consciously receive rest, which helps you get to sleep and even have a deeper slumber.
You can unwind and break free from those negative thought patterns with guided imagery in a session. And if you practice it frequently enough, it may even teach you how to calm your brain waves and enter a state of mind that is more conducive to sleeping.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
The advantages of yoga are numerous. Yoga Nidra can assist people of any age and aptitude to unwind and let go of tension before night, regardless of whether they experience anxiety, general stress, insomnia, or discomfort.
Adults can benefit from lying down and clearing their minds before bed, much as we gently cradle children to help them go off to sleep. Following are the significant benefits of yoga Nidra:
Heart rate variability, or HRV, measures the fluctuations in duration between each pulse in milliseconds. The autonomic nerve system (ANS), which regulates your respiration, blood pressure, and metabolism regarding your heart rate, is in charge of this fluctuation or irregularity, which is perfectly typical even for a healthy heart. A 2012 study found that HRV can improve even when postures aren’t physically practiced.
Improved Blood Pressure
Yoga meditation like this one feels fantastic, but science also supports its advantages. Researchers discovered that Yoga Nidra helped women’s blood pressure and hormonal imbalances in two published papers. After practicing Yoga Nidra for 30 consecutive days, Type 2 diabetics’ blood glucose levels fluctuated less frequently, according to researchers.
Improved Self-Esteem and Confidence
You can boost your self-esteem and confidence by practicing frequently. In a recent study published in 2019, researchers examined how yoga Nidra affected university students’ levels of life stress and self-esteem. In comparison to the control group, the Nidra yoga practitioners’ levels of life stress were significantly lower, according to the data.
Reduced Anxiety and Stress
In a different study, five researchers examined the effects of a brief, 11-minute Yoga Nidra practice over 30 days in a wide-ranging sample of the public. Comparatively to the control group, the group who received the brief meditation demonstrated reduced stress, higher well-being, and enhanced quality of sleep after the intervention.
Additionally, the benefits of the treatment were still present six weeks later. You can benefit from this cost-free, health-improving practice by simply setting aside a short period before bedtime to meditate and concentrate on mindfulness. According to a recent yoga study, Yoga Nidra is a useful tool for lowering the physical and mental signs of anxiety.
How Yoga Nidra Improves Your Sleep
To start with, you sense your body and breathe in particular ways to elicit the relaxation response. The relaxation response harmonizes the left and right brain as well as the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Your brain changes during this process from beta, a highly active, awake state, to alpha, a much more relaxed one.
Serotonin, a hormone that controls your mood, is released in alpha waves, which calm you down. Your brain begins “powering down” or entering a rest phase with slower, therapeutic brainwave activity as you shift it into an alpha state.
From alpha, you enter the dream state of sleep, a deeper alpha and high-theta brainwave state. Your mental rate decreases to 4-8 responses per second while in theta. When in theta, a person might see or hear colors, have visions, or hear someone speaking while simultaneously not hearing them. You start there when you step into the void.
Theta is followed by delta when your thought rate ranges from 1 to 3.9 per second. Your organs heal, and the stress hormone cortisol is flushed out of your system in this restorative condition. A delta brainwave condition, which provides bodies a chance to heal themselves, is also present in coma patients.
Our bodies don’t shut down or get a chance to repair themselves, and very few people in our culture regularly enter theta or delta sleep, which is the deep sleep phase. Theta and delta states are rarely experienced by depressed people, who mostly experience beta and alpha states.
The controlled yoga Nidra experience moves you from the delta into a deeper brainwave state from which you cannot awaken through regular sleep. Your brain is incapable of thought in the fourth awareness level, below the delta.
Though you are aware, this condition resembles total unconsciousness. Living in this profound condition of surrender every day would be challenging, since your consciousness is so removed from your physical body.
You are led back to an awake world after touching into the fourth state of awareness. Again, you can’t stay in this fourth state, but by tapping into it, you can return to your awake, normal brain state with a little serenity. Since your subconscious mind is more fertile and receptive to intents and affirmations in this fourth state than in your waking state, you can also rewire your ideas and emotions.
As you go about your daily life, you start to relax even more in the gap between your emotions and your thoughts. This relaxation creates a sense of liberation since you are less likely to be upset by the events in your life.
Steps to Perform Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is practiced in certain yoga studios, but it can also be practiced at home with a video or a meditation app. You don’t even require expensive equipment. A bolster or pillow can support your lower back, spine, and head as you lay flat on your back on a blanket or yoga mat. Even better, place a pillow or blanket under your knees.
Here is a step-by-step guide that can help you perform the yoga Nidra for a peaceful night’s sleep:
- Look for a reading of the Yoga Nidra instructions on audio. You must follow a series of instructions, like in guided meditation, to experience Yoga Nidra. A good recording will be crystal clear and have a gentle, calming tone. Although many people favor female recordings, many male recordings are available if that is what you want.
- Prepare a soft mat, blankets, or a comfy seating or lying area. You must feel at ease for Yoga Nidra to be effective. If you have one, it is better to utilize a memory foam mattress or mats. If not, any mat or cushion would do. Some individuals prefer to raise their heads or feet.
- Prepare or place whatever brings you comfort, such as a candle, mister, or incense. You shouldn’t be breathing in any noxious gases, synthetic scents, or unpleasant odors when doing yoga. Smells may be created purposefully to elicit certain emotions. Others encourage a sensation of joy and vitality, while some foster serenity and relax our nervous system.
- Dress comfortably; You should wear comfortable, breathable clothing. This can assist in discouraging any unsatisfactory attempts on your part. You only need loose, breezy clothing for yoga; you don’t need to require specific yoga attire.
- Make the space as silent as you can. The mind needs to be silent to concentrate fully. However, it might not be achievable in the hectic times of today. Instead of trying to silence the room, concentrate on quieting the room.
- Your arms should be by your sides as you lay flat on your back or whatever feels most comfortable. Sitting comfortably is another option. However, some people have reported failure with this method. If you decide to lie down, flatten your body out by stretching it as much as possible. Put your head in whatever position is most comfortable for you.
- Shut your eyes. Avoid pinching your eyes shut by letting your eyelids hang loosely on your eyeballs.
- Take a few deep breaths, focusing on exhaling. Exhale via your mouth after taking a few breaths through your nose to gradually fill your lungs with air. Try to breathe in for 10 seconds and out for 10 seconds.
- Rotate and picture that body part when the recording instructs you to. Don’t let your mind wander; keep your attention solely on that body area.
- After you’ve rotated and imagined every body part, repeat step 4 as necessary. All of your tension should be gone by this point.
- Recognize every part of your body. Imagine your entire body as it is right now, exactly as you would with each body part. Some people find it helpful to picture an aura of light surrounding them.
- Get ready to reenter normal consciousness. Open your eyes after a brief period of gentle finger movement and a full breath. If you return after 15 minutes or an hour, Yogic Sleep should naturally awaken you.
- Obtain a sitting position once more. Avoid standing up or rousing yourself violently. Cross your legs as you sit, or try the lotus posture if you’re more experienced.
- Finish with some asanas if you’d like or have time. Your body will benefit from this as it awakens fully and emerges from yogic sleep.
Here are some related questions regarding Nidra yoga and its benefits:
What is Nidra yoga, and how is it different from other yoga practices?
Nidra yoga is specifically used to improve sleep. Sleep-deprived people perform Nidra yoga to have a peaceful sleep.
How is Nidra yoga different from other yoga styles?
It differs from other yoga forms as it does not focus on exercise poses but on mindful practices.
What are the benefits of Nidra yoga?
Nidra yoga is highly beneficial to relax the mind and consciousness, as it focuses on your mind to have peaceful thoughts so you can sleep peacefully.
Why is good and peaceful sleep so important?
Peaceful sleep and tranquility are highly important for the mind and body to reset and relax, as the human body and soul greatly need a break from the hectic schedule.
How can you perform Nidra yoga?
To perform Nidra yoga, you don’t need to exercise. Rather, lie down and shut down your thoughts. Relaxing your mind helps you to zone out in a peaceful sleep.
Nidra yoga is a great way to relax one’s mind that can further help you to have a peaceful sleep. A tranquil sleep aids in a healthy body and a balanced lifestyle. In this article, we have discussed why sleep is important for the human body, what Nidra yoga is, its benefits, and how you can perform it.