Battling Insomnia? How Yoga Can Help You Sleep

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably been hearing about the benefits of Yoga for some time now. Whether you have that friend who is constantly trying to drag you to a Yoga class (me!) or maybe you’ve noticed that Yoga is featured in just about every article on fitness that you run across. Bottom line, Yoga is in and it’s awesome. And if you’re one of the many who are battling insomnia, Yoga might just be part of the way you get a good night’s sleep. What about you? Do you struggle with occasional Insomnia and want to know how can Yoga help you sleep? It’s one of the most effective natural insomnia methods out there—and it works. Let’s see why.

For info on why sleep is so crucial, read: Go To Bed! Why Sleep Is the Most Important Part of Your Workout Routine

How Yoga Can Help You Sleep—It Can Help Reduce Stress

One of Yoga’s most well-known benefits is that it can reduce stress, and that’s pretty important for someone struggling with insomnia. Yoga is proven to lower your cortisol levels. This not only lowers stress, but also helps relieve depression in many people. So if you’re tired—literally—of staying up all night stressing about everything in your life, find a few hours per week to do some Yoga. It’s especially helpful to do an hour or so before you go to bed. You’ll likely feel better overall, especially when you start getting more shut-eye. You don’t have to go crazy, start slow, with just ten minutes of Yoga per day. I’m a fan of this video from Yoga teacher Brett Larkin:


How Yoga Can Help You Sleep—It Helps Relieve Aches and Pains

For many people, battling insomnia is due to an underlying issue—like discomfort or flat out pain somewhere in the body. When you have pain in your back, hips, legs, or really anywhere else, it’s understandable that you might have trouble sleeping, especially if it seems worse at night. And maybe you’re tired of taking pain medication to deal with the constant discomfort, so you’re trying to stick to a more natural method. If so, that’s another reason to integrate some Yoga into your fitness routine. A few simple Yoga poses are known for helping to relieve aches and pains. For example, the downward dog, supported fish, and standing side stretch are a few poses to try when you have some discomfort in the body.

If you have pain in your back, take a look at 5 Simple Exercises You Can Do If You Have Back Pain

Yoga Can Help Regulate the Nervous System

In some cases, insomnia is caused by the nervous system being aroused late at night. Maybe you have a deadline at work you’re trying to meet so you’re working late, or you faced a difficult situation earlier in the day and you’re still thinking about it. Basically, what happens here is that the body is either in full on awake mode (which working at night creates) or it’s in fight-or-flight mode because you’re thinking about something upsetting, when it should be in relaxation mode. Your nervous system is too amped up to go to sleep and you find yourself battling insomnia. Yoga can help balance out those nerves. That’s because it can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn can lower your blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, muscular tension, and cortisol levels.  Not surprisingly, if you get in the habit of practicing Yoga in the evenings, the result is that you’ll be relaxed and ready to go to sleep at night.

The Many [Surprising] Benefits of Yoga for those who are battling insomnia

There are many benefits of Yoga. I promise that it’s just something you should trust me on and give a try. And I feel your pain. I spent years thinking Yoga was boring, and not nearly as interesting as all the hard-hitting kinds of workouts I’ve enjoyed for years. Once I put aside my preconceived notions of what I thought Yoga was and could deliver, I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. Today, I practice Yoga as much as humanly possible, and for sure at least three times a week. It’s one of the most difficult workouts I’m ever ever done (and I’m a lifelong fitness devotee and gym rat), and it’s also the most relaxing. When I walk out of a Yoga class and or just do a Yoga session on my own at home, I feel like a completely refreshed person. I do occasionally have difficulty sleeping, so when I’m in a phase where I’m not getting the sleep I should, I make time to do 15 or 20 minutes of Yoga right before bed and it sets the stage for a good night’s sleep. My other secret weapon when it comes to a great night’s sleep, is Do Yoga With Me’s Yoga Nidra, Guided Sleep Meditation, which you can find by clicking here.

Jennifer Piercy’s soothing voice helps me drift off in no time when battling insomnia. Even my tweens love going to sleep with Yoga Nidra. I also use it if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t quickly get back to sleep—try it, you’ll love it.

So hopefully you see some ways that Yoga can help you sleep and you’ll be intrigued enough to at least give it a try. I have a feeling that if you do, you’ll soon see what all the fuss is about and why so many people are loving integrating Yoga into their fitness routines and into their overall healthcare routines. As a bonus, you’ll find Yoga is a weight-bearing, bone-strengthening exercise, which is perfect for keeping bones strong and muscles lean and healthy.

For more help using Yoga as a way to get more rest if you have been battling insomnia, read: Sleeping Better at Night with Yoga [And Other Things]

More sources that show the benefits of Yoga for people who are battling insomnia:
Cortisol and antidepressant effects of Yoga
8 Yoga Poses That Will Help Ease Chronic Pain
5 Yoga Poses to Balance Your Nervous System

The original version of this article was first published on FitFormula Wellness.