Updated: May 18
Are you fed up with not being able to sleep through the night without tossing and turning? Sleep is essential for keeping our body healthy, it helps build immunity, helps to keep our weight at healthy levels, reduces common inflammatory markers in the body, and helps to keep our endocrine system working optimally. Fortunately, by combining the physical and mental benefits of yoga with the healing properties of Ayurveda, you can achieve a deep and restorative sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Whether you're a long-time practitioner or just starting out, discover the power of these time- honored traditions and unlock the key to a peaceful night's rest. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Yoga And Ayurveda: The Perfect Pair For Better Sleep
We already know yoga and ayurveda have been used for thousands of years to promote health and wellness. Both recognize the importance of sleep for overall health and well-being. According to ayurveda , sleep is one of the three pillars of good health, along with diet and exercise. Yoga, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and relax the body, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Yoga Asanas For Better Sleep
Certain yoga poses can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Some of the best poses for better sleep include:
● Child's Pose (Balasana): This gentle pose helps calm the mind and relax the body. Closing off the front of the body and curling up is often a natural response for when we are feeling overwhelmed, but an intentional child’s pose is excellent for stretching the spine and hips, where many of us hold our tension. It increases blood flow to the head and neck which is essential for restful sleep. It brings our focus inwards and releases the outside world from our focus.
● Legs Up the Wall (ViparitaKarani): This pose can help reduce anxiety and lower stress levels, making it easier to fall asleep. The increased blood flow to the brain happens naturally in sleep, so why not encourage that increased blood flow with a safe and comfortable inversion?
● Corpse Pose (Savasana): This pose involves lying flat on your back with your arms by your side, which can help you relax and release tension in the body. A mindful body scan can increase relaxation letting chaotic thoughts to fall away.
● Forward Fold (Uttanasana): This pose can help calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep. For an extra boost place a pillow in the space between the legs and torso so that your head and upper body are comfortably resting on the pillow.
Read our article on What is pranayama and its benefits
Ayurvedic Herbs And Remedies For Better Sleep
Ayurveda offers a variety of herbs and remedies that can help promote better sleep. Some of the best ayurvedic remedies for sleep include:
● Ashwagandha : This adaptogenic herb can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can improve sleep quality.
● Brahmi: This cooling herb is known for its ability to improve memory and concentration, which can help calm the mind and promote restful sleep.
● Chamomile: Chamomile tea is a popular remedy for insomnia, as it can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Other herbs excellent for promoting sleep are hibiscus, passion fruit, lavender, and valerian root. Because they are all caffeine free and non-addictive, they are excellent for preparing the body for restful sleep.
● Warm Milk: Drinking a glass of warm milk before bed can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality .You can use dairy milk if you are a vata dominant person, otherwise you may choose diary free options along with some herbs.
● Oil Massage: ChandanadiThailum is a wonderful cooling oil which if massaged into the hair and scalp before sleep can eliminate insomnia. Regular use will also give your hair softness and luster as a side effect J
Combining Yoga And Ayurveda For A Better Sleep Routine
By combining yoga and ayurveda, you can create a sleep routine that promotes deep, restorative sleep. Here are some tips for combining yoga and ayurveda for better sleep:
● Practice yoga in the evening: Practicing a slow and mindful yoga in the evening can help calm the mind and relax the body, making it easier to fall asleep. Yin yoga is ideal, or even just a few gentle poses that can elicit our parasympathetic nervous system and promote the rest and digest response.
● Use ayurvedic herbs and remedies: Incorporate ayurvedic herbs and remedies into your bedtime routine to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. These herbs can be taken along with the warm milk, or dairy free milk, before bedtime. You can also use dhumpana to promote restfulness.
● Create a calming bedtime routine: Create a bedtime routine that involves calming activities such as reading, journaling, or taking a warm bath to promote relaxation and prepare the mind and body for sleep. Try to go to bed by 10 latest, waking around sunrise on a daily basis. Following your body’s circadian rhythm is often the best thing we can do to find balance and healing in our lives.
● Avoid caffeine and electronics before bed:Common knowledge is not always commonly followed, but a reminder that caffeine and electronics can stimulate the mind and make it harder to fall asleep, not to mention the blue light issue which interferes with our melatonin production. Set your phone to the evening setting, a yellow screen in other words, by 5 or 6 pm so your body can start to generate the melatonin it requires for sleep. Don’t keep electronics in the room you sleep in, allow your sleeping room to be only a sleeping room, so that the body immediately feels at rest upon entering. You will ultimately find comfort in creating a space dedicated to restfulness.
Change can be daunting, but making small doable steps is the key. You don’t need to make all of the changes at once, find one or two that work and incorporate them until you don’t even think about it. Then take on other steps and make those changes permanent as well. You will find that gently changing habits can be more effective than the ‘cold turkey’ sudden approach which may trigger more stress in your body! Be kind to yourself and remember, no harm – that is critical J
The combination of yoga and Ayurveda is a powerful tool for achieving a deep and restorative sleep. By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you can experience a sense of balance and harmony that allows you to relax and let go of the stresses of the day. From calming breathing exercises to herbal remedies, there are many ways to customize your yoga and Ayurveda routine to suit your individual needs. Embrace the power of these ancient traditions and enjoy a good night's sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed and revitalized.