[VIDEO] 10 Yogi Sleep Hacks to Help you get Better Sleep
Stress and anxiety often prevent us from getting good sleep, which makes us moody and lethargic. How can we get better and sounder sleep?
Distractions, stress and health issues commonly prevent us from getting good sleep. The experts say we need at least 8 hours but with our hectic lifestyle, it is becoming harder and harder to get those eight hours. Most adults sleep less than five hours, which is extremely unhealthy. However, there are natural ways by which we can improve our sleep quality. Here are 10 ways to help you get more rest:
1. Marjariasana – The Cat Stretch Pose
Marjariasana provides a full body stretch - it is advisable to eat 4-6 hours before embarking on this yoga practice. It involves forward bends and back arching thereby giving our vertebrae some movement, which leads to relaxation. To successfully complete this exercise, we will need to stand on all fours, chin tilted up, arch our back as we inhale, compressing the buttocks. Throughout the pose we should take long and deep breaths. This will help us relax our body and improve sleep.
2. Eat freshly cooked meals
The rule is to eat food cooked within the last 90 minutes. Failure to do this builds up tamas or inertia; it requires a lot of energy for the body to fight inertia. This makes us sleep for longer than usual. Always make sure to eat freshly cooked meals.
3. Trataka – Yogic Gazing
Trataka means to gaze; it is a one-pointed form of meditation which involves concentrating on an object. The practice is started by gazing at an external object – typically a candle-flame in a dark room. As one becomes proficient in the practice, the gazing is done internally and the object should be perfectly visible to us even with our eyes closed. In this way, the mind slowly becomes silent, as the stream of thoughts and inner noise slowly fade.
Meditating for a few minutes before bed is a great approach for beating insomnia. One way is to lie on our back, take deep breaths and immediately start tensing our muscles, beginning with the toes and moving upwards in groups. Shoonya Meditation is a special yogic meditation that helps cope with insomnia.
5. Switch to natural foods
If we are sleeping more than we should and we still don’t feel rested, it might be time to check on what we are consuming. Prana or life energy is destroyed when food is cooked at high heat, especially in vegetables. It is advisable to eat raw or low temperature cooked fruits and vegetables once in a while to improve our sleep quality.
6. Avoid sleeping immediately after meals
Most of us come home after work, cook, eat and go straight into bed. This is a particularly unhealthy habit, which prevents food from being adequately digested.
7. Eat light foods
For healthy sleeping, it is wise to eat light meals in the evening, preferably low in proteins. This allows easy and fast digestion before we get into bed. The Yogic Rule is to fill half the stomach with food, one fourth with water and leave the last quarter empty.
8. Stick to a sleep routine
It is highly advisable to develop and stick to a sleep pattern. This will help your body understand when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to rise.
9. Bhramari Pranayama – The Humming Bee breath
This breathing technique gets its name from the black Indian bee Bhramari. It is a very effective technique in instantly calming the mind. It free’s one from agitation, frustration, stress and anxiety. It can be practiced in the morning or night, at work or at home, whenever needed.
10. Yoda Nidra – The Psychic Sleep
Yoga Nidra helps us get rid of fatigue and energises our body by putting our body to sleep whilst our mind remains completely aware. Yoga Nidra releases stress and restores our mind’s elasticity, and is perhaps the greatest form of meditation to combat insomnia. It should never be practiced straight after meals.