10 Aug Yoga + Meditation = Sleep
Here at Warrior One we can see that we are a society that has learned to run on empty. It’s inspiring to have a WO tribe of motivated and active people making time in your busy schedules to practice yoga and, most importantly, nourish your bodies. Burning the candle at both ends is what we do best, mostly relying on the promise of a heavenly caffeine hit to pull us out of bed and into a day of endless action! But putting family, work and social obligations first can have a great impact on our most vital biological function: sleep.
By the age of 80 the average human being would have spent 28 years of their life sleeping. A peaceful night of slumber is a priority for maintaining a healthy mind and body. When at rest our bodies have a chance to relax and unwind from the stresses we encounter each day, with sleep playing a major role in energy restoration, tissue growth, hormone development, immune function, metabolic processes and memory. Lacking in the snooze department allows the brain fuzz to take over, causing us to feel drowsy, irritable and unproductive.
Chronic sleep deprivation is an increasing problem in Australia, with 1.2 million Aussies affected by sleep disorders. However, continuously suffering from short, disruptive sleeps can influence more than just our daily routine, but contribute to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature aging and death. There’s a reason for the bloodshot panda eyes after big night out or a stint of nightshifts at work. Our bodies simply need to rejuvenate, renew and restore our systems so that we can function at 100%.
For some people sleep doesn’t come all that easy. Poor sleep habits like overloading on caffeine or alcohol and using technology before going to bed can disrupt sleeping patterns. But excessive stress and anxiety can have a direct influence on the quality of rest we have at night as well.
Luckily enough, there’s a simple formula to help you get the best night snooze possible: yoga + meditation = sleep! More recently yoga and meditation has come to be considered an important part of healthcare practice, with experts in various medical fields like neuroscience and psychology linking these practices with measureable benefits for stress relief and sleep. A gentle, calming practice of yoga in the earlier hours of the morning can in fact aid our sleep at night, with some people experiencing up to 20 minutes of extra snooze time! Though there might not be a magical yoga pose that sends you straight to sleep, there are some simple changes you can make with your meditation and yoga routine in order to rest a little easier.
If you haven’t heard of mindfulness meditation then let us introduce you to your new bed buddy. This form of meditation is not aimed at achieving a certain state, but instead focuses all of your bodily and spiritual senses to be aware of the present moment. It is a strategic tool in dealing with stress and improving cognitive focus, but also encourages a deep, gentle slumber.
Mindfulness meditation is all about practicing nonjudgmental thoughts, beliefs, feelings and emotions and learning to be accepting of your present situation. Quite often people don’t comprehend the fatiguing stress that can build up each day and find it easier to ignore the warning signals their body is sending to them. But during mindfulness meditation you direct your sense of touch, taste, smell and hearing to be directly present in the moment, to feel every single part of your body and understand how it is reacting as you unwind. Instead of resisting the experiences we find difficult to cope with, mindfulness meditation allows you to sit with your negative feelings and learn to be at peace with them.
Start by trying to relax each individual muscle in your body. Ask yourself, “Where are my feet?” Focus on relaxing every toe, the soles of your feet and your ankles. Next move on to your legs and slowly work your way up the body, taking time to attentively connect and relax each muscle group. Allow your senses to wander. What can you smell, taste, hear and see around you? These senses are what connect you with the present moment, so focus on relaxing your breathing and unite yourself with the here and now.
Sounds simple, right? Of course this sort of meditation takes some dedication and effort, but persistent practice of mindfulness will significantly support your quality of sleep. At Warrior One we are here to help you achieve the most out of your yoga journey, so speak to us about the perfect blend of restorative and meditative yoga that can help you get some shut eye at night. Each class can be tailored to suit your body’s needs, so have a chat with our in-house yoga advisor to experience the difference that yoga and meditation can have for a longer, healthier sleep!