Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Does Yoga Help You Sleep?

Yesterday the Globe and Mail examined how yoga helps you sleep.

Harvard assistant professor
Sat Bir Khalsa, PhD, told the Globe and Mail that yoga helps reduce the stress that can hinder sleep.

“With time and practice, the stress system begins to quiet down,” he said.

What changes occur in the body during yoga? The NCCAM
reports that it is unclear. But there is growing evidence that yoga enhances stress-coping mechanisms.

study by Khalsa used yoga to help people with chronic insomnia. They had one in-person training session. Then they practiced yoga on their own for eight weeks. They also had brief follow-ups by phone and in person.

Results show that sleep improved in 20 people who completed the study. They fell asleep faster and slept longer.

review he published found that most yoga research has been conducted and published in India. But researchers in the U.S. and England are starting to conduct more studies.

A yoga instructor also explained to the Globe and Mail that bedtime yoga is easy and convenient. She practices yoga techniques while in bed in her pajamas.

“It’s not a magic button,” she said. “But I know that I’m not just lying down there and tossing and turning – I’m restoring my body.”

The article also described the
iRest program. It involves a form of yoga called “yoga nidra.” It reduces stress and promotes deep relaxation.

In 2006 the U.S. Department of Defense
began testing the iRest protocol. It has been used to help soldiers who have PTSD.

Learn more about
sleep and yoga. Read more about insomnia.

There are a variety of cognitive and behavioral methods that are effective for treating insomnia. Learn more about
cognitive behavioral therapy on

Image courtesy of the National Institute on Aging

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