Can doing yoga improve your sleep?

Updated: Apr 30

This Mum's Day forget the fluffy sippers and give mum something she really wants.

Sure cosy toes are a lovely, but a good nights sleep is better.


Ok, so you might be thinking if I knew how to give mum a good nights sleep I’d get one myself. Turns out it's not as hard as you’d think.


Tips to get a good nights sleep:

You already know to ditch the caffeine. Reduce, or even better eliminate, the the blue light; that is screens and LED lights an hour before bed. Keep your room dark and not too warm. Eat a couple of hours before turning in and lastly do a yoga class or exercise in the morning (1). Huh? I bet you weren't expecting that last one.

Studies have found early morning exercise increases the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) later in the day (2) and what better way to start the day than saluting the sun (3)?

Of course the great thing with yoga is if morning doesn't work for you a luscious yin class can be soothing after a rotten day. So you don’t have to worry about coming down after being pumped up if you prefer to exercise in the evening. Which can also encourage a good nights sleep by helping you unwind (4).


So it sounds easy - give the gift of rest and reduced stress - get mum to yoga.

Not only will they get a great nights sleep yoga has other benefits of reducing stress and anxiety (5).

This asks the big question "how?".


Make it easy, by doing the heavy lifting. Find a local studio/gym and ask for their timetable. Do a sneaky check of the family schedule (or ask) then go ahead and book them in.


Set mum up for success with a gorgeous mat and carry strap here. Then they have the option to practice at home later.

You don’t need to be a mum to want a decent rest. So why not go ahead and book yourself in too? Have a great class and let me know how you go. Did you find yourself snoozing in Savasana?



 


Sources: 1) Badly summarised from: Walker, Matthew. 2018. Why We Sleep. Harlow, England: Penguin Books. I've given my copy to someone so can't tell you the pages, buy it read it. It will change your life.

2) https://sciencenordic.com/denmark-fitness-sleep/exercise-in-the-morning-and-sleep-better-at-night/1436958 3) https://www.cnet.com/health/fitness/the-best-time-of-day-to-exercise-according-to-science/

4) http://www.alternative-therapies.com/openaccess/ATHM_20_3_halpern_37_46.pdf

5) https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC112682 It's worth noting the scientific studies on yoga and anxiety have relatively small sample sizes (especially when compared to pharmaceutical studies on anxiety and depression) though they consistently produce similar results showing decreases in stress levels and anecdotal support from the participants. You can read more here: Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Tuffrey V, et al, Yoga for anxiety: a systematic review of the research evidence, British Journal of Sports Medicine 2005;39:884-891.

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