If you’ve been trying to find ways to get better sleep at night and wanting to get a little more exercise, there’s a simple way to do both. You can reduce your stress, improve your sleep quality, wake up feeling better by incorporating yoga into your bedtime routine.
If you have a firm mattress and no partner, or a partner that goes to bed later than you do, you can even do yoga in bed!
1 - It will help you reduce stress. Even doing yoga twice a week has been found to reduce stress, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing. In that study, nurses that did yoga for an hour twice a week for six months had lower amounts of work stress than their counterparts in the non-yoga group.
Having lower amounts of stress will help you get to sleep easier, and actually sleep better in the long run. Given that 80 to 90 percent of doctor visits are stress-related, this can also help keep you out of the doctor’s office over time.
2 - It will improve your sleep quality. Yoga has also been found to improve sleep quality. The nurses in the previous study also had higher quality sleep than their control group counterparts. Another long-term study in the 2009 Biological Psychology Journal also found that yoga helped to modulate cortisol in long-term practitioners, which helps to improve sleep quality.
3 - You’ll be less likely to wake up with aches and pains. The act of stretching is incredibly helpful when you’ve been waking up with aches and pains. Doing yoga before bed can help you manage those aches and pains, as well as avoid them by stretching your muscles.
A 2010 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences found that people with chronic pain were able to reframe their pain, and to make it less bothersome, or less intense, by doing yoga. Some participants found that they could recognize the signals their body was sending and adjust to avoid pain.
Yoga has even been found to have a positive impact on your cognitive ability during menopause, according to a study published in BJOG, an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
4 - You can improve your mental health through mindfulness. When used as part of a person’s worldview, the mindfulness that yoga encourages you to practice is found to have a large impact on that person’s mental health
Yoga may also be effective in helping people with PTSD manage their symptoms, according to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2017. It’s also been found to be helpful for women with a major depressive disorder, according to a study in Psychiatric Nursing.
The study stated that the data trends suggest that yoga may convey a long-term positive effect on depression, stress, and anxiety.
“Whether an individual continues with yoga practice, simple exposure to a yoga intervention appears to provide sustained benefits to the individual,” the study states.
About the author: Samantha (Sam) Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.