Yoga Helps with Insomnia

by Melissa West on September 21, 2012

According to stats Canada 13.4 % of people in Canada suffer from insomnia. 29% of these people with insomnia rely on medications to help them sleep. Most of them received far less than the 7-9 hours of sleep recommended per night.

There are many contributing factors to insomnia from our non-stop lifestyles, constant bombardment of media, life-stress, work-stress, nutritional-stress, and chronic illness. Not only that but constant sleep deprivation has been shown to cause many health problems from heart disease, stroke to breast cancer.

The good news, however, is that there are two new studies out that report that yoga is a natural, drug-free way to promote a deep and restful sleep.

Dr. Melissa West

A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and Biofeedback found that yoga helped to relieve chronic insomnia.

The research was done on a group of 20 study participants at the Harvard Medical School and involved yoga breathing, meditation and mantra. After eight weeks researchers found that participants had significantly improved sleep efficiency, total sleep time, sleep onset latency, and wake time after sleep onset at the end of treatment compared with before treatment.

“Yoga is an effective treatment because it addresses insomnia’s physical and psychological aspects,” says study author Sat Bir Khalsa, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in a statement.

A 2012 study published in the journal Menopause found yoga helped to ease sleep problems in postmenopausal women. The participants were not on hormone therapy and were diagnosed with insomnia. 44 menopausal women were given yoga, physical therapy or no treatment for four months. The researchers found that the yoga participants had significantly reduced insomnia severity compared to the control groups. In addition, the yoga group had significantly fewer sleep problems than the physical therapy group.

“This study showed that a specific sequence of yoga might be effective in reducing insomnia and menopausal symptoms as well as improving quality of life in postmenopausal women with insomnia,” the study authors conclude.

On Namaste Yoga we have a free Yoga Video with a Meditation Specifically for Sleep called Yoga Nidra

Link to yoga nidra episode on Youtube:

There are three guided yoga nidras on the membership site. One is a straight yoga nidra. One is a yoga nidra infused with loving kindness and one is designed to help you find your sankalpa (intention)


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