Yoga Nidra is a meditative state that promotes deep relaxation and strengthens the mind-body connection. However, it is unique from traditional forms of guided meditation.
Yoga Nidra Has Been Around For Centuries
What Is Yoga Nidra And How Can It Be Used?
Yoga Nidra is a meditative state that promotes deep relaxation and strengthens the mind-body connection. However, it is unique from traditional forms of guided meditation. How, you might ask? Renowned guru, yoga instructor, and author, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, answers this question by explaining how the scripts change your state of consciousness by bringing you onto the border between waking and sleeping states.
Yoga Nidra offers a wide range of benefits and can even be used as a treatment for many conditions by bringing the body to a healing state. One of the most notable benefits of this restorative practice is how it enhances and regulates the sleep cycle. Through regular usage, the guided meditation can improve your sleep habits, help you rest more soundly, let you fall asleep faster, and permit you to reach a deeper resting state. The results will enhance your inner peace and improve your quality of life. In addition, Yoga Nidra for sleep is used as a treatment for sleep-related issues, including chronic insomnia. If you are interested in learning more about the potential benefits, read our article on Yoga Nidra Benefits.
Ten Vital Reasons A Healthy Sleep Cycle Is Essential
1. Sleep is crucial for a healthy immune system.
People who sleep less than seven hours a night are three times more likely to develop a cold than those who rest eight hours or more.
2. People who sleep well eat fewer calories.
Those who are sleep-deprived tend to have a larger appetite because their daily fluctuation of appetite hormones is disrupted.
3. Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke.
Sleep deprivation is a driver in many chronic diseases, demonstrating why adults must get enough rest.
4. Quality sleep can maximize athletic performance.
A good night's rest can improve speed, accuracy, mental wellbeing, and reaction time.
5. Poor sleep is linked to inflammation.
Not getting enough sleep at night can activate markers of inflammation and cell damage. In addition, sleep deprivation is linked to inflammation of the digestive system, which causes inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).
6. Sleep affects emotions and reduces your ability to interact socially.
A poor sleep cycle makes it more difficult for you to recognize and respond to social cues and process emotional information.
7. Inadequate sleep is linked to higher body weight.
In fact, sleep deprivation is one of the most significant risk factors for obesity.
8. Quality sleep improves productivity, concentration, and overall cognitive performance.
One study found that a lack of rest impacts brain functions in a similar way as alcohol.
9. Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk.
Restricting your daily rest affects blood sugar and reduces sensitivity to insulin, which can cause prediabetes in healthy adults in as little as six days.
10. A lack of sleep is linked to depression and other mental health issues.
For example, an estimated 90% of people with depression complain about their sleep quality. In addition, People with sleeping disorders, such as insomnia, report significantly higher rates of depression than those without.
How Does Yoga Nidra Help People Get Enough Sleep?
The translation of the word Nidra actually means sleep. Yoga Nidra for sleep is a practice that promotes a deep level of relaxation, which can help to refine your resting patterns and improve your sleep quality. It has the ability to do this because, as Kamini Desai states in his book Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep:
[Yoga Nidra] is structured to drop the mind down toward sleep to deliberately enter a state where the mind is naturally silent and still […] Yoga Nidra is a unique meditative practice because it rides on the natural process of sleep, which is already built into our system. Sleep is not something we have to learn. Our body already knows how to do it. Ancient Yogis realized they could follow the same route, descending down into sleep states to consciously release identification with thoughts.
When Desai says, “identification with thoughts,” he is referring to the ability of the practice to create new thinking patterns. The guided meditation allows us to think about our thinking from a new perspective. This helps us rewire some of our thought patterns that stand in the way of our joy and wellbeing.
Here, we can reject old, harmful thinking patterns and ignite better and more positive perspectives on how we think and what we think about. This lets us sleep better by reducing rumination. That is, the process of thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be dark. Unfortunately, this keeps millions of Americans from getting enough rest each night. It is dangerous to your mental health and can impair your ability to process emotions. Through dedicated Yoga Nidra practice, you can put an end to rumination thinking and improve your quality of sleep.
Yoga Nidra: Frequently Asked Questions
Can I do Yoga Nidra before sleep?
Yes, you can do Yoga Nidra at any time of day, including before bed. It is often practiced at night for people who have trouble falling asleep or who wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty getting back to sleep. If your goal is to use Yoga Nidra for sleep improvement, performing the practice in the evening is actually very beneficial. It can help you reach a deeper state of sleep for a longer duration.
When you perform the exercise at night, you can be part of the conscious mind as you deactivate. After this, you may fall asleep as a result of your tired state. Relaxing the body and brain before bedtime will thoroughly prepare you for rest. Although you are awake and conscious for the exercise duration, the meditation will have you feeling relaxed and ready for bed in no time. For best results, practice Yoga Nidra regularly.
Can Yoga Nidra replace sleep?
Guided meditation for sleep can be very beneficial. However, it cannot replace sleep. Yoga Nidra for sleep may help you feel well-rested after a shorter duration and allow you to access a deeper state of relaxation, but it does not provide all of the same benefits as sleep. Quality sleep is needed to rejuvenate us. It is critical for certain health aspects, including our skin health and wellbeing. Sleep meditation allows us to explore consciousness from a calm and receptive position that can be used to prepare us for sleep - not replace it.
Is Yoga Nidra better than sleep?
Yoga Nidra is a state of conscious sleep, where your body rests, and your brain remains aware. This allows your entire body, mind, and nervous system to relax fully. When the state of deep relaxation is achieved, the benefits of this yogic practice can be seen as superior to ordinary rest. Research shows that one hour of Yoga Nidra can be equivalent to a few hours of rest. However, Yoga Nidra is not a substitute for sleep, and both are needed to attain greater wellbeing. If you are looking to take a midday nap to relax your mind, try substituting this with a 30-minute session of Yoga Nidra.
References And Resources
- Dharma Mittra Answers Readers' Yoga Nidra FAQs. Yoga Journal. (2017, July 5). https://www.yogajournal.com/practice-section/dharma-mittra-answers-yoga-nidra-questions/.
- Kamini, D. (2017). Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep. Lotus Press (US).
- Leech, J. (2020, February 25). 10 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important.
- O'Neill, G. (2019, February 18). One hour of 'Yogic Sleep' equals 4 hours of regular sleep: Here's what you need to know... Urban Yogi. https://urbanyogi.ie/one-hour-of-yogic-sleep-equals-4-hours-of-regular-sleep-heres-what-you-need-to-know/.
- Sharpe, E., Lacombe, A., Butler, M., Soltanzadeh, R., & Bradley, R. (2019). A closer look at yoga nidra: Sleep lab analyses. Advances in Integrative Medicine, 6, S99-S99. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aimed.2019.03.287
- Stewart, K. (n.d.). Six Beliefs About Yoga Nidra Debunked. Nollapelli. https://nollapelli.com/blogs/news/six-misconceptions-of-yoga-nidra-debunked.