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Why Downward Dog may have you catching more zzz’s….

In fear of sounding like a broken record, meditation really does help you sleep better. The problem is, many people don’t know how to meditate and don’t prioritize the time for it.

Enter the ancient art of Yoga. We have all witnessed the clichéd downward dog pose of a bendy lady in her ‘active wear’, but actually this makes true use of the fashion craze. In reality, bendy lady might be getting a better night’s sleep than her discerning onlookers. Here’s why:

Insomnia is complex, as it’s not just a physical disorder; it encompasses our whole being including our emotional and psychological state. That is why worrying during the day about a lack of sleep is counterproductive and will only heighten anxiety levels at night. According to the Medical Journal of Australia, recent surveys reveal that between 13 – 33% of the adult population regularly has difficulty either getting to sleep or staying asleep. But perhaps if more of us jumped on board the self care bandwagon we might find ourselves catching more zzz’s.

According to Washington DC based Sleep Foundation, a lack of physical activity as well as stress and too much screen time are the leading causes of sleep disturbance. Clinical Psychologist and co-founder of the sleep program, Towards Better Sleep, Kathryn Smith says “Combining physical activity and meditation through yoga, is for many people a very effective way to help the mind and body relax. The meditative effects of yoga on the body are very similar to the process of falling asleep, whereby the heartbeat and brain waves become slower.”

One of the reasons yoga is so effective in relaxation is due to its concentration on breathing. As you hold the move and draw in and out, it’s a physical statement for letting go of the day’s woes.

Although many people find the thought of yoga intimidating and beyond their physical reach, there are many websites and online forums that teach relaxation poses for every level that can be performed in the comfort of your own home. One such website is: http://www.gaia.com/my-yoga

If yoga is not for you, that’s okay, you will know what makes you feel relaxed. That can be the easy part. Finding time and ensuring you allow yourself that time is the tricky part.

 

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