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Yoga & Your Sleep: Three Ways Poor Sleep Could Be Affecting Your Health

Did you know yoga could be the answer to your sleep troubles? An astonishing 79 percent of Americans are not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, according to the results of a consumer sleep study released by CES. Sleep deprivation can cause short and long term effects to your health and sometimes, those around you.

Sleep deprivation has been linked to your memory and cognitive abilities, emotional wellbeing and even your productivity at work. As a coping mechanism, the regular practice of yoga can help those looking to improve their sleeping habits. Check out a few ways poor sleep may be affecting your health, and the role yoga can play in helping you to get your sleeping habits back on track.

Influences your cognitive abilities

Being well rested helps you to think clearly and make rational decisions. It can also affect your focus, and therefore your productivity at work, at school, and even when driving. While asleep, your brain cells are hard at work, storing information to long term memory which makes sleep invaluable to long term memory health. Many studies have established the link between your cognitive abilities and getting enough sleep, including this study named Effects of Sleep On Cognition.

Similarly, a recent study of Kundalini yoga and memory enhancement training on cognitive impairment showed that yoga can have profound cognitive benefits, both in the short and long term. Yoga is great for resetting the nervous system and can stimulate hormones such as melatonin that can help you get to sleep. Alternative memory training and other meditation techniques such as tarot card reading and guided visualizations can also be used to aid in stimulation of the brain.

Elevates Risk Of Anxiety And Depression

Losing out on sleep or having poor quality sleep can affect much more than your energy levels. Many studies have linked depression and the amount of hours you may be clocking each night. If stress is starting to affect your sleep, try incorporating 25 minutes of yoga daily. Specific yoga poses such as the cobra pose and downward dog can be rejuvenating for the body which means it is great for combating fatigue and stress.

Not only can poor sleep affect your motivation to keep going throughout the day but it can also have a negative effect on your anxiety levels as well. People who struggle with insomnia are 17 times more likely to have clinical anxiety. However, more recent studies have highlighted the benefits of yoga for those struggling with anxiety. It is thought that practicing yoga aids the body in regulation of stress responses, which is a large driving factor in anxiety for many.

Negatively Affects Your All Important Hormones and Thyroid Function

Not getting enough sleep at night can in turn lead to hormones imbalance and thyroid issues. Getting enough sleep is key to maintaining your cortisol levels, which helps your body have enough energy to get through the day. So how does yoga relate to your hormones? With each yoga pose, your endocrine system is affected which means it is a great tool for addressing any hormonal imbalance.

Consistently low levels of sleep can also affect your adrenal glands, leading the body to slow down your metabolism rate. Lower metabolic rates means your body will burn less energy throughout the day. This is also a key part of weight management. As a form of exercise, yoga affects your cortisol and adrenaline levels. In turn, it can stimulate your thyroid gland and metabolism again.

The good news is that there are many different ways you can tackle poor sleep, including:

  • Incorporating yoga in your daily life
  • Getting into the habit of a bedtime routine
  • Limiting caffeine intake before bed
  • Switching off any screens that may distract from getting those much needed hours
  • Meditation techniques can also help with mental clarity at the beginning or end of your day
  • Speaking with your physician, if you feel the need for further help

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