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Adults need 7-9 hours sleep each night, yet many UK adults are currently struggling with sleep issues. If you are one of those experiencing sleep problems, I believe yoga can help you embrace those sleeping hours once more.
An evening specific yoga practice is key to help you wind down. This should include postures like Downward Dog, Supine Twists and Child’s Pose and be undertaken slowly and mindfully.
Pranayama (yogic breathing practices) are useful to help move the nervous system to a state of “rest and digest”. Try ratio breathing (longer exhale than inhale) – inhaling for a count of 4 and exhaling for a count of 6. Start slowly and build up.
Where possible, undertake stronger exercise (including yoga) earlier in the day to enable the burning up of cortisol (which regulates the sleep cycle and stress response).
If you do experience a bad night’s rest, don’t worry. Rather than remaining under the covers, rise as usual, take a simple yoga stretch such as a side-bend and notice any improvements in how you feel. Monitor your energies during the day and rest (or even take a restorative yoga posture such as legs over a bolster) if you need to.
Lastly, not strictly yoga, but consider your daily routine and sleep environment. Avoid caffeine after lunch and limit evening screen use. If reading helps you fall asleep, choose a relaxing, real paper book. Experiment to find a temperature that suits, both from bed covers and heating systems.