How To Sleep Better Tonight With Yoga Nidra
Sleep is so essential, yet sometimes, so elusive. Whether it’s anxiety or stress preventing you from falling asleep, or something more tangible such as physical discomfort, yoga nidra can help. Here’s everything you need to know about this ancient practice that was once reserved for royalty.
What Is Yoga Nidra?
Also known as yogic sleep, yoga nidra is a guided meditation practice. Usually lasting between 20-40 minutes, the practice guides your mind to the border between sleeping and wakefulness.
To enter the state of yogic sleep, you will lie on your back (or another comfortable position) while listening to specific instructions from your yoga nidra guide. Depending on the length of practice, you will be guided through up to 8 stages designed to relax and heal the mind and body.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga Nidra?
Since yoga nidra puts your mind on the verge of sleeping and wakefulness, it provides many of the same advantages of sleep. In fact, champions of the practice say one 30 minute session is the same as getting 4 hours of sleep. But yogic sleep does much more than provide rest. Studies show it can:
- Reduce stress hormone production
- Increase creativity
- Enhance focus and productivity
- Reduce insomnia
- Release pain and tension
Though this practice is ancient, the benefits it provides for modern life are huge. In fact, it is used by the US Army to improve mood and sleep in soldiers with PTSD.
How Do I Get Started With Yoga Nidra?
An amazing benefit of yoga nidra is that anyone can practice it, anywhere. Many yoga studios offer yoga nidra classes, but many more portable options exist.
Check out YouTube for guided videos, though you won’t really watch them.
Another great option is a meditation app. Insight Timer has a huge collection of yoga nidra meditations available.
Choose any recording that looks interesting to get started. If using yoga nidra to help you fall asleep, choose a recording that doesn’t bring you back to wakefulness or end with a chime.
When to Practice Yoga Nidra?
While practicing at bedtime seems like an obvious answer, yoga nidra can be practiced at any time of day. Use it to maximize a power nap. Try it on an airplane to avoid jetlag. Experiment and have fun with the practice.
Concerned about disturbing your bedpartner with your yoga nidra practice? Bluetooth headphones can be a tangle-free way to listen without disturbing them. These comfy sleep headphones have small speakers in the headband to allow you to sleep comfortably on your side. And they are made out of lightweight material so even in summer it’s not too hot to wear.