The quality of sleep that you enjoy can impact so many other aspects of your life, health, and wellbeing!
When you are not sleeping well, you can be more prone to irritability, fluctuating energy levels, stress, anxiety, and more.
Not only can your sleep pattern influence how you feel physically, but it can also have a big impact on your mental health and emotional wellbeing. You will likely already know that feeling tired throughout the day — especially when you've got a full to-do list — can seriously affect your mood!
We should all be aiming for around eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. This may be something that you're struggling with currently as we move through the global health crisis.
Sleep & Physical Health
When it comes to how a lack of sleep can harm your physical health, there are several different factors to consider.
First of all, a poor sleep cycle can compromise your immune system over time, making it more likely that you'll get sick. Secondly, a lack of sleep can cause a hormonal imbalance in the body, which can lead to weight gain.
Furthermore, your blood pressure can increase when you haven't had enough rest, and this can heighten your risk of heart disease. You may also be surprised to learn that your balance and coordination be affected by a lack of sleep, and this can then lead to accidents and injury.
Sleep & Mental Health
When you aren't sleeping well, you will likely notice that you experience increased feelings of stress and worry. This can lead you to feeling alone with these thoughts, which could then create a sense of disconnect from your friends and family.
When you haven't slept well, small stresses can seem like much bigger issues. This can then feed into feelings of frustration and even hopelessness as you struggle to get a handle on this stress.
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When it comes to depression, sleep problems can be both a contributing cause and a symptom. The same is true of anxiety — you may be unable to sleep because you are anxious, and then feel even more anxious as a result of not having slept.
There are several ways that you can begin to address a sleep problem. First of all, you must identify what the problem is — if possible.
For example, you may find that your sleep is disturbed by noise from inside or outside of your home. Addressing the source of this noise and finding a solution can be a simple fix. This might involve talking to noisy neighbours or using noise-reducing earplugs when you sleep.
Creating a calm and chaos-free environment in your bedroom is important. If your surroundings are hectic, then it is likely that your mind will absorb this. Try to ensure your room is free from clutter, and that your sleeping space is clean and welcoming.
You can also look to your diet for the reasons that your sleep is being affected. If you consume too many dietary stimulants, such as caffeine, alcohol and sugar, then it is likely this will be impacting your sleep. Try to limit your consumption of these things, especially in the later part of the day.
Yoga can also be an effective tool for easing the body and mind into a restful sleep.
Benefits Of Yoga
If you already practice yoga then you will likely already know how great it can be for soothing the mind and wearing out the body.
Not only is yoga a physical challenge that can help to burn away excess energy, but it is also great for calming the mind. If you find that you are distracted before bed, and that these thoughts are keeping you up, then a basic yoga practice can help to quiet these thoughts.
Best Yoga Poses For Sleep
The general practice of yoga is great for encouraging a better sleep cycle.
However, there are also some fantastic poses that are especially great for this purpose.
Legs Up The Wall Pose
This restorative yoga pose — also known as Viparita Karan — is one that you can even practice in your bed right before you fall asleep.
Simply lie with your back flat and position the backs of your legs up a wall. Your legs should be as flat against the wall as comfortably possible. Allow your body to relax in this position as you focus on breathing deeply in and out.
You can hold this pose for as long as you like, before gently bringing your legs down and easing into sleep.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose
This pose — also known as Supta Baddha Konasana — is a peaceful pose that encourages the whole body to be still.
Start by lying comfortably on your back, with your legs stretched out and your arms resting at either side, palms facing up. Bend at the knees to bring the soles of your feet together. Allow your legs to naturally fall to either side as the soles of your feet remain connected.
You may choose to make this pose easier by moving your feet further away from your body, or stretch deeper by bringing the closer. Feel your body melt into your mat as you breathe deeply in and out. Hold this pose for as long as you like, before gently releasing the legs back down towards the ground.
This simple pose — also known as Balasana — is one of the most soothing yoga poses!
This is the go to pose during a yoga session when you need a break and to invite some calm into your mind. It stretches and relaxes muscles throughout the body, all while pushing stress out of the mind.
Begin on your hands and knees — on your bed if you wish — in a tabletop position. Widen your knees apart slightly and bring your big toes to touch together. Slowly sit back onto your heels and rest your torso forwards over your thighs. Allow your forehead to rest on the floor and extend your arms forwards out in front of you.
Breathe deeply and hold this pose for as long as you desire. After a few moments you will begin to feel tension leave your body and peace take its place.
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