Goodnight! It’s sleep time.
Are you taking more time to fall asleep? And do you feel frustrated over being sleep-deprived?
Roughly about 60% of adults don’t sleep when they go to bed. The resulting shortened sleep cycle can lead to obesity and fatigue. A common unaddressed issue! There can be many factors that lead to sleeplessness; these could be physical or medical conditions, but the most common factors are:
- Stressful day at work;
- Late night heavy meal containing high levels of glucose, caffeine, fat or alcohol;
- Watching disturbing movies and videos;
- Prolonged use of mobile phones and other gadgets.
Sleep disorders lead to:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
According to Ayurveda, happiness and misery, nourishment and emancipation, strength and weakness, fertility and infertility, knowledge and ignorance and longevity and death depend upon proper and improper sleep.
Now the question is, how can we improve our sleep quality and thus refresh our mind and body?
Benefits of Breathing exercises
Breathing exercises calm your nervous system and act as a catalyst for all body systems and help in the sleep process too. The more you practice breathing exercises, the better you will be at falling asleep no matter how stressful your day has been. Good quality sleep is essential for proper digestion, growth and proper brain function. Therefore, try and develop a consistent breathing exercise routine so that it will, in turn, give you good quality sleep.
For a better understanding of the benefits of breathing, read more. Let’s look at a Pranayama that specifically helps in promoting sleep.
Alternate Nostril Breathing or Anulom Vilom
Alternate nostril breathing relaxes your body. Practice this mindful breathing method to get rid of your sleep issues. Follow these steps:
- Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed.
- Close your right nostril with the right thumb.
- Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your ring finger.
- Open your right nostril and exhale.
- Now inhale through the right nostril. Close it.
- Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side.
- This is one cycle.
- Try and do 4-6 cycles.
Read more to know about the Yogic practice of Pranayama
Watch our You tube videos where Enlighten Yoga Center Pratimoksha Founder Lalitha Viswanath explains the benefits of a regular breathing routine, especially when we are all faced with a virus that attacks our respiratory system.
What happens to you when you sleep
Sleep is the time when the brain repairs damaged cells, removing dead and harmful cells from the body. The process of secretion of growth hormones occurs during deep sleep that helps in improving metabolism.
Our sleep cycle has four stages, 3 Non-REM states and 1 REM state. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, a stage of sleep when the sleeper’s eyelids can be observed to twitch and move. This is the stage when the sleeper usually has vivid dreams.
It is during the 3rd stage — just before you enter the REM stage — that the growth hormones start secreting. At this time, body temperature dips, and the brain begins to produce a certain electrical wave that triggers the release of a specialized cell called the glial cell. The glial cells are responsible for the destruction of the Beta-Amyloid Plaques (β-Amyloid Plaques) that build up through the course of your day. The brain flushes out these toxic plaques during a state of deep sleep. So the less we sleep the more toxins we build up, leading to memory loss and conditions such as dementia.
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