Yoga for Insomnia
June 18, 2022

Yoga for Insomnia

Yoga has been a form of medicine for thousands of years. Research shows it can help to improve sleep quality for many people, read on to learn more.

Insomnia is a sleep issue that makes it difficult to fall or stay asleep, or both. People suffering from insomnia may feel tired during the day and have difficulty concentrating or being productive. Insomnia can also contribute to other health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

The good news is, there are many treatment options available! Common treatment options for insomnia include behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques, prescription medications, and improving your lifestyle, such as incorporating exercise.

What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient holistic system for human health and spiritual evolution. In the words of Sri Sri Ravishanka, a modern Yogi from Bangalore in India:

“Yoga makes your emotions softer and more peaceful, and you blossom in your emotions. It brings freedom in your expression and your thought patterns. These are the real signs of Yoga. It is not just to do with the flexibility of the body. Of course, that too is a part of Yoga”

Many people misunderstand the holistic nature of yoga and get turned away due to its extreme physicality, however yoga has been a form of medicine and healthcare for thousands of years. It has multiple research studies espousing its potential as an intervention for issues such as stress, insomnia, joint disease and even asthma.

Is yoga good for sleep?

Research has shown that yoga can improve sleep quality for a range of different people. It can help to improve daytime energy and decrease sleep disturbances through the night.

A 2008-2009 study showed “significant improvements in a range of subjective factors, including overall sleep quality, sleep efficiency, sleep latency and duration, self-assessed sleep quality, fatigue, general well-being, depression, anxiety; stress, tension, anger, vitality, and function in physical, emotional, and social roles”.

Finding a local yoga studio is fortunately not as difficult as it was 30 years ago. There is a huge variety of yoga to choose from, such as:

  • Vinyasa yoga
  • Yin yoga
  • Kundalini yoga
  • Ashtanga yoga
  • Bikram yoga

Different yoga practices aim for different effects, from an immediate sense of calmness to deeper self reflection. Overall, yoga is an avenue for you to explore more of what it means to be you.

It’s important to acknowledge that not all yoga is the same and trying a variety of styles may help you to find ways to bring more calmness to your body and mind. Making a commitment once per 8-10 weeks is the best way to begin, as you can then see for yourself the mental and physical effects it can offer.

As well as yoga for insomnia, there are a variety of other lifestyle-focused ways to improve your sleep. Speak with your doctor or holistic health practitioner so that any underlying medical conditions can be ruled out and you can start your treatment of insomnia and discuss what kind of lifestyle changes would be best for you.

Dr Michelle Woolhouse

Integrative GP and Vively Medical Director

Dr Michelle Woolhouse is an integrative GP, with over 20 years experience treating chronic conditions through lifestyle medicine