How to hack your sleep with Meditation and Yoga

Up Your Sleep Quantity and Quality with Meditation and Yoga

Adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep to give your body the time to rest, heal, and recharge. About one-third of adults get less, some far less, than the recommended amount of sleep. Getting even one less hour than the recommended seven puts you in a state of sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation can feel awful. It changes everything from appetite control to decision-making abilities and puts you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other conditions. Stress management, a healthy diet, and regular exercise play key roles in developing good sleep hygiene.

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Stress Management with Meditation and Yoga

Stress and sleep deprivation create a vicious cycle. Stress can lead to sleepless nights, which then contributes to more stress. When you’re sleep deprived, the emotional center of the brain reacts more strongly to negative emotions while the reasoning portion of the brain exerts less control. Consequently, regulating moods gets much harder, increasing stress and continuing the cycle.

Both meditation and yoga have been shown to relieve symptoms of stress and improve overall physical and mental health. While there are many meditative methods, mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective when dealing with sleep problems. This method focuses the mind on the present, helping to build the reasoning portion of the brain and releasing worries that come from thinking about the past or future. Keeping thoughts focused on the present also helps trigger the relaxation response, wherein the heart rate and blood pressure drop.

Similarly, yoga improves mood and reduces the release of inflammation-causing proteins. A consistent yoga routine also reduces fatigue levels. Depending on the kind of yoga used, it can be for relaxation or exercise. There are even poses that can be performed from the comfort of your bed, ridding the mind and body of tension and stress.

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Healthy Habits for Better Sleep

Relieving stress is only one part of the puzzle. You’ll also want to examine your sleep environment and habits that affect your sleep quality. Start by taking a look at your bedroom. Is your mattress comfortable or do you wake sore and achy in the morning? Discomfort is not the only option; you can buy a customized mattress online. Is the room dark, cool, and quiet? Create the right conditions so that all you need to do is relax.

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The healthy sleep habits that can help you get more of the high-quality sleep you need include:

  • Going to Bed at the Same Time Each Night: A consistent bedtime helps establish circadian rhythms, which control your sleep-wake cycle.

  • Waking Up at the Same Time Every Day: The body likes a predictable routine, and waking up at the same time every day further supports the circadian rhythms.   

  • Getting Outside: Natural sunlight triggers the release of hormones that control the onset of sleep. The more exposure you have to natural light the better your brain can follow natural sleep signals.

  • Regularly Timed Meals: Like exposure to natural light, regularly timed meals help keep your circadian rhythms in check. But, it’s not just when you eat, it’s what you eat. A healthy, well-balanced diet gives your body the chance to function at its best.

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Meghan Ann Martin