An article published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care stated that “Insomnia is one of the common but neglected conditions seen in family practice, with long term and serious effects on health . . . ” Chronic insomnia was observed in over 30% of adults, most of these being women of middle age and older.
How Sleep Impacts Health
Before doing some research, I wasn’t aware of the real importance of proper sleep for overall health. In fact, I kinda thought that a periodic bout of insomnia was a gift! If I wasn’t "wasting time" in bed, I could get so much more done! This was before I experienced a sleepless night. As it turns out, the brain doesn’t function so well on a few hours of deep rest; I was anything but productive.
Low-quality or reduced sleep contributes to irritability, depression, weight gain, anxiety, increased blood pressure, and heightened risk for countless other health issues and diseases — even Alzheimer’s and dementia! I’m not talking about years of restless sleep, either. Just one or two nights of insomnia has proven detrimental to well-being.
Conversely, consistently high-quality sleep (7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted snoozing) can enhance immune system function, improve memory, brighten mood, increase productivity, reduce risk of heart attack or stroke, regulate appetite, improve cardiovascular health, reduce pain, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
A Simple Sequence for Restful Sleep
Sleep can be disrupted by any number of things, the most common of these being older age, medication side effects, stress, insufficient exercise, consumption of stimulants later in the day, and sugar. Obviously, not all these factors can be avoided (try bypassing Father time), but they can be mitigated with yoga.
Try this sequence for a blissfully deep and restful night’s sleep. For best results, dim the lights, wear your comfiest pajamas, and roll out your mat alongside the bed. Oh! And here's a link to download and print off the sequence, so you can shut down the electronics and still follow along. Happy Zzzzs!