Manage Stress with Yoga & Sleep

 

Manage stress with yoga and better sleep. Stress is a natural way for the mind and body to avoid danger. But, in today’s fast-paced digital world, many people find themselves suffering from chronic stress that's unrelated to immediate survival.

Chronic stress is when the body isn’t in immediate danger, but thoughts, events, or circumstances keep the body in a state of fight or flight. In this state, the body releases cortisol and other stress hormones. Overexposure to these hormones leads to anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, heart disease, and weight gain.

While we can’t eliminate all stress from our lives, we can learn to manage it better. Two simple ways to lower your stress levels are yoga and better sleep.

Yoga as Stress Management

Exercise, in general, boosts your mood, strengthens your body, and increases your energy. Yoga can do all of that and more. There are many different yoga methods; some emphasize strength or flexibility while others focus on relaxation. Most yoga techniques incorporate deep breathing and meditative practices that train the mind to focus on present body sensations. This attention to the “present” helps the mind release thoughts that cause stress, which are usually related to the past or future.

Stress hormones like cortisol cause inflammation in the body. You might notice it as aches, pains, stiffness, or swelling. Yoga methods that focus on meditation can be used as part of a bedtime routine to relieve many of these symptoms. Yoga reduces the number of inflammatory hormones in the body. These methods use deep breathing to relax your body. Some poses can even be performed from the comfort of your own bed, letting you drift off to sleep when you’re ready.

A Focus on Sleep

Sleep and stress have a cyclical relationship. Stress can make it hard to sleep yet the less sleep you get, the more stressed you feel. Lack of sleep causes the emotional center of the brain to become more sensitive to negative stimuli while the reasoning center of the brain decreases its activity. The result— you have difficulty processing and handling stress when sleep deprived.

With a concentrated effort to get more sleep, you can break the cycle and better manage your emotions. Better sleep always starts with a bedroom that’s designed for relaxation. Your mattress should support your preferred sleep position. Back and stomach sleepers may prefer a firmer mattress than side sleepers. A dark, cool, and quiet room also promotes deep, high-quality sleep.

You can also enhance your sleep by:

  • Following a Bedtime Routine: Bedtime routines aren’t just for They help relieve tension in the body and signal the release of sleep hormones. A simple yoga routine before bed can be the perfect way to unwind after a long day.

  • Going to Bed at the Same Time Every Day: The body loves a schedule. A consistent bedtime helps the brain know when it needs to start the sleep Try to keep your sleep schedule on weekends too.

  • Getting Plenty of Sunshine: Exposure to natural light heavily influences your sleep-wake If you have a hard time falling asleep at night, try getting more sunshine during the day, especially in the morning.

  • Turning Off Your Screens: Smartphones, TVs, and laptops emit blue light that’s similar to sunlight in that it can suppress the release of melatonin. Turn off your screens at least two to three hours before High-efficiency light bulbs can have a similar effect so remove them from your bedroom to reduce sleep disruptions.