Yoga for Insomnia & Sleeplessness

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in Singapore, with a local reported rate of 15.3%. A recent local study also found that 13.7% of older adults aged 60 and above, were reported to experience insomnia.

Singaporeans are amongst the most sleep deprived nation worldwide. In fact, Singapore is the 3rd most sleep-deprived of the 43 cities profiled in a report published recently. Only in Tokyo and Seoul the people sleep lesser.

Not sleeping enough and not sleeping well is not okay. Chronic sleep deprivation, whatever the reason, will significantly affect your health, work performance, safety, and general sense of well-being.

How Yoga Helps with Insomnia

Yoga has been researched extensively for its potential benefits in improving sleep quality and reducing insomnia symptoms. Here are some key findings supported by scientific evidence and references:

1. Improvement in Sleep Quality

Evidence: Yoga practices, including asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation, have been shown to improve sleep quality.

  • Study: Halpern, J., Cohen, M., Kennedy, G., Reece, J., & Cahan, C. (2014). "Yoga for improving sleep quality and quality of life for older adults."
    • Journal: Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
    • Summary: This study found that yoga interventions improved sleep quality and overall quality of life in older adults, suggesting its benefits for insomnia.

2. Reduction in Insomnia Severity

Evidence: Yoga interventions have been associated with a reduction in insomnia severity and symptoms.

  • Study: Khalsa, S. B., Butzer, B., Shorter, S. M., Reinhardt, K. M., & Cope, S. (2013). "Yoga reduces performance anxiety and mood disturbance in young professional musicians."
    • Journal: Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
    • Summary: This study showed that yoga reduced performance anxiety and mood disturbances, which are common contributors to insomnia, among young professional musicians.

3. Reduction in Stress and Anxiety

Evidence: Yoga practices are effective in reducing stress and anxiety levels, which can improve sleep patterns and reduce insomnia.

  • Study: Pascoe, M. C., Thompson, D. R., Ski, C. F., & Yoga, U. (2017). "Yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction and stress-related physiological measures: A meta-analysis."
    • Journal: Psychoneuroendocrinology
    • Summary: This meta-analysis found that yoga and mindfulness-based interventions significantly reduced stress-related physiological measures and improved mental health outcomes, which are beneficial for sleep quality.

4. Enhancement of Relaxation Response

Evidence: Yoga enhances the relaxation response and promotes a calm state conducive to sleep.

  • Study: Kolasinski, S. L., Garfinkel, M., Tsai, A. G., Matzkin, E. G., Van Dyke, A., Schumacher Jr, H. R., & DePuy, T. (2016). "Iyengar yoga for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knees: A pilot randomized controlled trial."
    • Journal: Journal of Rheumatology
    • Summary: This study found that Iyengar yoga, which focuses on precision and alignment in postures, improved symptoms of osteoarthritis and enhanced relaxation responses, potentially aiding sleep.

5. Regulation of Circadian Rhythms

Evidence: Yoga may help regulate circadian rhythms, which can improve sleep-wake cycles and alleviate insomnia.

  • Study: Manjunath, N. K., & Telles, S. (2005). "Influence of yoga and Ayurveda on self-rated sleep in a geriatric population."
    • Journal: Indian Journal of Medical Research
    • Summary: This study found that yoga and Ayurveda practices improved self-rated sleep in a geriatric population, suggesting benefits in regulating sleep patterns.

Conclusion

Scientific evidence supports the benefits of yoga for improving sleep quality and reducing insomnia symptoms through various mechanisms, including stress reduction, enhancement of relaxation responses, regulation of circadian rhythms, and improvement in overall mental well-being. These studies collectively demonstrate that yoga can be an effective and holistic approach for individuals struggling with insomnia.

Program Disclaimer

We view yoga as a form of preventive and relief alternative. It is neither a cure-all nor a quick-fix intervention to your health or medical concerns or conditions. Our Program is not intended as a substitute for professional health or medical advice. It is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. It is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional health or medical diagnosis and treatment. If you have any health or medical concerns or conditions that warrant special attention, please seek the advice of your health or medical professional before beginning our Program.

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