When you get quality sleep, you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. But prioritizing good slumber offers even more internal and external perks, for a healthier body and mind.
“Deep, restorative sleep lets you feel better, live better, have better sex, heal faster, think clearer, develop self-esteem, and even feel more creative,” said Guru Jagat, founder of the RA MA Institute, a multi-faceted, multi-center program that promotes wellness, creativity, and expression.
In fact, good sleep may even aid in organ healing, particularly between 10 p.m. and 2:30 a.m., Jagat said. Ideally, in addition to sleep during that window, meditating between 3 and 6:30 a.m. can be beneficial, “accelerating your waking clarity and creativity,” Jagat said.
“Dreaming doesn’t effectively clear the mind. Instead, those thoughts get recirculated back into the memory banks,” she explained. “The majority of people feel stressed and foggy due to an overloaded subconscious mind.”
While pharmaceutical agents may not be for everyone, there are additional natural solutions to a better night’s sleep that Jagat promotes through her teachings.
Practicing yoga for fulfillment
In striving to be more mindful — or fulfilled, which is the approach Jagat prefers — you can improve your sleep. Kundalani yoga, which is an ancient practice that aims to expand the consciousness with energy centers called Chakras, is one path toward fulfillment.
“Most humans have shown up on this planet to have some kind of experience of deep satisfaction,” Jagat said. “That often includes spiritual satisfaction as well as worldly attainment. What I love about kundalini yoga is that it is fast and accessible. No need to see yourself as spiritual or be able to touch your toes. You can, right now, be connected to a deeper pulse of life, which is rich, varied, and always new.”
One goal is to address chronic stress, which can interfere with sleep.
“When someone is experiencing chronic stress, it’s a sign to me that their kidneys need attention,” Jagat said. “Most people have quite a bit of stored cortisol circulating in the bloodstream. That’s why the body registers stress even if we’re not experiencing new stimuli.”
Yoga postures for better health and sleep
Jagat offers full yoga classes on RAMA-TV.com and says completing these courses “is the most complete way to detox stored stress and get back into a place of freedom, pleasure, and empowerment.”
If you’re busy, you can also try this three-minute practice to give your kidneys some love:
The kidney chi flex
- Posture: Sit in a cross-legged position. Grab your shins with both hands.
- Eyes: Eyes closed, gently focusing up and in at the brow point.
- Breath: Inhale, flex the spine forward and open your chest. Then exhale, flex the spine backward without collapsing your chest. Keep your head level — don’t swing your chin up and down as you flex.
- Time: One to three minutes
- To end: Inhale and bring your spine back to a neutral position. Then stretch your body and spine up. Exhale and relax.
Adopting a daily meditation practice can help reduce stress, but if you have chronic insomnia — defined by the National Sleep Foundation as having sleep trouble at least three nights per week for three months or longer — you can try this position:
Shabad kriya for deep sleep and radiance
- Posture: Find a comfortable position in bed that allows the spine to be straight. Place your hands in your lap, palms up with your right hand resting in your left. Touch your thumbs together and point them forward.
- Eyes: Close the eyes nine-tenths and focus on the tip of the nose.
- Breath and mantra: Inhale in four equal parts, mentally chanting the mantra Sa-Ta-Na-Ma. Hold the breath, vibrating the mantra four times for a total of 16 beats. Exhale in two equal strokes, projecting mentally Wahe Guru. This is the sound current of the pineal gland, and it means, in essence, “It’s sublime to get enlightened.”
- Time: 15 to 62 minutes, or until you fall asleep.
- To end: You will end naturally when you are sleeping.