Friday, May 21, 2010

Yoga for sleep

“Health is the first muse, and sleep is the condition to produce it.” 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not being able to sleep is one of the most frustrating things for me and it’s been happening a lot lately. Maybe it’s because I sense things changing. I leave for Boulder in a week and many things will be different when I return (friends moving away or busy in residency, the start of my residency application process, etc).

All I can say is thank goodness for yoga. My sleeping troubles almost always have something to do with underlying stress or anxiety or sadness, and I really think yoga helps me process those feelings while also energizing me mentally for the day ahead, quieting my mind from unsettling thoughts, and exhausting my body for sleep at night (except maybe when I overdo backbends).

Which is why I was happy to wake up this morning to results from this study of 410 cancer survivors finding that yoga can help improve sleep at night and decrease fatigue during the day. They looked at gentle Hatha/ restorative yoga twice a week for four weeks. I can’t help but wonder what they might have found with a more physically intense and daily Ashtanga yoga practice over the course of years rather than weeks. 

As Dr. Kathryn Schmitz from Penn commented, most physicians tell cancer patients to "take it easy," but that "What we conclude based on a really thorough review of [yoga programs] is that it is absolutely safe for cancer survivors during and post treatment to be physically active, and indeed there are tremendous benefits to doing so."

1 comment:

  1. Although, second series is known to cause a loss of sleep. When you start really practicing the second series many times practitioners will notice they have difficulty sleeping. It is so powerful on your nervous system that it affects sleep. This will subside but it could also be a factor.