Welcome to our our Sleep Hygiene series! Sleeping well is a form of self-care.
Awaken your mind and energize your body for the day ahead with a good night’s rest followed by an early morning yoga routine.
In the first post of the series, Sarah Johnson of Tuck Sleep shares insights about sleep hygiene and the correlational benefits of yoga.
Good sleep and a quality yoga practice go hand in hand. Sleeping soundly through the night prepares you for a rejuvenating sun salutation sequence in the morning.
Don’t Skip Sleep
If you are excited to start a new morning workout then don’t skip out on sleep. The body performs important functions while you rest, and you’ll get more out of your workout if you’ve had the full seven to eight hours of sleep recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The muscles go through important cleansing and rejuvenating processes while you sleep. A 2011 study published in Medical Hypotheses demonstrated that sleep debt inhibited protein pathways in mice, leading to a reduction in muscle mass. They concluded that sleep debt hindered muscle recovery. If you find yourself chronically sleep deprived, your body isn’t able to fully recover and get the most benefit from your yoga practice.
Benefits of Early Morning Yoga
The list of early morning yoga benefits is a long one, but we’ve included a few you might have forgotten:
Fewer Schedule Conflicts: When you practice yoga first thing in the morning, you’re far less likely to have the scheduling conflicts that come later in the day.
Eating more Nutrients: Getting that body moving first thing in the morning could make you hungrier for breakfast, which could lead to healthier eating all day. A study published in Nutrition Research and Practice showed that eating breakfast helped people eat more nutrients throughout the day (as opposed to not eating breakfast).
Sleep Enhancer: Regular exercise increases the quality of sleep for many people, according to a 2010 study published in Sleep Medicine. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, early morning yoga could help make your body ready to rest at night.
Working in Yoga While Still Getting Your ZZZs
You still need to figure out how to add yoga to your morning routine without losing out on any sleep.
Prep the Night Before
Get your mat, yoga clothes, and anything else you need ready before you go to bed. If you’re going to a morning yoga class, be sure to have your wallet and keys together so you can sleep up to the last minute.
Start Yoga in Bed
Many gentle yoga poses can be performed while you’re still in bed. As soon as your alarm goes off, roll over and take some deep breaths in child’s pose.Depending on the type of mattress you have, you may not get the same deep stretch you do on the floor. However, it’s often easier to get motivated if you don’t have to get out of a warm bed to practice yoga.
Go to Bed On Time
Make bedtime a priority and shut off the lights on time. If you’ve gotten a full night’s rest, you’re far more likely to be able to get out of bed and start your yoga practice as planned.
Make Time for a Nap
Some days, you might have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Don’t skip out on your yoga routine though. It can help wake up your mind and give you the energy you need to make it through the morning.
However, a short 15-30 minute nap can give you the boost you need mid-day. A 2001 study showed that participants who napped avoided a performance deterioration during the middle of the day. A short nap can counteract the effects of minor sleep deprivation.
Tuck Sleep is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.