insomnia epidemicBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

What is an insomnia epidemic? Have you ever wondered how insomnia has become such a major issue? Auto accidents, due to lack of sleep, might grab the headlines; but according to the Center for Disease Control, the number of Americans suffering from sleep deprivation is becoming a public health epidemic. People, who are unable to sleep, are more accident prone, more vulnerable to health issues, are more apt to have problems in their relationships, and more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. Although this insomnia epidemic is more common among women than men, it affects both genders, and people of all ages.

Lack of sleep disrupts metabolism, weakens the immune system, and contributes to insulin intolerance, obesity, irritability, and hardening of the arteries. The good news is that a regular Yoga practice helps to counteract many of these problems, especially when asana and breathing are combined with Yoga Nidra.

Nidra means “sleep” in Sanskrit, but has taken its own identity in recent years as any form of relaxation. This isn’t an accurate description because Yoga Nidra describes a state of consciousness in which the mind is awake, but in its deepest state of relaxation. During an ordinary day, the thinking brain is in control – reacting to the five senses and paying little attention to the subconscious. When the mind and body relax, however, the subconscious surfaces and allows the intuitive, creative part of the mind to take over.

This is what happens during Nidra practice. As brain waves enter an altered state, the mind loses its connection to the physical body and ego. In this expanded state, self-defeating fears and worries disappear, and healing can take place. The mind is calm, and the quality of sleep improves. When waking, feelings of anxiety and fatigue disappear because muscular, mental, and emotional tension is being released through meditation.

At least one study has shown that the rest, received in one hour of Yogic sleep, can equal up to four hours of regular slumber. Nidra can also reduce the insomnia epidemic in the following ways.

• It improves the quality of sleep.

• It helps to eliminate stress and manage stress-related illnesses.

• It reduces the need for medication.

• It is recommended for the prevention of psychosomatic illnesses.

• It reduces the symptoms of sleep disorders and restless leg syndrome.

Although Yoga Nidra rejuvenates the physical body and the calms the mind, its results go even deeper. It produces a state of awareness that helps to release negative thought patterns and habits from the past, clearing the mind for a good night’s sleep, and for a lifetime of positive thoughts.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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