Sleep is medicine

Sleep is the most important thing we can do for our body.

In Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, he writes that he used to think that the trio of health was sleep, exercise and food. But new research has shown that sleep is the single most beneficial thing we can do for ourselves.

The way we live our modern life fights against our natural sleeping pattern.

Blue light from screens disrupts our circadian rhythm (yes, even the TV).

The night time economy means things are open late. It is sociable to eat late (when our digestion is primed to eat our main meal in the day).

Electricity leads us like moths through darkened streets when our brains need to be sleeping.

Apart from arranging more lunches, what can you do?

Yoga.

One of the best ways to relax the brain is through movement. Ideally, we shouldn’t exercise about four hours before bed. So I don’t mean a vigorous, ashtanga based sequence. I mean a gentle, yin sequence, designed to unwind the body.

Poses like legs up the wall and supta baddha konasana. Poses like puppy and supported bridge.

Once we start to respect our natural rhythms, evolved over thousands of years, our body will start to relax. Chronic inflammation, stress, insomnia can all be improved by the healing and restorative quality of sleep.

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