From today we have two more allies against insomnia and sleep disorders, mindfulness breathing techniques and yoga exercises based on twisting, or torso rotations. These two techniques together, in fact, have been shown to act effectively by improving the quality of sleep and its duration and at the same time by reducing sleep disturbances and nocturnal awakenings. This emerges from a recent scientific research published in the World Journal of Clinical Cases (Su et al, World Journal of Clinical Cases, 2021).
Insomnia and consequences
Insomnia and sleep disorders have an effect on daytime life with sleepiness, fatigue and attention problems, which can have an impact on mood and work. Science is constantly looking for natural, simple, for every day, side-effect-free remedies to improve sleep quality. Today let's see what mindfulness breathing techniques and the twisting, or rotations, of yoga can do for our well-being.
Exercises against insomnia
Scientists recruited 80 people, average age 50 and with insomnia problems. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group had to follow the usual pharmacological treatment against insomnia, the second group in addition had to dedicate 30 minutes every day, before going to sleep, to mindfulness breathing techniques. Participants in the study were asked to sit in a comfortable position, preferably sitting or lying down on the back, and to bring attention to the breath, freeing the mind from thoughts and focusing only on the breath, its sound, rhythm and movements in abdomen and chest. In addition, the second group always had to perform twisting exercises during the day. The twisting of yoga are torso rotations that help improve blood flow and tissue oxygenation, support the proper functioning of organs, promote calm and relaxation. An example of twisting to practice before bed? You are on your back, bring your legs bent towards your chest, your arms are open at shoulder height. Slowly come down with your legs on the right until you touch the ground. The head turns to the left, breathe for a few cycles, then repeat on the other side. Instead, during the day, you can sit cross-legged. Exhale and turn the torso to the right, the left hand is resting on the right knee and the right hand is behind the back. Inhale and release, with each exhale try to rotate a little more. Repeat on the other side.
The results of the study
What emerged, after three months, is that the group that had practiced the techniques of mindfulness and yoga had a significant improvement in all indicators of the quality of sleep. The duration of sleep and the ability of sleep to restore have improved, while the time taken to fall asleep has decreased as well as nocturnal awakenings. Not only that, the volunteers who applied these techniques were able to reduce the use of drugs against insomnia and experienced a much greater well-being during the day.
Here is evidence that small lifestyle changes, such as focusing on breathing before bed or doing yoga poses with torso rotations throughout the day, can significantly improve sleep quality with beneficial effects also on daytime life.