“Yoga Nidra: Help With Sleep and Anxiety”

Yoga nidra can support people in reducing stress, soothing pain, and promoting a deep sense of well-being—it can also help ease anxiety and improve sleep. 

In an article featured this week in the U.S. News & World Report, one expert explains the mechanisms behind yoga nidra and how recently published research contributes to our understanding of the technique’s efficacy.

Yoga nidra is a practice of guided relaxation during which a yoga therapist may guide an individual through body scans, awareness of thoughts and emotions, and/or imagery to access a state of deep rest. Research shows that this practice has a wide range of health and wellness benefits. 

New York-based Allan Cox, who shares his personal story in the article, attributes increased self-awareness and impulse control to his yoga nidra practice. “As far as stress reduction, that hour and a half a week gives me just as much benefit, probably more, than exercise does,” said Cox. “Some days are not that easy, but I’m able to create a calmness, and I attribute that to yoga nidra.”

Recent research shows that even one session of yoga nidra can yield benefits. Clinical researcher Erica Sharpe, PhD, believes this holds promising implications for individuals with anxiety and insomnia. “We found improvement after just one practice in the time it took someone to fall asleep and also in self-reported anxiety,” Sharpe said. “That’s really promising for us to start using yoga nidra as a long-term, consistent practice and how that might affect someone who has insomnia.”

Cox affirms that his yoga nidra practice also contributed to changing unhealthy habits. “I’ve always had an addictive personality, but I quit smoking, I quit sugar. I never attributed it to yoga nidra, but it makes sense. I’m more consistent because my mind is steady.”

Read the full article in U.S. News & World Report here.