Nidra: How to Improve Your Sleep Quality to Enhance Health and Wellness


his article excerpt covers Yoga Sutra 1.10 and centers around the Sanksrit word: Nidra.  Again, what you read below is an introduction to the Yoga Sutras and a part of our broader series covering the Yoga Sutras for Beginners, which is 15 article excerpts in total. 

Each of the article excerpts within this series will give you a sneak peek into the wonderful work created by Yogi and author, Melissa Lavery, whose complete book, The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom is available at select distributors throughout the US as well as Amazon’s online bookstore.

All content excerpts are provided with permission by the publisher.

The book itself is organized into 3 parts and further divided into each of the 15 categories below:

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Relationships

  1. Shanti: How to Maintain Personal Peace and Power in Relationships
  2. Yama: How to Eliminate Suffering and Cultivate a Better Relationship with the World
  3. Niyama: How to Cultivate a Better Relationship with Yourself and Commit to Personal Self-Care
  4. Pratipaksa Bhavana: How to Navigate Conflicting World-views and Build Relationships with Anyone
  5. Samadhi: How the Inner Journey Toward Self Will Bring You Closer to the Divine Consciousness

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Health

  1. Asana: The Health Benefits of a Physical Practice (On and Off the Mat)
  2. Pranayama: How to Maintain Health Through Breath Awareness
  3. Samyama: How to Travel the Meditative Path to Health and Wellness
  4. Nidra: How to Improve Your Sleep Quality to Enhance Health and Wellness
  5. Sauca: How Cleanliness Paves the Path to Holistic Health

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Abundance

  1. Klesa: How to Eliminate Ego’s Control and Cultivate an Identity that Attracts Abundance
  2. Satya: How Authenticity Leads to Attracting Abundance
  3. Astreya: How to Practice Non-Stealing to Attract Wealth and Abundance
  4. Aparigraha: How the Practice of Non-Hoarding Can Benefit Your Wallet and Illumniate Your Path
  5. Sadhana: How Consistent Practice Creates a Strong Foundation for an Abundant Life

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom

Nidra: How to Improve Your Sleep Quality to Enhance Health and Wellness

Sleep is the mental habit characterized by the absence of form.

Sleep is an essential aspect of survival. During sleep, the mind and body recover from the previous day and prepare for the next. It is during this time that the body undergoes amazing processes that keep you healthy, safe, and happy:

  1. Cognitive functioning helps to process information to enhance memory and learning.
  2. Children and adolescents need sleep to develop according to their needs. Important hormones are released that ensure muscle growth and healthy puberty.
  3. Proper sleep allows the body to heal and repair itself. It is an important factor for immune function. 
  4. Adequate sleep helps the body to regulate hormonal release that helps maintain a healthy weight and blood sugar levels. Sleep helps to prevent obesity and diabetes, and encourages healthy eating habits.
  5. A well-rested body and mind maintain physical and psychological safety. Sleep is an important aspect of performance.

Whether we have trouble with sleep or not (or think we don’t), we could all improve our sleep quality. Sleep is an unconscious process, in which we are unaware participants. Yoga is the practice of focus and awareness. To live the yogic lifestyle is a calling to be more present and in control, even in sleep. Mastering the heart-mind through being more mindful about our sleep is a crucial step forward.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Health?

Sleep deprivation is the leading cause of many ailments, which include kidney and heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, illness, and a range of chronic issues that can interfere with your daily life. Poor sleep patterns can also lead to mood issues and inept social interactions. More immediately, loss of sleep can lead to risks, such as auto accidents, poor work and academic performance, and other injuries. 

So many times, we do not experience sound sleep. Receiving the necessary amount and quality of sleep is not as simple as closing your eyes. Many situations can interfere with a good nights’ sleep:

  1. Anxiety or stressful thoughts can keep you from falling asleep and maintaining adequate sleep.
  2. Physical symptoms and illnesses, such as colds, allergies, pain, obesity, and pregnancy can make it difficult to experience healthy sleep.
  3. Sleeping at the wrong time of day can impede sleep cycles.
  4. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, prevent you from experiencing all the sleep cycles that are necessary for rest and repair.
  5. Blue light (from computer, TV, and phone screens), diet or time of meal, and bedtime routine can impact healthy sleeping patterns. 

Although you may believe that you achieve adequate amounts and types of sleep, the truth is that many of us are living with some level of sleep deprivation. It is recommended that adults sleep for at least seven to nine hours per night, and children and adolescents should be receiving up to at least 12 hours per night. But more important than quantity of sleep is the quality of sleep we receive.

The Importance of the Sleep Cycle

Good, quality sleep consists of experiencing the full cycle of sleep. Being able to participate in deep sleep levels helps to heal the body and allows the mind to process important information. Because of the many reasons people do not achieve deep sleep, many go through life literally starving for sleep (and often without realizing it). 

Each night, the human brain should experience sleep that includes Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stages of sleep. 

Stage 1: A person experiences the lightest levels of “sleep” during this stage. Typically, we are still conscious and can awaken easily. It is during this time that the brain experiences alpha wave patterns (8 to 12 Hz), which exist during relaxed, present, and meditative thought processes.

… (end of excerpt)

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom

Wrapping Up

To continue reading from this chapter of The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom please visit and order from the book’s page on Amazon. We hope you found this valuable and wish you health and happiness along your journey. Namaste.

Caleb Sharbono is a writer, bio-hacker, wellness advocate, and yogi. Caleb, who grew up on a small Montana ranch, joined the Navy at 17 to study cryptology. He later graduated from the US Naval Academy with a Minor in Mandarin, a Bachelor's in General Engineering, and a Major in English Literature. Caleb's interests and career cover diverse industries and disciplines. Caleb lives in San Antonio and is a Certified Yoga Instructor. He is also studying Zen Buddhism, practicing Holistic Psychology, and working towards his 300-hour yoga teacher training.


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