By Shannon Sexton, Yoga International
We are a sleep-starved nation. About 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly seven out of ten report frequent sleeping problems–although most remain undiagnosed.
Alarmed? You should be. As Stanford University “sleepdebt” expert William C. Dement, MD, PhD, warns: “Lost sleep accumulates as a debt that must be repaid or health eventually deteriorates.” This year, the Institute of Medicine released a report linking sleep disorders and sleep deprivation to a host of ills, including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.
Scientists are confirming what yogis and ayurvedic physicians have reported for centuries: deep sleep rests the body and the mind. Our daily dose of shut-eye regulates our weight, strengthens our immunity, protects our cardiovascular health, repairs our tissues and cells, and restores our energy. Sleep also allows us to process, consolidate, and retain new memories; it balances our emotions, makes us better problem solvers, and feeds our creativity.
Try these simple 6 bedtime rituals from yoga and ayurveda to help you relax, sleep better, and ultimately, live better.
Related: Health Risks of Too Little Sleep
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