While yoga nidra is not a substitute for sleep, the number one reason most women I know say yes to yoga nidra is that it’s widely touted that 45 minutes of yogic sleep feels like 3 hours of regular sleep. There’s some debate over the science that backs this up, but it is likely this effect is due to the series of brain-wave changes experienced during yoga nidra. In my work, I hear women tell me all the time that they wake up deeply refreshed after practicing yoga nidra and that yoga nidra helps them fall asleep and get back to sleep at night. Who can say no to sleep?
As you can imagine, feeling well rested is life changing, but yoga nidra also improves your overall health. A 2013 study showed that practicing yoga nidra improved anxiety, depression, and overall well-being for women experiencing menstrual irregularities and psychological problems. I’ve worked with many women who have had tremendous success using yoga nidra to help them manage pre- and post-surgical operations and decrease pain. And even more science points to how yoga nidra can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and improve blood glucose fluctuations and symptoms associated with diabetes.
The explosion of studies supporting the benefits of meditation also apply to yoga nidra, because yoga nidra is a form of meditation. Both meditation and yoga nidra help activate the relaxation response and improve the functioning of your nervous system and endocrine system, which affects your hormones. Both meditation and yoga nidra help cells regenerate and repair, and both help decrease anxiety and improve your mood.
Women tell me all the time how practicing yoga nidra meditation has positively impacted their family life. One mother who was checked out of her life due to exhaustion now practices yoga nidra and says that she is using more loving speech to herself, her children and her spouse, and parenting from a more peaceful place. In general, another woman who felt imprisoned by her anxiety tells me she is now able to lead a full life with her family from a calm place. It’s clear to me that women get their family and freedom back when they practice yoga nidra regularly.