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5 Incredible Benefits of Yoga Nidra for Sleep

by BetterSleep
Jun 11 • 4 min read

Yoga nidra (pronounced nee-dra) is an ancient meditation technique from India. It’s narrated while the practitioner is resting putting him in a profoundly relaxed state. An instructor guides listeners through a series of relaxation and visual cues, that usually last between 20 minutes and an hour.

Though its name means yogic sleep, the purpose of yoga nidra isn’t necessarily to fall asleep. The goal is to focus on the guiding voice and delve into deeper states of consciousness. However, many people do use it as a sleep aid as the state it puts you in allows you to fall asleep quickly.

You won’t experience yoga nidra in a typical yoga class, though. It’s practiced entirely while lying down on the back in savasana (corpse pose), resulting in deeper relaxation compared to a physical yoga practice.

It also differs significantly from seated meditation. In meditation, the mind fluctuates between active beta and alpha brainwave states. Yoga nidra allows practitioners to flow into less-active and deeply restful brainwave states.

Let’s take a look at some of the unique perks of doing yoga nidra.

The extraordinary benefits of yoga nidra

Its feasibility and numerous applications make yoga nidra so appealing. Here are five of the wondrous benefits that come with this deeply restorative practice.

1.Anyone who can lay down and listen can do yoga nidra. As it’s done while lying comfortably, physical limitations or disabilities aren’t barriers. The guidance can also be played with a recording or app, so that it can be done at one’s convenience.

2.It improves dopamine levels. A 2002 study showed that participants had increased dopamine levels, the feel-good hormone, during yoga nidra. Dopamine release relates to feelings of bliss, motivation, and concentration. It also plays an essential role in many functions including movement, sleep, learning, mood, memory, and attention.

3.It’s proven to help with a variety of physical ailments. Many studies demonstrate yoga nidra’s effectiveness in alleviating common conditions including back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, PMS, and stress. Pretty impressive for an exercise that only requires you to lay down!

4.It helps with the treatment of chronic insomnia. A case study provided much promise for the use of yoga nidra as a treatment for chronic insomnia. The results showed patient improvements in depression, anxiety, sleep quality, and insomnia severity while including yoga nidra in their overall treatment plan.

5.It increases creativity and intuition. Brainwave studies show increased alpha and theta brainwave activity in people who practice yoga nidra. Practitioners are more easily able to access the dreamlike theta states associated with openness, creativity, and self-connection.

To start experimenting with this practice, we suggest you try the guided yoga nidra session on the BetterSleep app. It introduces you to the practice’s basic principles while allowing you to deeply relax and drift off to sleep if you wish.

Five potted plants and cactuses with flowers Preparing for yoga nidra

Setting yourself up for the ideal yoga nidra practice with these tips will make for a more healing journey.

  • Set aside time for it. Yoga nidra works best when you won’t be interrupted and can fully relax.
  • Get comfortable. If it’s painful to lay flat, place pillows under bent knees to support your lower back and one under your head for added comfort.

Taking these steps to prep for the optimal practice will result in a soothing yoga nidra experience that will inspire you to return to it regularly.

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