Yoga Therapy for Overcoming Insomnia

by Dr. Peter van Houten, MD and Gyandev McCord (Gyandev Rich McCord, Phd)

"Doc, If I could just get a good nights sleep!"

You look at the clock at your bedside and it's 3:00 AM and you think, "Oh no, not another night when I don't sleep! I have so much to do tomorrow!". If this is happening to you, there is help available right now. You should also know that you are not alone with the problem of insomnia. Roughly half the adults in our culture have some trouble with insomnia and some have a severe debilitating form of it. Whether your insomnia is mild and occasional or an every night torture, this book can help you. Using the latest scientific research, we will give you a clear understanding of the nature of insomnia including its common causes and treatments. This is a comprehensive program you can start using tonight for deep, sound sleep.

As a cornerstone of our treatment plan, we will be using the well-known Ananda Yoga system as a way to let you relax deeply and prepare your mind and body for refreshing sleep. You'll learn how you can deeply relax at will using specific yoga postures, stretches, methods of relaxation, breathing techniques, and affirmations. These techniques, when performed along with our recommendations for healthy sleep habits, can give you the sound sleep you are wanting. You can work with this program on your own or you can use this approach in conjunction with any treatment your physician recommends. The healthy sleep habits suggested in this book are ones that most physicians would wholeheartedly endorse. Your health care provider may have already recommended this book or activities like this.

You'll find that most physicians are already familiar with the positive effects that relaxation, affirmation, attitude, habit changes, and stretching techniques can have on a host of medical problems, including insomnia. For example, one study done on insomnia in 2001 demonstrated that simply modifying a person's attitudes about sleep and teaching them good sleep habits produced better long-term outcomes than giving them medication! The great news is that most people can be taught routines for ensuring sound sleep that will be effective for a lifetime.

You'll find this is an excellent handbook with enjoyable, and highly effective, yoga routines and other sleep recommendations that you can start using today. Help is on the way. Get ready for a great night's sleep!

A Note on the Yoga Practices in This Book

This book is designed to blend seamlessly with the medical care you may already be receiving for insomnia. Any actual changes in your medication or treatment should, of course, be made in consultation with your health care provider.

While the exercises we present here are simple and easy, not all yoga practices are suitable for everyone. To reduce the risk of injury, it's a good idea to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program like this one. Obviously, the instructions and advice in this book are not intended as substitutes for medical counsel from your health care advisor. At the end of chapter eight, we have specific recommendations for those few who do not find adequate improvement after trying the suggestions in this book.

The therapeutic approach in this book is intended to benefit a wide range of people suffering from insomnia, and for most people it is an excellent starting point. For some it will be all they need long term. To get the greatest therapeutic benefit from the yoga program, it's even better to work individually with a qualified yoga instructor who can draw upon a broader range of yoga therapy techniques and tailor your program to your own unique needs and abilities. Bear in mind that although yoga therapy often has immediate effects and improves most insomnia symptoms immediately, it is not just a "quick fix" like a sleeping pill. It is a gradual route to enduring harmony on all levels of your being. For more information about Ananda Yoga and actual personal instruction, look in the section titled, "Additional Steps You Can Take."

See Also: Contents  Sample Chapter  

Return to Yoga Therapy for Overcoming Insomnia