Replace a sleeping pill with a few choice moves… Can it really be done?
Do you want to hear a joke?
SLEEP! Yeah, I know – I don’t get it either… Which is what recently led me to sleep yoga.
Not out of choice but because my GP won’t give me any more magic beans, aka sleeping pills. Try yoga, he suggests. Yoga! Like that could take the place of a perfectly balanced chemical siesta. But he leaves me with little choice.
I briefly consider making my own sleeping pills out of absinthe and hollowed out M&Ms but instead I track down a book called Yoga in Bed: 20 Asanas to Do in Pyjamas (there’s also a DVD, if you still own such a device, plus umpteen YouTube videos – it’s a thing, is what I’m saying).
However, flicking through the pages I remain unconvinced. How could a few passive stretches help induce slumber?
The kind of slumber that’s so complete that for a split second when you wake you don’t remember where you are or what day it is.
I get comfortable on top of my doona, as suggested, in what I normally wear to bed – that is to say, nothing – and get started.
The first pose is easy enough; it basically just involves lying down and putting your legs up against a wall – the kind of thing you do when you get off a plane. It’s great for blood flow, apparently. The next few moves are slightly more pretzel-y, and include sitting cross-legged and twisting your torso from side to side. Then I come to the Nighttime Goddess. The name certainly appeals to me. Lying on the bed, you bend your knees and put your heels together, which apparently helps lower your heart rate. At this point I’m starting to feel sleepy and I’m also wishing I’d invested in some pyjamas.
By the time I reach the last two poses I’m feeling decidedly mellow. The first one, Child’s Pose, is all about releasing muscular tension, while the Rock-a-Bye Roll (see what they did there?) essentially involves you rocking yourself to sleep.
By the time I put ear to pillow I definitely feel more relaxed that usual. That night, I dream about having a flying lesson, which ends in a horrific crash landing. I wake up in a pool of cold sweat, but fright quickly turns to elation when I look at the clock – I slept for more than nine hours. Success!
Upon reflection, I realise that probably had a lot more to do with the fact I did as I was told and went straight to bed after my stretches. No iPhone, no internet. Still, if all sleep yoga achieves is to break my evening screen habit that’s no mean feat. And to be fair, I was less stiff the next day. Don’t tell my doctor but two weeks in and I might have kicked my sleeping pill habit. I’m not sure how much the Nighttime Goddess had to do with it but I’m getting so good at nailing a rewarding night’s sleep I can practically do it with my eyes closed.
What: Yoga in Bed: 20 Asanas to Do in Pyjamas by Edward Vilga. It costs about $48 from amazon.com.
I loved: That this was the first yoga I’ve ever partaken in where I could fart freely without judgement. That alone is worth the cover price.
I wonder: If this would also be good for getting kids to sleep. All that rocking and Child’s Posing is bound to send them off to the land of nod in no time.
EMMA MARKEZIC is a comedian, writer and self-confessed fitness cretin. Each month she tries a new wellness trend. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @markyknowsbest