Get Some Rest: Yoga Nidra and 5-HTP

I wanted to write on a different topic this week but it was going to require a good deal of extra work and quite frankly I was too tired…  This lack of energy got me thinking though about the importance of rest.

Since I fell, I have been trying to pay attention to my body and what it is telling me it needs.  Lately, I want to rest, maybe read a little, watch a movie or just sleep.  It seems so, well… lazy.  It occurs to me though, that is my mind talking and when I listen to that chatter and try to push through, I end up feeling worse.  And the last thing I want right now is to needlessly prolong my recovery.

It may seem obvious for me to rest more right now because of my injuries but you probably need some more too.  Our bodies need periods of rest to rejuvenate, repair and restore proper function.  So what do you do if you have trouble resting because you feel guilty or have trouble quieting down and being peaceful during the times that are available for resting?

Peter Ferko, a wonderful yoga instructor, introduced me to a practice called Yoga Nidra while I was having a bad bout with insomnia a few years ago.  Yoga Nidra has been defined as yogic sleep or sleep with awareness.  It is essentially a deeply relaxing meditation practice where you lie down instead of sitting upright.

Yogiraj Rod Stryker describes Yoga Nidra quite well on his website as follows:

Yoga Nidra, Stryker says, relaxes not just the body and mind but also the subconscious–the storehouse of all our psycho-emotional tension, the stuff that keeps us up at night. “At the height of it, you hover in the effortlessness of deep sleep while retaining only a subtle trace of awareness,” he says.

I used Stryker’s cd Relax into Greatness to guide me through the Yoga Nidra process and found it very effective.  The first few times I did it; I actually just fell asleep which was what I needed.  There are many other guided Yoga Nidra cds and mp3s available.  You may even find some free one online.  One of the many benefits of Stryker’s cd is that he offers 2 different length programs: a short and long.  The short program is just long enough to rejuvenate yourself during a lunch hour if you find you are running out of gas during the day.

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) was my other saving grace when I was having trouble sleeping.  5-HTP is an essential amino acid that helps convert tryptophan into serotonin.  In addition to helping with sleep, studies have also linked it to be effective in alleviating mild depression and even suppressing appetite, thus aiding in weight loss.  I found that when I took it a half hour before bed with a little bread and peanut butter (which also contains tryptophan- a natural sleep aid) that I was able to fall asleep and most importantly stay asleep.

I hope you guys found this week’s post interesting and or helpful.  Please share with me what you do to get enough Zs.  I look forward to hearing from you.  In the meanwhile, go get some rest!

Love and Blessings to all,

Cynthia

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4 thoughts on “Get Some Rest: Yoga Nidra and 5-HTP

  1. Diane

    Many people struggle with getting a good night sleep and/or even getting to sleep, I fortunately am not one of them, but will pass on some of the tricks I’ve heard that require only some focus and a little luck.
    1. My 4- year old granddaughter believes strongly in counting sheep….but not just sheep, change every animal after each jump over that fence. One sheep, two elephants, three lions and so on. Works for her.
    2. Close your left nostril therefore restricting some…whatever…. sounds strange.
    3. Breath in and out counting one in, two out and so on.
    4. My favorite–recite in your head the alphabet backwards as many times as you can.
    Distracting your thoughts (decision making, problem solving, planning) and actually being tired is important. Too much sleep is bad, going to bed too early is bad, white noise is distracting, sleeping pills are addicting, alcohol before bed is bad, daytime activity is good and a clear mind is the best.
    Enjoyed your ideas and will keep them in mind. XO

    Reply

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