Western physicians are now investigating a practice called Yoga Nidra, which means "yogic sleep." This Tantric method is an all-natural, holistic way to achieve uninterrupted, relaxed and healthy sleep each night. It may even be a successful treatment for those who experience night terrors and other serious sleep disturbances.
Night terrors is the name for a serious sleep disturbance. The families of those who experience night terrors are often frightened and confused. During an episode, a person is sleeping soundly one moment, then suddenly standing in the middle of the bed screaming or flailing about.
During night terrors, a person may look wild-eyed around the room, sweating and breathing heavily. They may cry inconsolably, scream in fear or run around the house. They remain sound asleep during the episode however, unaware of the commotion they cause.
Night terrors happen to only a small number of children and even fewer adults. While children usually outgrow night terrors, sometimes the problem continues into adulthood.
An Old Method May Combat Sleep Disorders
This Tantric method to promote restful sleep translates from the Sanskrit as yogic sleep. It is a highly developed system for promoting deep, full-body relaxation.
The relaxation technique involves 20 to 45 minutes of mental imagery guided by an experienced instructor. Eventually the subject reaches a deep meditative state. The yoga community believes this state will release negative emotions and patterns of thought, calming the nervous system and leading to sleep.
The practice also may work for the following conditions which can include disturbed sleep.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Why This System May Work for Sleep Disorders
The guided exercises focus a person’s awareness on their entire body, following a special sequential order. This prescribed order follows a deliberate path that enables the greatest relaxation. Those who use the yogic system find that nightly practice helps them reach this relaxed state more easily.
Some Tantric masters reach an altered state of sleep called waking sleep. A deep trance is necessary to reach the state of waking sleep. While in the trance, the yogic master sleeps deeply and at the same time remains perfectly aware of the immediate surroundings. Legends say that one hour of waking sleep is the equal of several hours of normal sleep.
Trying Yogic Practice Might Help Anyone
There are no obvious safety risks as a result of using this yogic sleep method. The sessions are drug free, eliminating the chances of dangerous interactions or dependencies. Even children can safely use this system.
Those who experience night terrors or other sleep disturbances may wish to conduct a short trial, using this system for a few months. Local yoga studios might have experienced instructors who use the system’s guided imagery techniques. If there are no local classes, several instructors have recorded sessions for online use. One can use CDs or digital recordings by a favorite guide each night at the bedside.
The Yoga Nidra practice is easy and safe for anyone, from a preschooler to a 100-year-old. Who knows? It just might work! Getting enough restful sleep each night is certainly worth giving this deep relaxation method a try.