Next in our series with New York yoga studio SKY TING, co-founders Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan lead a class tailored to improve sleep alongside use of our sleep supplements, SLEEP+ and SLEEP DROPS.
Since sleep deprivation can cause all manner of health issues, from an impact on our immune system to an increased risk of depression, prioritising sleep amidst COVID-19 lockdown is crucial to our wellbeing.
The Sleep Foundation identifies our exposure to light and darkness as a key factor in regulating sleep. Melatonin, a natural hormone made in the pea-sized pineal gland in the brain, is produced when this gland is stimulated during nightfall. This hormone is released into the blood where levels tend to be elevated between 9pm and 9am, causing us to feel less alert and more inclined to sleep.
Our supplements don’t use synthetic melatonin, which Mental Health America warns against: “Some experts urge caution, arguing that more research is needed to determine correct dosing and timing for taking a melatonin supplement”. SLEEP+’s formula contains 5-HTP, GABA, and Valerian root to encourage your body’s own natural melatonin production, helping to keep you from waking in the middle of the night so you feel more well-rested by morning, while our non-habit forming SLEEP DROPS are great for keeping on your bedside table to calm the nervous system so you fall asleep faster.
Although both are designed to be used thirty minutes before bedtime, SKY TING’s yoga class should not be, as per Mental Health America’s advice that exercise should be taken in the morning or afternoon and not in the 2-3 hours before bedtime. The class focuses on calming the nervous system with restorative poses and calming breathwork to leave you prepared for deep rest, so we recommend taking it during an afternoon break from work or after you’ve finished for the day to ensure you get the most from it.
Working through fluid Moon Salutations with Chloe before a more restorative practice, Krissy highlights using the time to unravel and go deep: “In yoga, when we draw our intention inwards and look at our patterns and habits, we self-study. The more time we take to go inward, the more we learn about ourselves. The more we learn about ourselves, the more control we have over our lives, and we can stay to direct ourselves in a way that’s beneficial for us.” Despite holding more passive poses for longer periods of time, Krissy says “It’s not a time to space out and leave your body, it’s a time to really focus.”
Throughout the practice, they recommend breathing techniques to wind down the nervous system, much like during their Yoga Is For… Anxiety class: “To move us quickly into a parasympathetic state we love doing an asama vritti breath with a longer exhale than inhale. We like starting with a 4 count inhale and 6 count exhale, which can then be lengthened even further from there.” Krissy reiterates that “One of the best ways to soothe the nervous system is by manipulating the breath; making it have an oceanic sound quality.”
The class also incorporates rounded plough, a pose that soothes the kidneys and acts like a hibernation pose—“It's an amazing pose to balance hormones and feel cocooned in your own body”—with supported Savasana to finish. Ensuring you’re comfortable and supported is a great way to indulge in some lockdown self-care: “Using props like blankets or a bolster puts your body in optimal form for ultimate relaxation—some say it’s even better rest than sleep itself!”
Try the Yoga Is For Sleep class here.