Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra: A Promising Approach for Enhancing Sleep and Memory


According to a recent pilot study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, the practice of yoga nidra, a type of mindfulness training, may have the potential to improve sleep, cognition, learning, and memory, even in beginners. The study, conducted by Karuna Datta of the Armed Forces Medical College in India and colleagues, found that after a two-week intervention with novice practitioners, the percentage of delta-waves during deep sleep increased, and all tested cognitive abilities showed improvement.

Yoga nidra differs from more physically active forms of yoga as it focuses on conscious relaxation while lying down. While anecdotal reports have suggested that yoga nidra can enhance sleep and cognitive ability, this study sought to gather objective data through the use of polysomnographic measures of sleep and cognitive tests. Participants underwent these measurements before and after a two-week yoga nidra practice conducted during the daytime, using a 20-minute audio recording.

Polysomnography is a method of measuring brain activity to determine the duration and frequency of each sleep stage. The study found a significant increase in sleep efficiency and the percentage of delta-waves during deep sleep after two weeks of yoga nidra practice. Additionally, participants demonstrated faster response times in all cognitive tests without a loss in accuracy. Specifically, the tasks related to working memory, abstraction, fear and anger recognition, as well as spatial learning and memory, showed faster and more accurate responses. These results align with previous research that has linked delta-wave sleep to improved sleep quality, attention, and memory.

The authors of the study believe that their findings provide compelling evidence for the effectiveness of yoga nidra in enhancing sleep quality and cognitive performance. They highlight yoga nidra as a low-cost and highly accessible activity that could benefit a wide range of individuals.

The pilot study suggests that yoga nidra may offer a promising approach for improving sleep and memory. These findings support the growing body of research on the positive effects of mindfulness-based practices and their potential to enhance overall well-being. Further investigations are needed to explore the long-term benefits of yoga nidra and its potential applications in various populations.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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