Yoga & Respiratory System

Sleep and Pranayama

What is the sleep:

a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.

An average every creature spends one-third of his life time spent in sleep, that is equivalent to 6 to 8 hours in a day-night (24 Hours).

Sleep architecture follows a pattern of alternating REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep throughout a typical night in a cycle that repeats itself about every 90 minutes.

NREM (75% of night): As we begin to fall asleep, we enter NREM sleep, which is composed of stages 1-4

N1 (formerly "stage 1")

  • Between being awake and falling asleep
  • Light sleep

N2 (formerly "stage 2")

  • Onset of sleep
  • Becoming disengaged from surroundings
  • Breathing and heart rate are regular
  • Body temperature drops (so sleeping in a cool room is helpful)
N3 (formerly "stages 3 and 4")
  • Deepest and most restorative sleep
  • Blood pressure drops
  • Breathing becomes slower
  • Muscles are relaxed
  • Blood supply to muscles increases
  • Tissue growth and repair occurs
  • Energy is restored
  • Hormones are released, such as: Growth hormone, essential for growth and development, including muscle development

REM (25% of night): First occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and recurs about every 90 minutes, getting longer later in the night

  • Provides energy to brain and body
  • Supports daytime performance
  • Brain is active and dreams occur
  • Eyes dart back and forth
  • Body becomes immobile and relaxed, as muscles are turned off

What is Pranayama

Pranayama is yogic practice of inhaling and exhaling, which provides energy to different organs (including mind) and also controls many vital life processes (e.g. circulation, respiration, etc.)


How does Pranayama helps to get good sleep

An average person consume only 25% of oxygen while inhaling, when we practicing Pranayama, this consumption will increase the percentage of oxygen upto 70% during inhaling process. 
Oxygen is food for brain neurons and body cells, simply when we inhale more oxygen it means we provide more food to our body's smallest parts (cells and tissue).

Experiment with sleep and Pranayama

I did a simple experiment to measure sleep with and without Pranayama and result is very impressive, you can also do the same experiment with any sleep tracker device.
Note: I used Fitbit sleep tracker to measure the sleep.

Sleep without Pranayama

Sleep with Pranayama

Above two picture clearly shows the difference sleep with Pranayama and sleep without Pranayama. There is clearly one hour extra time in deep sleep stage.
To improve sleep quality start doing Pranayama.