Yoga Nidra for Sleep: An Ancient Technique Developed in the East

by Charles Purdom

You’ve probably heard about Yoga Nidra for sleep. It’s an ancient technique developed in the East and used by some of the greatest yogis of all time. And it can be effective, too. But how exactly does it work?

It works because it relaxes you mentally. There are many ways to do this, but yoga Nidra for sleep does it in a very special way. Yoga Nidra gently leads you through four primary stages of mind wave activity: alpha, beta, theta, and delta. The ultimate goal is to reach a superhypnagogic state, also known as a “dream state,” where you fall completely asleep. It’s at this point that the mind becomes more relaxed, and your cognitive faculties slow down. It’s the exact opposite of daydreaming and can be highly beneficial.

Yoga Nidra session

  • During your yoga Nidra for sleep session, you’ll likely be asked to perform a variety of exercises, much like a guided meditation. This allows you to focus on your breathing and ease away your mental tension. Because these exercises are done under controlled conditions, they also promote a state of spiritual calm. They can be done alone or combined with other yoga practices, such as relaxation, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation. A yoga Nidra session typically takes up to 45 minutes, and you can perform it several times a week.
Yoga Nidra
  • During a yoga Nidra for sleep session, you’ll use the same yoga poses you would when doing your other yoga exercises. For example, you might use a modified standing pose called Savasana, or you might choose to lie down and practice a basic meditation. Regardless of which type of yoga Nidra you’re interested in learning, you’ll find that the focus is on focusing yourself and your breathing on achieving inner peace and tranquility.
  • During a yoga Nidra for sleep session, you’ll want to be mindful of how your breath enters and leaves your body. As you learn to relax, you may feel your muscles becoming tense. Rather than trying to control this or try to stop it, allow it to happen. Once you can relax completely, inhale deeply to bring more focus and attention to your breathing. As you let go of tension, your mind will become calmer as well, allowing you to drift off to dreamland.

How long should I do Yoga Nidra?

There is no definite answer to this question. For example, one person might need 40 minutes of yoga Nidra, while another might need 60 minutes or more. You’ll know when it’s time to stop because you’ll start feeling sleepy and awake again.

Is yoga a Nidra Hypnosis?

Before answering this question, let’s note that the term “idea” is just one of many terms for sleep. So it’s essential to be clear about what this person means by “sleep.” For example, hypnosis usually refers to various ways of influencing someone awake, not sleeping. Yoga Nidra, on the other hand (also spelled “nidda”), refers specifically to sleep or some altered state while asleep.

Nidra yoga is internationally recognized as a deep psycho-physiological therapeutic practice. Participants stay in an awakened yet profoundly relaxed state and experience some benefits while dozing and after awakening.

Is yoga Nidra the same as body scan?

Yoga Nidra is the same as a body scan. It’s a meditation technique for deep relaxation and sleep, which you can do during the day or anytime before bed.

Body Scan

The final component of yoga Nidra for sleep is being aware of the physical sensations as you relax. When your mind becomes concentrated, you may experience tingling or muscle spasms, or even just a little pleasure or peace of mind. As you focus on these sensations, try to notice when they occur and what they feel like. This will allow you to use this heightened awareness to release unwanted stress eventually. Over time, your attention will become more refined, until finally, it’s possible to relax without feeling any tension at all fully.


While yoga Nidra for sleep doesn’t promise you instant results, it can lead to more restful and restorative sleep if practiced regularly and carefully. As your body and mind become more relaxed, your body will be less susceptible to day-to-day stresses. This not only has benefits for your mental health, but it’s also highly beneficial physically. When you drop off to sleep quickly and naturally, you’ll find that you wake up much more refreshed and energetic than if you let your body fall asleep on its own. If you want to learn how to fall asleep with yoga, make sure you practice the fundamental yoga Nidra meditation during your daily yoga class.

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