NSDR Before Sleep: Sleep better

NSDR before sleep

The Power of NSDR and Yoga Nidra for Better Sleep

The day I discovered Yoga Nidra was a game changer. Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) or Yoga Nidra before sleep is a powerful method to drift into sleep with intent and purpose.

Many powerful individuals, including billionaires of Silicon Valley, utilize this practice by focusing on a problem or creating a Sankalpa (intention) before bed.

They harness the power of the subconscious mind and NSDR before sleep to work towards resolving these issues.

This ancient technique not only promotes deep rest but also offers a viable alternative to sleep medication and the practice can be as little as 10 mins or a longer version of 30-45 minutes.

Find the duration that works for you. In this article, I will share my personal protocol for settling into bed, including my yoga routine, breathwork practice, eating protocol, use of essential oils, lighting adjustments, supplementation, and contraindications. 

Understanding Bedtime Yoga Nidra: A Pathway to Insomnia Relief

Yoga Nidra, often referred to as “yogic sleep,” is a state of conscious relaxation that allows the body and mind to rest deeply. For those struggling with insomnia, bedtime Yoga Nidra offers significant relief.

Unlike sleep medications, which can have side effects and dependencies, Yoga Nidra or NSDR (Non-Sleep Deep Rest) provides a natural solution. According to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, participants practicing Yoga Nidra reported improved sleep quality and reduced insomnia symptoms. Incorporating NSDR before sleep through Yoga Nidra can thus be a game-changer for many.

My Evening Yoga Routine for Deep Rest: Discover the science

  1. Gentle Stretches before bedtime can help you prepare for NSDR

To prepare for a restful night, I start with a gentle yoga routine in bed. This involves a series of simple stretches and poses designed to release tension from the body. I focus on poses such as Child’s Pose, Supine Twist, and Legs Up the Wall. These poses help to relax the muscles, calm the nervous system, and prepare the body for YogaNidra. 

  1. Breathwork Practice: Calming the Mind for sleep and rest

Following my yoga routine, I engage in a breathwork practice to further relax my mind. I practice deep diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, for about 5-10 minutes. This involves inhaling deeply through the nose, allowing the abdomen to rise, and exhaling slowly through the mouth. Breathwork helps in activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is crucial for entering a state of NSDR before sleep. You can play a NSDR for as little as 10 mins to an hour for your to truly sink into the sleep state/

  1. Eating Protocol: Preparing the Body

What and when you eat before bed can significantly impact your sleep quality. I make sure to have my last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. I avoid heavy, spicy, or caffeinated foods and instead opt for a light, balanced meal. Foods rich in tryptophan, such as turkey, bananas, and nuts, can promote better sleep. 

  1. Using Essential Oils for Relaxation

Essential oils are a key part of my bedtime routine. I use a diffuser with lavender or chamomile oil, known for their calming properties. Sometimes, I also apply a diluted essential oil blend to my wrists and temples to enhance relaxation. The soothing aroma helps signal to my brain that it’s time to wind down and prepare for NSDR before sleep.

  1. Adjusting Lights for Better Sleep

Lighting plays a crucial role in sleep hygiene. About an hour before bed, I start dimming the lights to signal to my body that it’s time to prepare for sleep. I avoid blue light from screens by using night mode settings on my devices or simply turning them off. Just before starting my Yoga Nidra practice, I turn off all lights to create a dark, sleep-conducive environment.

  1. Supplementation: Supporting Sleep Naturally

While I try to maintain a balanced diet, I sometimes use supplements to support my sleep. Melatonin, magnesium, and L-theanine are my go-to supplements. Melatonin helps regulate sleep-wake cycles, magnesium aids in muscle relaxation, and L-theanine promotes calmness. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any supplementation to ensure it’s appropriate for you.

Contraindications: Knowing When to Seek Professional Advice

While Yoga Nidra and NSDR before sleep are generally safe, there are certain contraindications to be aware of. Individuals with severe psychiatric conditions, untreated sleep disorders, or those who are pregnant should consult with a healthcare professional before starting Yoga Nidra. Additionally, if you experience discomfort or adverse effects during the practice, it’s important to stop and seek advice from a qualified instructor or healthcare provider.

Yoga Nidra for Deep Rest: The Brain’s Response

What happens to the brain during Yoga Nidra is truly fascinating. During this practice, the brain transitions through various stages of relaxation, similar to the sleep cycle but with distinct differences. Research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows that Yoga Nidra promotes the production of alpha, theta, and delta brain waves, which are associated with relaxation and deep sleep. Practicing NSDR before sleep, particularly through Yoga Nidra, can help you harness these brain waves for a restful night.

Brain WavesAssociated State
AlphaRelaxation, reduced anxiety
ThetaLight sleep, deep meditation
DeltaDeep sleep, profound relaxation
Brain wave and associated State
brain frequency chart with NSDR and Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra vs Sleep Medication: A Healthier Choice

When comparing Yoga Nidra vs sleep medication, the benefits of the former become evident. Sleep medications often come with risks of dependency and side effects such as daytime drowsiness and cognitive impairment. On the other hand, Yoga Nidra provides a drug-free alternative that not only helps in falling asleep but also enhances overall well-being. A study highlighted in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that Yoga Nidra was effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, contributing to better sleep without the need for medication. NSDR before sleep, achieved through Yoga Nidra, is thus a healthier and more sustainable choice.

Scientific Study of the Brain During Yoga Nidra: Insights and Discoveries

Scientific studies of the brain during Yoga Nidra have revealed significant insights. Functional MRI scans show increased activity in areas of the brain associated with self-awareness and emotional regulation. This heightened activity suggests that Yoga Nidra helps in resetting the nervous system, promoting a state of calm and balance that is conducive to sleep. Additionally, EEG studies indicate that Yoga Nidra induces a state of restful alertness, where the body is deeply relaxed while the mind remains aware. This makes NSDR before sleep through Yoga Nidra a scientifically supported method for improving sleep quality.

The Benefits of Practicing Yoga Nidra Before Bedtime

Practicing Yoga Nidra before bedtime can reset your body and mind, preparing you for a restful night. The protocol involves lying down comfortably, following guided instructions to systematically relax each part of the body, and entering a meditative state. This practice not only improves sleep quality but also enhances cognitive function, emotional stability, and overall health. According to research from the University of California, regular Yoga Nidra practice can reduce cortisol levels, thereby lowering stress and improving sleep patterns. Incorporating NSDR before sleep can significantly enhance your overall well-being.

Prospects of Yoga Nidra and NSDR: A Natural Solution for Better Sleep

The prospects of using Yoga Nidra and NSDR before sleep for better rest are promising. Ongoing research continues to explore the potential of these practices in treating various sleep disorders and enhancing mental health. Recent discoveries suggest that incorporating Yoga Nidra into daily routines can lead to long-term improvements in sleep quality and emotional well-being. As more people seek natural alternatives to sleep medication, the popularity and recognition of Yoga Nidra are likely to grow. NSDR before sleep stands out as a promising approach to achieving restorative sleep naturally.

Embracing the Future of Sleep Health with Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra and NSDR before sleep offer a powerful, natural solution for insomnia relief and deep rest. Scientific studies have demonstrated the positive effects of these practices on the brain and overall health. As research continues to uncover the benefits and mechanisms of Yoga Nidra, it is becoming increasingly clear that this ancient practice holds the key to better sleep without medication. Embrace the potential of Yoga Nidra and NSDR before sleep to unlock the pathway to restful nights and refreshed mornings.


1. “Effect of Yoga Nidra on Psychological Problems in Women,” International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2020.

2. “Yoga Nidra Practice and the Impact on Sleep,” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2019.

3. “Comparison of Yoga Nidra and Sleep Medication on Anxiety and Sleep Quality,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2018.

4. “Neural Mechanisms of Yoga Nidra: An fMRI Study,” National Institutes of Health, 2021.

5. “The Role of Yoga Nidra in Reducing Cortisol and Improving Sleep,” University of California Research Publications, 2022.

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