The Spirit List #2 – NSDR
And just like that we are almost in November and winter seems like a distant memory as I switch over to my summer weight doona, the plants in my garden go mad with their growth spurts and suddenly all I am eating is salads. Farewell winter!
In the last Spirit List I talked about how winter is a time for us to rest and repair and to slow down. Well with all that resting and repairing why am I still so tired? I guess the reality of life is that this time of year is always the pointy end as we all hurtle towards the holiday season and the long-awaited summer break. I’ve also just come out of a particularly busy time with work as we have launched our new campaign for next year to our wholesale customers and had an action-packed week visiting suppliers in Vietnam and the Philippines.
This is when I really lean into the practice of NSDR. No, not a new boy band although that would make a good name – NSDR stands for Non Sleep Deep Rest.
NSDR was coined by Dr Andrew Huberman who has been practising it for more than a decade. According to Huberman NSDR “can enhance the learning process by reducing day-time fatigue and improving focus. It can also greatly enhance your sleep, boost your mood, and promote #Neuroplasticity – the ability of your brain to change and grow.”
For me, it means getting the equivalent of 4 hours sleep in 30 minutes.
If you want to try this kind of version which is more scientific based Huberman has a great 10-minute meditation here on YouTube.
Another way to practice a form of NSDR is yoga nidra or yogic sleep as it can sometimes be called. This is my preferred form as I love the spiritual aspect of it – the soothing messages that it is OK to rest, that it is allowed and that it’s time to let go.
Yoga nidra can be as short as ten minutes or go for longer than an hour. I find about 30 minutes to be the optimal time to get enough rest and to also not fall completely asleep.
So what can you expect? Yoga nidra is a guided meditation which depending on the session you chose can encompass visualisation, body scans and guided mental imagery along with lying down in Savasana (or corpse pose).
The benefits for me are huge and it’s become a big part of my toolbox especially when I’m feeling tired and run down. It’s easy to say to yourself I need to rest and then you end up in bed scrolling through your phone or picking up that issue of the latest interior magazine. I find dedicating my time to a Yoga Nidra session means I actually do tap out and feel more restored to get on with the rest of my day.
My favourite Yoga Nidra’s are on the Downward Dog app – the voice setting Mars has an automatic highway to destressing my nervous system! But there are plenty on the Insight Timer app or on YouTube.
Why not give it a shot? I think we all deserve a little bit more rest these days and personally it’s been one of my favourite things to do when I am feeling a little exhausted. Perfect time is usually just before I pick up my daughter from school and start my 2nd shift!
And if you fall asleep during it, well I won’t tell.
*It has been noted that Yoga Nidra shouldn’t be practiced by those suffering or diagnoised with severe depression, severe trauma and severe mental health conditions.