Yoga For Insomnia ~ Tips To Get You Started

Yoga For Insomnia

Yoga For InsomniaNot sleeping so great? I feel for you, I really do. Insomnia is what brought me to meditation and then yoga many years ago.  You can read more about that here and listen to my Facebook Live talk if you are interested to hear my story.

Insomnia is a very common complaint with almost half of adults experiencing symptoms on a few nights a week. It is more prevalent in women and older adults but anyone can be affected. (

Just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal wellness, so is sleep. As a yoga therapist, I often observe that there is a direct relationship between the quality of a person’s sleep and the quality of their waking life.

Insomnia can have complex and far reaching effects into the overall health and wellbeing of a person.  This often includes people close to them and communities at large. Many turn to pharmaceuticals to combat the problem but this is rarely a long term solution.

How Yoga Can Help With Sleep

Yoga can be a fantastic way of dealing with insomnia over the long term. It provides an excellent opportunity to relieve stress, improve self-awareness. The practices have more effect over time with minimal adverse side effects.

Most importantly guidance is required with what techniques to practice when or you could end up making the situation worse.  Yes, yoga could make your insomnia worse!  For example, having a really strong, stimulating or energising practice in the late evening.  Although this might be great for waking you up in the morning, it is not so great later. So, you might ensure your yoga teacher/therapist is confident to prescribe techniques therapeutically in order to get the best outcome.

There is a growing evidence base of research supporting the effectiveness of yoga in treating insomnia. We go through some of this in our yoga for insomnia workshops. Many techniques have been shown to be effective.  These include asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), concentration techniques, meditation and awareness exercises.

Yoga is an active therapy, this means you have to be ready and willing to make change for it to work! So, here is my action plan for incorporating yoga into your lifestyle to help ease insomnia.

Yoga For Insomnia – Action Plan

  1. As a starting point, follow good sleep hygiene practices see here
  2. Find a yoga teacher who has classes near to where you live and start attending regularly, if you need help looking, let us know! Regular practice will give the greatest benefit.
  3. Keep a sleep diary for a week so you and your  yoga teacher can analyze it for any patterns
  4. See a yoga therapist who can help you get to the root of the problem and then prescribe something that is tailored to you as an individual.
  5. Come along to one of our workshops which will arm you with a heap of yogic tools to use to help combat insomnia (and there is cake & chai!)

At Charleyoga, we aim to educate and empower you with yogic tools that are easy to learn an practice.  Some you can use regularly as a preventative measure.   Other techniques are perfect to use in place of spending hours tossing and turning in bed. They can be extremely effective if you are willing to commit to an “active” therapy. Yoga is not a passive form of therapy so requires a willingness to make change and become more self-aware (mindful).

It’s always beneficial to get live training and to build up a working, experiential knowledge of yoga by joining a class.  You could start by watching this recording of a talk I did on Yoga for Insomnia here.  I’ve been been offering insomnia workshops and yoga classes Perth clients with sleeping issues have had successful outcomes with for many years. Contact us today for more details, or go ahead and book into a class.

Charley Hickey




About Charleyoga & Charley Hickey

Author: Charley Hickey C-IAYT is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.


Yoga And Insomnia Talk With Charley Hickey C-IAYT

yoga and insomnia Charley HickeyI hope you enjoy watching this talk I did live on Facebook last month.  Hear me chat about yoga and insomnia, my own experiences of insomnia and how yoga helped me.  I also cover some of the current research into yoga and insomnia. There are a few questions that the audience asks towards the end which you can follow in the comments.

Trouble Sleeping?

Have you ever had trouble sleeping? I hear you!  Over half the population suffer from insomnia at some point in their life and that includes me.  At the age of 11 insomnia hit me full force and it was intense! With constant nights spent tossing and turning whilst stressing about the daylight hours fast approaching.  The fatigue, anxiety and fear which accompanies insomnia are all too familiar to me.  It was by pure luck that I discovered meditation and yoga and got myself back on track.  My hope it is that others watching will be inspired to try yoga.  Yoga really has a clever way of bypassing the cycle of fear, anxiety and fatigue that insomnia creates.  I think yoga and insomnia are the perfect partners so have a listen to find out why.

Tune into one of my other talks coming up soon which you can find on my Facebook page.


Charley Hickey





Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

Slow is the New Fast


Wow, school holidays really are a crazy time, it’s so busy near where I live in Fremantle as it’s a bit of a tourist centre during the holidays.  We are fortunate that we are able to enjoy this place when it’s quiet but when it’s peak hour, I feel like I’m stuck in a time warp with everyone buzzing around me and I’m standing in the middle of it feeling very out of place. I hate to generalize but in my experience, most people find it hard to slow down or just genuinely believe that they can’t.  Reasons vary with some  not wanting to slow down and wearing their “speed” like a badge of honor and then those that want to slow down but just can’t seem to find the time or just don’t know how!

Well, I’m here to introduce you to the concept that slow is the new fast!  You see, I believe firmly that when we slow down, we actually achieve more and things also seem to slow down around us.  In turn, this makes everything seem more manageable and less “fast” in the first place.

This is often reflected in the way I approach teaching my weekly yoga classes and  here is why we often move slowly:

  1. Most of us need to slow down, not speed up so I’m catering to what most of you need (sorry if that’s not everyone but we can recommend “fast” classes if you want them!)
  2. Slowing down causes the body to switch into parasympathetic nervous system dominance or your “relaxation response” (Read more about the relaxation response here, a term coined by Dr Herbert Benson)
  3. More of your less obvious bodily systems are involved when you move slowly which means your central nervous system has an enhanced awareness of the areas you are working on ie more awareness = increased neural activity
  4. If you move quickly, you often skip over problem areas or don’t even notice them, try doing it slowly, it can be just as intense, if not more so!
  5. This equates to much less of a chance of injuring yourself during class, especially if you are a beginner to yoga or injured
  6. This allows you to “feel” the movement in your body rather than just “do” it leading to an expanded learning experience.
  7. It allows you to relax
  8. You will probably sleep better, this is the most common feedback we get about our classes which makes perfect sense!
  9. It allows you to relaxxxxxxxxxxx…
  10. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ………ok, you get the message right!

So, if you want so slow down, you have come to the right place, this is what we do and relaxation is pretty much guaranteed!  Sound good?  All you need to do is come along, I know it is hard in your “fast” life but join us for some “slow”, I promise you won’t regret it :)

Charley Hickey

Join our Beginners Yoga Classes in Applecross, Fremantle & Winthrop, Perth anytime!  Slowing you down is our specialty but if you’re not nearby, we have a great referral network so please don’t be afraid to ask!