Our lives can be hectic; full of constant demands, notifications, and unattainable ‘norms’ we often struggle to reach. It’s a society that glorifies constant ‘doing’ and productivity, and yet we find ourselves wondering why we’ve got chronic stress, gut issues, or high blood pressure. Finding moments of profound rest is actually crucial for overall well-being. And Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) is one of the best ways to incorporate down-time into your days.
NSDR is a modern term for yoga nidra and nidra-like practices. It’s a practice that takes you into a state between sleeping and waking, which allows the body to get the benefits of sleep in a shorter period of time. It’s even been lauded as “vital for learning”, and who doesn’t need more learning in their day?
What is NSDR?
The term Non-Sleep Deep Rest was coined by Dr Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist at Stanford University. It’s basically a modern name for the ancient practice of yoga nidra, bringing traditional yogic practices into modern day without alienating non-yogis (at least, that’s my theory as to why he decided to rename this practice).
Put simply, this practice involves getting as comfortable as humanly possible whilst listening to a guided meditation of sorts; one that calms and soothes your way into this place between awake and sleep.
The benefits of NSDR
1. Stress Reduction. Engaging in NSDR practices reduces stress hormones, promoting a more relaxed and balanced mental state.
2. Improved Cognitive Function. Regular deep rest enhances cognitive function, including improved focus, memory, and problem-solving skills. Even practicing “one, two, four or even more hours after learning is sufficient in reconfiguring and strengthening neural connections.”
3. Enhanced Creativity. Deep rest provides the mind with the space it needs for creative thinking and problem-solving, fostering innovation.
4. Boosted Immune System. Adequate rest, even in the absence of sleep, supports the immune system, helping the body defend against illnesses.
5. Emotional Well-being. NSDR contributes to emotional well-being by reducing anxiety and promoting a positive mood.
In a world that glorifies constant productivity and busyness, recognising the importance of rest and incorporating a practice like Non-Sleep Deep Rest is crucial for maintaining our well-being. If your focus is on mental health, creativity, stress reduction, even gut health, NSDR or yoga nidra is the practice for you. By incorporating these practices into our routines, we can really tap into the power of rest, and who knows the magic this will bring into our lives.