Guest Post By Mary Lee
Early morning yoga has excellent benefits. It helps you start your day refreshed and relaxed. You can get exercise done first thing and not have to worry about it later. And waking up early to do yoga can give you a sense of accomplishment to carry you into your day.
Although an early morning yoga routine is beneficial, it isn't always easy. Many people find it difficult to wake up early and get moving right away. And if you don't go to bed early enough, you may sacrifice sleep to do yoga in the morning, which is not a good idea.
Consider whether an early morning yoga routine is a good option for you.
Sleep in or Exercise?
Finding time to exercise can be particularly difficult, and if you're trying to squeeze yoga into your morning routine, you may be faced with the choice of getting enough sleep or getting exercise. If you have to choose, sleep is more important than exercise.
Your health suffers when you don't get enough exercise. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of injury, weakens the immune system, and doesn't allow your muscles to fully recover from exercise. Sleep deprivation is also associated with stress, weight gain, and serious health problems including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Although exercise can improve your health, it's never a good choice to cut your sleep time short in order to exercise. You should aim to get at least seven to seven and a half hours of sleep each night, then get up to exercise.
How to Make an Early Morning Yoga Routine Work
Although an early morning yoga routine isn't for everyone, there are ways to make it work if you're determined. Getting enough good, quality sleep is key.
Get to bed on time. The simplest way to make sure you can get enough sleep and still wake up early for a morning yoga routine is to get to bed early. Plan ahead and determine what time you'll need to get to bed so you can wake up when you need to, but still get seven to seven and half hours of sleep each night.
Practice good sleep hygiene. Simply being in bed for the adequate number of hours isn't enough to offer you the rest you need. You need to have quality sleep to make it count. Make sure you're practicing good sleep hygiene, keeping a regular sleep schedule, maintaining a consistent bedtime routine, and avoiding sleep pitfalls that can interfere with good sleep, such as drinking coffee or alcohol before bed, eating heavy meals, or doing vigorous exercise late at night.
Create a healthy sleep environment. Improve the quality of your sleep with a bedroom that's more conducive to rest. Keep your bedroom quiet, blocking out noise that can be disruptive. Make sure your bedroom is dark at night, using blackout curtains if necessary. Set your thermostat lower at night so you can sleep cool, and make sure you're sleeping on a comfortable mattress that's appropriate for your needs.
Get ready for yoga the night before. Make starting yoga in the morning just a few steps easier by getting prepared the night before. Set out your yoga mat and clothes so you won't have to worry about finding them in the morning before you get started.
Consider alternatives. If you can't make an early morning yoga routine work, don't. It's not for everyone. Identify another time in your day when you can do yoga, such as after breakfast, as soon as you get home from work, or as part of your bedtime routine.
About the author: Mary Lee is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She specializes in sleep's role in mental and physical health and wellness. Mary lives in Olympia, Washington and shares her full-sized bed with a very noisy cat.