No Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR): A mindfulness-enhancing relaxation exercise

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No Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR): A mindfulness-enhancing relaxation exercise


No Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) is a simple meditation technique that does what the term suggests: You don’t actually sleep, but you do slow the flow of your thoughts and the echoes of your brain waves, plunging your mind and body into deep rest. This will improve your focus and bring about a better emotional balance. It’s a simple exercise you can do in between if you find the space. You can compare NSDR to yoga nidra because it uses specific relaxation and breathing techniques.

Also Read: What Makes Yoga So Healthy?


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The NSDR was introduced by Stanford neuroscientist and researcher Dr. Andrew Huberman. It is believed that practicing this technique allows your body to recover as much as you sleep. With a 45-minute NSDR session, you will rest as much as 3 hours of sleep. The NSDR will also enjoy the following benefits:
  • Focus will improve
  • It stimulates a better learning process
  • Promotes deep relaxation
  • To relieve symptoms of anxiety and stress
  • Reduces feelings of irritation and anger
  • It will provide better self-regulation and self-control

Also read: Psychology: A valuable treatment for stress

How does the NSDR work?

With NSDR technology, your brain waves will slow down, just like when you sleep. There are two phases in this process: a state of subjective rest, followed by a period of intense concentration. This process releases serotonin from your gut and activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

The brainwave frequency you achieve with an NSDR is usually only experienced while you are in deep sleep. It ensures that our bodies get the opportunity and space to really rest. During these periods of extremely low brain frequency, we have much lower levels of cortisol and norepinephrine, our bodies enter a parasympathetic state, and our motivation levels are at their lowest. As a result, we can rest more deeply, retain knowledge better and recover physically.

See also  How does exercise and diet affect our sleep?

Also read: 7 tips for falling asleep quickly

NSDR: relaxation exercise

You can practice NSDR by following a nidra yoga session, you can watch an accompanying YouTube video, listen to a podcast, or you can start on your own.

Find a quiet place where no one can disturb you. If necessary, use blankets, pillows, bolsters, or a yoga mat to get comfortable. You lie down with your eyes closed and try to relax. Focus your attention on your breathing. Take a few deep breaths in through the nose and exhale through the mouth. The exhalation should be twice as long as the inhalation. Be aware of your body and maybe imagine a calming scene. Your heart rate should now slow and your focus will increase.

In this video, Dr. Andrew Huberman himself explains how it works.

Also read: Breathing exercise against stress


Last updated: March 2023

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Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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