Home » Can Shavasana Treat Sleep Deprivation? Study Says Yes!
woman lying in shavasana, legs wider on the floor and arms relaxed, eyes closed

Can Shavasana Treat Sleep Deprivation? Study Says Yes!

Even though you know that staying up all night is not advisable, there may be instances where it seems to be your only choice. By practicing shavasana, after an all-nighter, you can ensure that your heart stays strong for years to come.
woman working late into night feeling very tired

Imagine a situation where you pulled an all-nighter the day before to meet a crucial deadline. You couldn’t sleep a wink. On top of that, you didn’t have time for your usual morning walk. You asked your friend Lisa to take your dog out to the dog park, which you normally enjoy doing early in the morning. The entire morning went by in a buzz of busy meetings and discussions. By the time you found a moment to breathe, it was already lunchtime, and you were extremely hungry. To make up for the missed breakfast, you indulged in a large cheese pizza and a coke. Oh, and since the meeting went well, you treated yourself to a couple of Alfajores as well.

As you continued to work in the afternoon, you felt anxious and agitated, constantly craving salty and sweet treats throughout the evening. By the end of the day, you were worn out and drained, struggling to fall asleep at night.

The next morning, you woke up with a headache. You knew that your routine had been greatly disrupted, and something wasn’t right with your body. You decided to check your heart rate while still lying in bed. Psst, you blew a raspberry in frustration when you realized that it had gone up more than usual, a sign that your body was still under stress.

woman wakes up fresh in the morning feels happy and jubiliant

Now, let’s look at a different scenario. It’s Monday morning, and you wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested after a good night’s sleep. You feel the need to thank “Weightless” by Marconi Union, as you listened to it before bed. Feeling as fresh as a flower and ready to take on your day, your curiosity is piqued, and you decide to check your resting heart rate before getting out of bed. It shows a normal rate, and you have a sense of starting the day in a relaxed manner as it unfolds. You whistle and hum your favorite song as you get under the shower.

You choose to begin your day with a few minutes of cycling and a light breakfast. As you drive to the office, you notice that you have more energy and focus than usual. You go about your daily tasks, and during your lunch break, you even take a brisk walk. Despite having to deal with various stressors such as traffic, deadlines, and demanding colleagues, later in the evening, you decide to let go of all your worries and unwind with some gentle yoga and a warm bath. You fall asleep easily and sleep soundly through the night, waking up feeling rested and refreshed for another new day and a fresh start.

You may have experienced these two scenarios multiple times in your life. In both instances, we intentionally added the concept of checking your heart rate even before getting out of bed to emphasize the idea that your resting heart rate is a significant predictor in determining your mood and stress levels throughout the day. Now that the point has been made, let’s delve into how to monitor your heart rate at rest.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding your resting heart rate:

  1. Lay still when you are awake for around 5 minutes.
  2. To relax your body and ease your mind, take a few deep breaths.
  3. Place two fingers on your pulse, either on the inside of your wrist or just below your jawbone.
  4. How many beats are there in 15 seconds? Multiply that number by 4.
  5. That is your resting heart rate.

What is your resting heart rate trying to tell you?

For example, let’s say you had a poor night’s sleep and were stressed or worried the night before. Perhaps the next morning, when you check your resting heart rate, you might notice it is slightly higher than usual, around 70 beats per minute.

On the other hand, if during the previous day, week, or even the past couple of weeks, you consistently had nutritious meals, engaged in an hour of brisk walking, and enjoyed restful nights of sleep, you might observe a resting heart rate of 55 or 60 beats per minute.

Only if you prioritize aspects such as eating a nutritious diet, engaging in moderate exercise, and ensuring quality sleep, will your resting heart rate remain within normal limits or even slightly lower.

So, what can you do to improve your resting heart rate after an all-nighter?

One way to improve resting heart rate after an all-nighter and night shifts, is through the practice of relaxation techniques, such as Shavasana. Also known as the corpse pose, it’s a relaxation pose in yoga that involves lying flat on your back with your arms and legs extended and your eyes closed.

Here are a few guided Shavasana meditations that feature soothing music you might use as a remedy on nights when you struggle to sleep.

Relaxation doesn’t mean zoning out in front of the TV at the end of a long, hard day. If your hectic lifestyle has left you feeling down, this brief shavasana relaxation guided by Meisha can bring you back into balance in 15 minutes or less.

As the end of the day nears you change into pajamas eager to fall asleep, but now the thoughts begin to fly and your mind begins to wander in all directions. To prepare yourself for restful sleep, here’s a short shavasana relaxation led by Meisha, that can get you into more of a relaxed state, so you can get a good night’s rest.

According to studies, doing Shavasana on a daily basis might improve HRV and lower resting heart rate.

HRV stands for Heart Rate Variability. It’s a measure of the time difference between your heartbeats. Basically, it shows how well your heart can adapt to challenging situations. It’s a way to see how well your nervous system is working.

Imagine a situation when you’re stressed or feeling anxious, it feels like you’re compressing a spring, tightly winding it and making it ready to snap.

a spring in various levels of compression, from the tightly compressed spring to the most expanded spring

But when you’re feeling calm and relaxed, it’s like the spring is fully expanded, bouncing gently up and down. Since there’s no perceived threat in this resting state, there’s a drop in your resting heart rate and an increase in HRV.

Just as a spring can change between its compressed and expanded states, your body can also transition between tense and relaxed states.

Does HRV extend beyond stress management?

HRV isn’t just important for managing stress. Research has shown that high HRV means better immune function and improved overall health, while low HRV is connected with a kind of overload called Allostatic load.

What are the markers of an allostatic load?

High levels of stress hormones, ongoing inflammation, and oxidative stress are some of the markers of an allostatic load.


Every day, you are exposed to various environmental toxins and pollutants. For instance, cigarette smoke and air pollution can cause oxidative stress. When cigarette smoke is inhaled, it creates free radicals that can damage the lungs. Likewise, pollution from vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions can also produce free radicals that lead to oxidative stress in the body.

When your immune system is repeatedly triggered in response to these toxins, chronic inflammation spreads throughout your body. A high allostatic load is produced by the combination of stress, inflammation, and free radicals.

Allostatic overload, which is seen in situations of toxic stress, is the point at which the body experiences its peak wear and tear. For instance, substances released by belly fat speed heart vessel blockage and raise stroke risk. In the same manner high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke. On the other hand, a low allostatic load indicates a healthy, well-rested body that is capable of managing stress.

The good news is that there are simple solutions, like deep breathing exercises, that can help restore balance to your allostatic load and increase HRV.

In conclusion, monitor your resting heart rate and practice Shavasana to manage stress and improve your heart rate variability. By taking small steps to care for your body and mind, you can combat the effects of stress and environmental toxins and lead a healthier, happier life.

So why not take a deep breath, find your resting pulse, and start your journey to a healthier heart today?

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