The day has been long and demanding. All the “to-dos” that still need to be completed are causing your mind to race. And it seems quite unlikely that you will take off your shoes and begin to unwind for the evening.
In order to experience some much-needed mental and emotional respite, you are desperately searching for a means to press the “reset” button. Leaving for sleep land is undoubtedly a possibility. But have you ever tried profound relaxation without sleep? This strategy, also known as Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR), is rising in popularity for good reason. It’s a go-to option for people who want to refresh their bodies and minds without actually dozing off.
According to the Irish saying, “If you get tired, learn to rest.” And a wonderful method to do this is via Non-Sleep Deep Rest.
What is Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR)?
NSDR, a term introduced by Dr. Andrew Huberman, stands for “non-sleep deep rest.” According to the neurologist and host of the Huberman Lab podcast, it’s a catch-all phrase for several strategies to encourage improved brain and body function.
The techniques, which include those listed below, may already be known to you.
- Short, shallow nap,
- Lying quietly with your eyes closed, or
- Hypnosis following NSDR scripts.
- Yoga Nidra,
A potent instrument for controlling your nervous system’s state of relaxation and your general state of mind is non-sleep deep rest. The method, as its name implies, leaves you halfway between being awake and asleep. And this enables your body and mind to receive the rest and renewal they require.
In one of his podcast episodes, Dr. Huberman says, “It turns out one can recover some of the neuromodulators.” “And, perhaps even more importantly, the mechanisms underlying sensation, perception, emotion, thought, and action.”
He cites a study done at a university in Denmark that investigated the benefits of meditation for this. The striatum, which controls motor planning and execution, can be reset by neuromodulators like dopamine through NSDR, the researchers discovered, especially when Yoga Nidra-style meditation is practiced.
So why is this significant?
Think of your mind like a smartphone running a variety of programs all day. Both the performance and the battery are depleting. You might hold off till the phone is entirely powered down. To recharge it more quickly and improve its performance, though, connect it to a power bank for a rapid top-up.
Similar to that power bank is Non-Sleep Deep Rest. When you’re feeling worn out, it offers your mind the much-needed boost it needs without forcing you to fully relax or “power off” into sleep.
Also Read: What Is Polydipsia? 5 Causes of Polydipsia
Benefits of Non-Sleep Deep Rest
It would be an understatement to suggest that Non-Sleep Deep Rest has several advantages. You can take advantage of a variety of advantageous consequences by regularly putting any one of the approaches into practice, thereby enhancing your general well-being.
The following details how the NSDR protocol can be of assistance to you:
- Stress and anxiety are lessened. According to research, using mindfulness practices like Yoga Nidra and meditation can lower cortisol levels, which is the hormone that causes stress.
- It enhances learning and memory. Dr. Huberman advises that after learning something new, taking a break for NSDR—such as a quick nap or Yoga Nidra—can help you in two ways: strengthen your memory and help you comprehend the content. According to one study, even a brief snooze of six minutes can improve your memory for information.
- It improves concentration and focus. An eight-week mindfulness meditation practice reportedly helped participants significantly improve their attention and cognitive function, according to a 2010 study.
- It boosts emotional toughness. According to a 2012 study, when you let your body and mind experience profound relaxation, you’re better equipped to handle stress and emotional difficulties.
It enhances the quality of sleep. Even though Non-Sleep Deep Rest doesn’t exactly take the place of a full night’s sleep, it can help you make the most of your downtime and promote healthier sleep in the long run. For instance, a study discovered that yoga can improve your sleep and lessen the effects of insomnia.
Adding NSDR to your daily routine, whatever of the form you prefer, can drastically improve your mental and emotional health.
Methods for Non-Sleep Deep Rest
Life is like riding on a roller coaster; it occasionally experiences exhilarating highs and vertiginous lows. And occasionally all you need is to take a brief break from the journey to collect your breath. Your pause button is NSDR. It gives you the break you need from the never-ending maelstrom and enables you to rejuvenate in your own peaceful haven.
So how do you go about doing NSDR? There are other strategies, however the following are the three most effective ones:
There is no one correct method for practicing meditation. Instead, there are various forms. Dr. Huberman asserts that there are distinctions between conventional meditation and NSDR meditation.
Traditionally practiced meditation can be thought of as “directly tapping into and mediating improvements in the circuitry for focus and concentration,” as Dr. Huberman says. He continues, saying that Non-Sleep Deep Rest meditation focuses more on “modulating your brain and body state to allow you to focus and concentrate better.”
Here is how they compare side by side:
|Traditional Meditation||NDSR Meditation|
|A technique that involves introspection to hone focus and awareness.||A deep condition of relaxation and repose, but not sleep.|
|Gain emotional stability and mental clarity.||Revitalize your body and mind.|
|Focuses consistently when distracted on breathing, a concept, or a specific object.||Defocusing and entering a deeply relaxed state between wakefulness and sleep|
|Mindfulness, concentration, loving-kindness, and so on.||Yoga Nidra, hypnosis, NSDR scripts, dynamic meditation, and so on.|
2. Yoga Nidra
Don’t be intimidated by the sophisticated name “Yoga Nidra”; it only means “yoga sleep.” In essence, this mindfulness exercise is like a power sleep for your body and mind—without the real napping. Research demonstrates the effectiveness of yoga nidra. According to one study in particular, it helps:
- Decrease post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and sleeplessness
- Physiologic conditions include hormone imbalance and psychosomatic illnesses
- Infections, migraines, and non-communicable diseases all cause pain.
For roughly 10 to 60 minutes, you simply lie down while listening to a calming audio script that leads you through a body assessment and deep breathing exercises. Imagine it as though you were being guided through a delightful, healing experience by a personal relaxation coach.
3. Hypnosis with NSDR scripts
Let’s start by defining hypnosis. It’s a special mental state in which you are equally intensely concentrated and extremely calm. A number of ailments, including stress and anxiety, have been demonstrated to benefit from this technique. According to the findings of a 2014 study, hypnosis may be a helpful therapy for managing chronic pain.
The NDSR scripts are currently guided audio scripts made to assist you in entering a deep state of non-sleep rest. It’s like receiving a software upgrade that makes your brain function more smoothly and effectively when combined with hypnosis. All without contacting the IT professional.
Where are NDSR scripts available? According to Dr. Huberman, on YouTube. “One that I particularly like is NSDR Made For.”
How might NSDR Aid with Sleep?
There are a few areas where NSDR can be helpful in terms of sleep:
- Increases your capacity for sleep,
- Perhaps makes up for missing sleep,
- Enhances your capacity to get to sleep at night and stay asleep,
- During the day, deliver restorative advantages and
- Resets your capacity to pay attention and stay alert.
It’s crucial to understand that NSDR does not serve as a substitute for sleep. However, it’s a good alternative “to restore your ability to focus and concentrate for whatever purpose,” as Dr. Huberman advises, when you’re unable to control your sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may now be eager to learn more about non-sleep deep rest. Explore these commonly asked questions to dispel some common misunderstandings and quickly get to the status of true NSDR expert.
Is NSDR the same as meditation?
No, they are not equivalent. As previously noted, NDSR is a tool to aid in relaxation and better sleep. Defocusing is required in order to unwind your body and mind. On the other hand, meditation is a technique for improving focus and attention. You have to deliberately concentrate on your breathing while avoiding outside distractions.
What purposes may NSDR serve?
The list of applications is lengthy. According to Dr. Huberman, NSDR is primarily a technique for "improving your ability to sleep and it's a tool that you can use to at least partially make up for lost sleep when you need to focus and concentrate." Additionally, it can help you feel more emotionally stable and make it simpler for you to sleep at night. The nicest part about it all is that it can all be completed using the NDSR protocol for nothing.
Is NSD as beneficial as sleep?
Yoga Nidra, which translates to "yogic sleep" in Sanskrit, is regarded as a centuries-old technique. Even at work, a 10-minute NSDR can be just as beneficial and restorative as sleeping.
Does NSDR wake you up?
NSDR is comparable to hypnosis as well as the contemplative yoga practice known as yoga nidra. But because you don't fall asleep, it's different from meditation done before bed. Your ability to be more alert, attentive, and rested following a brief midday respite is NSDR's superpower.