Help your counselling patients get better sleep with this counterintuitive homework assignment: gentle movement. We know assigning homework is beneficial in client results and goal achievement, but some clients just don’t take well to sitting still. Meeting your client where they are can make all the difference in their results. Let’s talk about how to help restless clients get more sleep with gentle yoga.
The benefits of yoga for sleep
Yoga doesn’t have to be an hour-long intense practice. Studies have found that exercise can improve sleep for most, and yoga specifically helped older adults improve their quality of sleep. And the mindfulness practice, breathwork, and thought awareness allows clients to wind down and quiet their mind before bed.
Gentle yoga for sleep:
- Yoga Nidra: The state of consciousness between waking and sleeping. Nidra is a deeply relaxing practice that requires little to no movement — making it one of the best for clients to start with.
- Hatha Yoga: This is what most people think of when they think ‘yoga’ — flowing through different poses, and holding them for a good stretch.
- Yin Yoga: This practice runs at a slower pace. Holding poses for longer allows for deeper muscle stretching
How to successfully assign movement homework
In order to reap the benefits, clients have to engage with the practice. So how can we get them started effectively?
- Create the habit: The goal is to make this a nightly habit for consistently better sleep. Get clients to start slowly with just a few minutes or poses per night. Once they’re comfortable, set a plan to work up to more.
- Encourage a relaxing environment: It’s tough to relax in a stressful environment, so encourage clients to practice sleep hygiene: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene
- Check-in often: Touch base with your clients to see how their routine is going, and if adjustments need to be made.
Use a digital homework app to build routines faster
It’s all too easy for clients to forget their homework as soon as they leave their session. Keep it top of mind with a digital homework app like Therachat. The app sits right on client’s own devices for the ultimate accessibility. From there, you can communicate with your clients, check-in between sessions, and offer positive reminders to stick to the new routine. More frequent check-ins allow clients to build the routine faster, and in turn, feel better faster. Learn more about Therachat for clinicians.
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