Veterans Find Solace, Help With Sleeping Through Yogic Breathing Exercises

For countless U.S. veterans, the reward for serving their country is a lifetime of debilitating disabilities and disorders — and one of the most prominent is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A 2012 RAND Corp. study found that approximately 20% of veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq now suffer from PTSD. However, there may be hope for these veterans — as a recent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has revealed.

According to a September 12 CBS News article, the study, conducted by the university’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, examined the impact of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga on a group of 21 veterans. The yoga proved to lower the veterans’ levels of anxiety and respiration rates, and resulted in an overall reduction in their display of PTSD symptoms such as hyper-arousal.

Sudarshan Kriya Yoga is a form of yoga that focuses on controlled breathing in order to affect the autonomic nervous system. According to CBS News, this form of yogic breathing had previously been proven to alleviate PTSD symptoms among tsunami survivors.

In addition to these yogic breathing exercises, PTSD can also be alleviated by simply getting a good night’s rest, something that evades many veterans.

Seven to nine hours of sleep every night are recommended by the National Sleep Foundation — and when the military allows as little as four hours a night, not getting enough rest can become habitual and enhance the negative symptoms of PTSD. In fact, the breathing exercises performed during Sudarshan Kriya Yoga may also be used to get to sleep easier.

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