Skip to content Skip to footer

What is NSDR and should you do it?

With life busier than ever many of us are searching for quick, easy and cheap ways to rest and rejuvenate without heading back to bed. Non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) has emerged as a popular and powerful “bio-hack” to return balance to your day by reducing stress and anxiety whilst boosting mood and energy. But what exactly is NSDR, how does it work, and how do you do it? Here’s what you need to know to optimise your health and wellbeing in just five minutes a day

In our fast-paced, high-stress world, finding effective ways to rest and rejuvenate is more important than ever. Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) has emerged as a widespread practice that promises to provide profound relaxation and numerous health benefits without the need for traditional sleep.

Championed by scientist-turned-podcaster Dr Andrew Huberman and other academic influencers, NDSR is gaining popularity not just among athletes or bio-hackers but with anyone looking for low-cost ways to enhance their mental clarity, reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

But what exactly is NSDR, and how does it differ from a good night’s sleep? Here’s what you need to know to discover whether you want to add NSDR to your daily health and wellbeing routine and, if so, how to do so effectively to maximise the physical and mental health benefits.

What is NSDR?

Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) refers to a set of practices designed to bring about a state of profound relaxation and recovery like you get when you sleep, but without falling asleep. It encompasses techniques such as yoga nidra and certain types of guided meditation that allow the body and mind to enter a state of deep rest. NSDR aims to help individuals achieve restorative rest, reduce stress and enhance mental clarity.

How does non-sleep deep rest differ from traditional sleep?

It differs from traditional sleep in that it does not involve the full sleep cycles that occur during normal sleep. Instead, NSDR focuses on inducing a state of deep relaxation while remaining consciously aware. This allows the body to recover and rejuvenate without the need for prolonged sleep. Unlike traditional sleep, NSDR can be practiced at any time of the day to quickly alleviate fatigue and restore energy levels.

What are the benefits of NSDR?

Practicing NSDR offers numerous benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, improved cognitive function and enhanced emotional well-being.

NSDR techniques like yoga nidra can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation, according to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. NSDR has also been shown to improve focus, memory and overall mental clarity.

How do I do NSDR?

Find a quiet and comfortable space where you won’t be disturbed. Lie down or sit in a comfortable position and follow a guided NSDR session, which typically includes deep breathing exercises, body scans, and visualisation techniques. Many guided NSDR sessions are available online through apps and websites dedicated to mindfulness and relaxation.

How often should I do NSDR to see benefits?

For optimal benefits, it is recommended to practice NSDR regularly, ideally daily or several times a week. Consistency is key to experiencing the full range of mental health benefits. Even short sessions of 5 to 10 minutes can be effective when practiced consistently.

What methods are used in non-sleep deep rest?

Techniques include yoga nidra, guided meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises. These methods focus on bringing the body into a state of deep relaxation while maintaining conscious awareness. Techniques often involve a combination of body scans, breathwork and visualisation to achieve a profound sense of rest and rejuvenation.

Can non-sleep deep rest help improve cognitive function and mental clarity?

Yes, practices such as yoga nidra and guided meditation can enhance memory and executive function, according to the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement. And by reducing mental fatigue and promoting relaxation, it helps clear the mind and improve focus and concentration.

How does NSDR lower stress and anxiety levels?

It significantly reduces stress and anxiety levels by activating the body’s relaxation response. Techniques including deep breathing and body scans can lower cortisol levels and promote a deep sense of calm.

Is NSDR suitable for people with sleep disorders?

Non-sleep deep rest is suitable for most people, including those suffering with sleep disorders. It provides an alternative method of achieving rest and relaxation without the need for traditional sleep. For individuals with insomnia or other sleep disorders, non-sleep deep rest can offer a valuable way to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. However, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new relaxation practice, especially if you have a medical condition.

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to know the latest updates

[yikes-mailchimp form="1"]