If you have ever woken up grumpy after a bad night’s sleep, experienced an energy crash of an afternoon or felt overwhelmed to the point where you cannot focus, then NSDR is for you.
NSDR, or No Sleep Deep Rest, is a technique used to help your body enter into a self-induced state of calmness; this process resets your body, reduces anxiety and enhances focus, leaving you feeling a whole lot better than you did beforehand – It’s kind of like taking a 20-minute nap, except you aren’t actually asleep.
We’re about to take a deep dive into NSDR, the different protocols and their benefits, so If you’re interested in learning more about NSDR and how you can utilise it to enhance your daily life, then stay with us.
What Is NSDR
What is (NSDR) Non-Sleep Deep Rest
NSDR is based on the idea of entering an altered state of consciousness, allowing your body and mind to relax deeply while still maintaining a level of awareness.
NSDR, or non-sleep deep rest, is a relatively new concept that is gaining traction in the scientific community. NSDR is based on the idea that it’s possible to get the benefits of sleep without actually sleeping. This can be done by entering a state of deep rest that is similar to sleep. NSDR has been shown to have many benefits, including improved mental clarity, reduced stress levels and increased creativity.
The term NSDR was developed by Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor in the department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Huberman says NSDR is an umbrella term for a variety of techniques, such as hypnosis and the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra, as they, along with NSDR scripts and protocols, achieve the same relaxed yet focused state.
He says NSDR is different from meditation, as meditation requires concentration and focus on achieving a state of clarity, whereas NSDR allows one to achieve deep relaxation without a whole lot of effort or focus.
One of the powerful things about NSDR that Huberman talks about is its ability to move humans into a different state of being. We can feel anxious and overwhelmed, and it takes hours for our nervous system to calm down and our brain to relax; however, by engaging in a quick 10 or 20-minute NSDR-guided protocol, you can move from that frantic, overwhelmed state to a state of calm and focus.
What Is NSDR
How does NSDR Work?
NSDR usually involves the use of NSDR protocols, which are designed to induce a state of relaxation by guiding your body through various mental exercises, such as breathwork, meditation and visualisation. NSDR is designed to lower your body’s internal anxiety levels by allowing your body to enter a state of deep rest while still maintaining consciousness and awareness. As your body relaxes and enters this deep rest state, it allows your brain and body to reset and recharge.
What Happens To The Brain During NSDR?
To better answer the question of what is NSDR, we need to understand what actually happens to your brain when you move through the process.
Stage One – Beta Stage
The beta brain wave state is the normal waking state of consciousness in which we are alert and able to focus on tasks. Active beta frequency waves are associated with logical, linear thinking, problem-solving, and concentration. They are produced by the left hemisphere of the brain when it is active and engaged in cognitive tasks.
Stage 2 Beta To Alpha Stage
When we close our eyes and start to relax are relaxed, and our minds are clear of distractions; we produce alpha brain waves, and the body is entirely relaxed, but we are still conscious. Alpha frequency is associated with creativity, intuition, and daydreaming. It is a very peaceful and positive state in which the mind is free to explore new ideas or even solve problems you might have been experiencing.
Stage 3 Alpha To Theta Stage
After 15-20 minutes, the brain transitions into theta brain wave state. This is a very special and unique state of mind. It’s a place where you can access deep levels of creativity, intuition, and inspiration, as well as connect with your subconscious mind and access information that’s hidden from view. Theta frequency is like a light sleep tapping into unconscious thoughts and experiencing very vivid dreams or memories.
You don’t feel as connected to your experiences in this stage; negative thoughts may come up, but you observe them without judgement. This is helpful for the mind because it can process past memories and events without feeling anxious or stressed.
Stage 4 Theta To Delta
The delta brain wave state is the deepest and most restful stage of sleep. It’s a time of healing when the body repairs and regenerates tissue, builds bone, muscle and blood cells, and consolidates memories. Delta frequency waves are also associated with deep relaxation, creativity, intuition, and spiritual experiences.
What Are Some Different Types Of NSDR
According to Dr Andrew Huberman, there are a few techniques or protocols we can use to enter a state of NSDR.
What Is NSDR – Protocol #1
Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, is an ancient practice of deep relaxation and meditation. The yoga Nidra NSDR protocol originated in India as far back as 300 B and gained extensive traction again in the 70s by Sanyasi and yoga guru Swami Satyananda. Yoga Nidra involves lying down in a comfortable position and using guided imagery, breathwork and body scanning to relax your body.
What Is NSDR – Protocol #2
Hypnotherapy is another NSDR technique where a trained professional uses verbal cues and visualisations to induce a state of deep relaxation. The aim of hypnotherapy is to help you access your unconscious and allow your mind, body and spirit to return to a balanced state.
.During this process, your mind becomes detached from external distractions while focusing on internal thoughts or concerns for an amount of time that can vary depending upon the practitioner’s purposes (from minutes to hours).
There are many similarities between Yoga Nidra and hypnotherapy; however, one significant difference is you are more likely to actually fall asleep during hypnosis or become some entranced that you don’t remember what happened during the experience. Where Yoga Nidra sends you into a meditative state or what some people call yoga sleep.
What Is NSDR – Protocol #3
NDSR Protocols or Scripts
There are some great guided NDSR scripts on youtube that you can utilise anytime, anywhere. Here is a link to my favourite; Dr Huberman himself reads it. This NSDR reading only goes for 10 minutes, so if you would like a longer video, you can try out this one by Madefor.
Furthermore, the science-backed App, Reveri, is another excellent tool that takes you through self-hypnosis sessions. Dr Huberman promotes this self-guided hypnosis app on his podcast and is an avid user of the app himself. The app has a 7-day free trial if you are interested in giving it a go.
What is NSDR – Understanding The Benefits
What Are The Benefits Of NSDR
Non sleep deep rest (NSDR) has been shown to have a variety of benefits, including:
– Improved mental clarity
– Reduced stress levels
– Increased creativity
– Enhanced focus
– Better sleep quality
Let’s look into the benefit a little closer and understand how we can best take advantage of NSDR.
What is NSDR – Understanding The Benefits #1
Improved Mental Clarity and Enhance Focus
NSDR has been shown to be beneficial for focus and concentration, and overall cognitive performance. I find Non-sleep deep rest works best for me when I hit that afternoon crash. I feel my energy levels slumping, I become distracted at work and find myself procrastinating my remaining tasks for the day.
When I engaged in a 20-minute NSDR protocol, I was amazed at how focused and energised I became afterwards. This is because NSDR allows you to achieve a state of relaxed focus, your body is relaxed, yet your mind is clear, which can be helpful for tasks that require your full attention.
What is NSDR – Understanding The Benefits #2
Reduce Stress Levels
NSDR is also great for reducing stress levels. When you engage in NSDR, it helps to reduce the ‘fight-or-flight’ response by calming the body and allowing it to enter a deep rest state. Non-sleep deep rest can help you to relax, reduce muscle tension and clear your mind of any stressful thoughts. Next time you find yourself in a heightened state of anxiety or stress, NSDR can be an effective way to gently restore balance and harmony in your body.
What is NSDR – Understanding The Benefits #3
The NSDR technique has been linked with boosts in creativity and problem-solving skills. By helping you enter a state of relaxed focus, NSDR is ideal for brainstorming and coming up with innovative solutions to problems. What’s more, the NSDR can help reduce stress levels that are often associated with creative thinking, giving you the freedom to explore different ideas without feeling overwhelmed.
As discussed earlier, as you enter through the Beta and Theta brain waves, your brain tapes into your unconscious; it becomes more open and free which gets the creative juices flowing.
What is NSDR – Understanding The Benefits #4
NSDR has been shown to improve memory. One study showed that Non sleep deep rest improved memory recall and recognition in healthy adults. NSDR has also been shown to improve cognitive function and memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. NSDR appears to improve memory by promoting sleep-dependent brain plasticity, or the ability of the brain to form new connections while asleep. This is important because sleep is essential for consolidating memories. NSDR may be a promising treatment for memory decline in aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
NSDR may also be beneficial for other conditions that involve memory loss or dysfunction, such as traumatic brain injury or schizophrenia. NSDR can help improve overall memory recall and recognition, as well as aid in the consolidation of new information.
What is NSDR – Understanding The Benefits #6
Improve Ability To Learn
NDSR is also a great tool to aid you in the learning process of any given task or topic you might be trying to understand.
In Andrew Huberman’s podcast, ‘the Huberman Lab podcast’, he claims that NSDR is vital to the learning process; this is because the strengthening of connections in the brain and the changes in the neurocircuits occur during Non sleep deep rest or periods of deep sleep. In other words, if you engage in NSDR an hour or a few hours after a period of intense learning, your brain is more likely to retain that information.
What is NSDR – Understanding The Benefits #6
How Does NSDR Help You Fall Asleep
As we now know, the goal of NSDR is to enter into a conscious state of relaxation and calm; achieving this stay helps clear your mind, loosen up your body and rest deeply. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like the perfect recipe to drift off into a deep sleep, and according to science, it is. When you enter into NSDR your brain waves slow down, and your thoughts can become calmer as your body enters a calmer state.
Additionally, the production of stress hormones (cortisol) decreases as the parasympathetic nervous system takes over. Making you feel nice and relaxed as you drift off to sleep.
What is NSDR
When And Where Should You Practice NSDR
NSDR can be practised anywhere and at any time. Whether you’re on the bus, train or at home, NSDR can be done anywhere. NSDR practice is particularly beneficial before bedtime as it helps to prepare your mind and body for sleep. NSDR can also be helpful during the day if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
What is NSDR
Practising NSDR has a plethora of cognitive and mood benefits. It can help you become more focused, relieve stress, increase creativity and improve memory. It can also aid the learning process and help you get quality sleep. If you’re looking for a way to improve your well-being and performance, give NSDR a try. You may be surprised at the results!
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