5 Yoga Poses Everyone Should Do for Better Sleep
You’ve probably heard all of the sleep tips before. No TV or smartphone use right before bed. No caffeine after 3 pm. Try sipping chamomile tea, eating a banana...and the list goes on. But what about when you’ve tried it all before and you’re still losing sleep?
A national survey found that over 55% of people who practice yoga found that it helped them enjoy better sleep. Because it focuses on controlled breathing, removing tension from the body, and calming the mind, yoga is one of the best ways to prepare the body for an incredible night of rest.
There are several very restorative poses that you can practice at night to help send your body to the land of nod faster. You’ll want to hold each pose for about 3 to 5 minutes, so make sure to set aside enough time right before you go to bed. You don’t need to bust out the yoga mat; just find a quiet open space, grab a towel, and dim the lights. Tip: For extra comfort, use supportive props like a blanket, yoga block, or bolster.
This pose starts on your knees and involves hip flexion, so be extra careful if you have injuries or pain in those areas. Once you’re in the pose, close your eyes and breathe deeply.
- Kneel on the floor and bring your big toes together.
- Separate your knees so they are about as wide as your hips. Or, you can separate your knees so they are slightly wider than hip width.
- Lower your torso down onto your thighs.
- Relax your arms alongside your torso, so that they are pointed to the back of the room, palms facing up. This should release shoulder tension. As an alternate, reach your hands forward, palms down on the mat.
- Keep your forehead on the floor.
- Focus on your breathing. Take slow and steady breaths, in and out through your nose.
Legs Up the Wall
Start with a bolster, towel, or blanket placed about 5 to 6 inches away from a wall. Any of these props will act as a good support for your lower back during the pose.
- Lie on the floor on your back and put the back of your legs against a wall (keep your legs straight), so your body is in an L-shaped pose.
- Keep your feet relaxed (not flexed) and your arms comfortably resting at your sides, palms facing up.
Supine Spinal Twist
- Bring both knees into your chest.
- Bring your arms out into a ‘T’ with your hands in line with your shoulders, palms facing down, and let your knees fall over to one side. You can keep both knees bent, straighten the top leg, or straighten both legs.
- Switch knees over to the other side. If you’d like a neck stretch, take your gaze to the side opposite your knees.
- Lie on the ground on your back and bring both knees towards your chest.
- Grasp your two big toes with your fingers.
- Pull your heels up to the ceiling, keeping the tailbone down on the ground. Your knees should be moving towards your underarm area.
- Rock back and forth to massage the spine.
- Lie on the ground on your back.
- Press the bottoms of your feet against each other and let your knees fall out to the sides. If this feels too tense, place a pillow under each knee.
- Rest your arms at your sides.
Stretch for Better Sleep
Good sleep shows. But so does a night of restless tossing and turning. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body is at risk for a whole lot of problems, like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, brain fog, and, you guessed it, weight gain. A regular yoga practice may promote better sleep, as well as less pain and anxiety. Try these yoga poses tonight and you could wake up feeling like a brand new person by morning.
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