Sleeping disorders and insomnia are often side effects of a poor lifestyle. Of course, there may be more serious health reasons for sleep deprivation. But most often, physical and mental stress, thoughts about work or household chores interfere with falling asleep.
In this case, special asanas (exercises) can help, as they aid in relaxing muscles and distract from specific tasks and problems. Yoga, which you can easily practice at home, will help correct the situation and restore calm and sound sleep. In this article, you will learn how to do yoga to help you sleep better and positively impact your overall health. So grab your best cooling towel, and let’s dive in!
What is so special about yoga poses for sleep?
Evening yoga differs from an ordinary one. All yoga asanas before bedtime aim to calm the central nervous system after a busy day and help to disconnect from daytime stress.
Long sedentary duties, monotony, improper workplace organization, a long journey in traffic jams can cause fatigue. Therefore, your body and mind need rest every night before going to bed.
A special set of sleep yoga asanas can help relieve stress, calm thoughts, distract from daily worries, and improve sleep quality. These exercises are recommended to be performed without muscle tension. The main task of yoga before bed is to make the mind relax, let go of negative emotions, and forget about bad events.
Related: Yoga asanas for beginners
How to prepare for sleep yoga?
To maximize the effect, it is essential to follow simple rules:
- Choose the right time for your evening sessions. 10-11 pm is a good time to go to bed. During these hours, it is more convenient to rebuild “biological rhythms.”
- Comfort as part of therapy. Take care not to be distracted by sounds during your evening yoga. You can organize a meditative environment, light candles, provide silence and get a couple of sleep yoga pillows. You can play calm, quiet yoga sleep music.
- Your stomach doesn’t have to be full. Many of us know that the last meal should take place 2-3 hours before bedtime. The same is true with exercise. For our body to be comfortable doing the asanas, it is better not to start the evening yoga practice earlier than an hour after dinner.
- Ventilate the room before starting. Doing yoga for relaxation and sleep in a stuffy room is bad for your health. Breathing with increased carbon dioxide levels will have the opposite effect. By the way, sleeping in a stuffy room is also harmful to your productivity and health.
A Set of bedtime yoga to help you sleep
Below we describe a set of sleep yoga asanas that will help your body relax and plunge into sound sleep without hindrance. Remember that breathing is the main therapeutic aspect of yoga. During each exercise, your goal is to focus on yoga breathing for sleep so that you can feel yourself.
Lotus pose (Padmasana)
When starting to practice, the first thing to do is to completely relax the mind. You can distract from obsessive thoughts with the help of one of the fundamental asanas – the lotus pose.
For this exercise, sit on the floor (you can use a yoga mat) or cross-legged on a hard mattress. If you find it difficult to keep your back straight, lean against the wall or headboard. The pose should not cause discomfort in the body and muscles.
Close your eyes and devote a few minutes to your breathing; concentrate on inhaling and exhaling. Breathing for the asana’s correct performance must be balanced, only through the nose. To even out your breathing, try to spend at least 4 seconds inhaling and exhaling, and make a short pause between them.
Half Spinal Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
From the lotus position, smoothly place the right leg behind the left knee, turn the body to the right. Put the left hand on the right leg, trying to open the body as much as possible. Turn the head toward the right hand. Then smoothly return to the starting position and repeat the same in the other direction, changing the arms and legs’ position according to the asana.
This sleep yoga exercise helps your long back muscles relax after a long day at work.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
To perform this asana, you should sit up straight, straighten your legs in front of you, keep your back straight, and straighten your arms along the body. Then take a deep breath while lifting your arms through the sides and stretching your spine. As you exhale, slowly lower the body to your feet. It is essential to aim for the legs with your abdomen, not your shoulders.
You should linger for 4 seconds and slowly return to the starting position.
This exercise helps relieve stress and internal tension and clear the mind of negative thoughts.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This sleep yoga asana will help relieve fatigue and relax muscles necessary for sound sleep. Sit on your knees, hips, and feet together to do this exercise. Lean your body forward so that your forehead touches the floor. Place your hands in front of your body, palms down, or put them alongside your body, palms up. Close your eyes, and for a few minutes, fix the posture and concentrate on the breathing cycles.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Savasana is the final asana in sleep yoga practice. Among the masters, this pose is known as the “nap asana,” as it helps to restore strength after more difficult exercises and contributes to the final relaxation of the body and mind.
Lie down on the floor with feet shoulder-width apart, hands lie along the body and slightly apart, palms to the floor, eyes closed. Try to “disconnect” from thoughts of everyday life, concentrate on breathing, feel the body, try to relax every muscle, feel lightness in your arms, legs, back, neck, etc. You need to stay in this position for 10-15 minutes, letting go of all the negativity and tension.
To finish Savasana, first slowly wiggle your fingers, then your feet. Without opening your eyes, roll onto your side. Then rise and sit with your head down. You need to take a deep breath and open your eyes in this position. Now you can get up.
To spend the next day well, you need at least a good night’s sleep and a good mood. If you can’t sleep, you need to do some relaxing yoga for better sleep to help your body get enough rest. By exercising before bed, you can quickly get rid of insomnia. Performing this set of exercises in the evening can help you reduce your time falling asleep, guarantee a healthy rest, and strengthen your muscles.
Have you practiced yoga for better sleep? Please share your yoga before sleep experience in the comments below.
Hey everyone, it’s Coach Alisa Weaver 🙂
Teaching and coaching is my passion and career choice. I find great satisfaction to see others achieve their goals, whether it is recovery from injury or surgery, strengthening the body for competition, or just becoming fit.
I think that anyone can improve their fitness level no matter what their physical condition may be. By pushing yourself, discipline, not giving up together we can make your goals happen.