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7 Yoga Poses for Better Sleep

sleep yoga poses
Foto: Colourbox.de

Yoga before bedtime sounds like a good idea, but what if you're exhausted? Relax, because we've got all of the best sleep yoga poses you could possibly need for better sleep right here. 

Benefits of Night-time Yoga – A Better Night’s Sleep 

Our nightly rituals have evolved significantly, and perhaps not for the better. For most of us, a book and an hour of television used to be our evening routine before counting sheep. Now we’re staying up late replying to messages, checking social media, and watching the latest riveting dramas that everyone’s talking about. 

In many ways, technology, the internet, and the infinite influx of information have made it effortless to be endlessly entertained, however, it has also made it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. This is where the benefits of night-time sleep yoga poses come in. 

Some of the reported benefits of a bedtime yoga practice include: 

  • May Help Relieve Insomnia – Yoga practice regularly may be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of sleeplessness and boosting the quality of your slumbers. Yoga and other mind-body therapies like meditation have been shown in studies to help reduce insomnia and improve sleep quality. 
  • Improves Sleep Quality – Yoga had a favorable impact on the quality of sleep and the overall quality of life of those who practiced it, compared to those who don’t, as some research suggests. 
  • Promotes Relief and Relaxation – The relaxation response is a term used to describe the effect of soothing yoga postures on one’s state of mind. Cortisol and blood pressure can be reduced as a result. Weight gain, sleepiness, and worry may all be soothed with the help of sleep yoga poses. 
  • Increased Possibility of Weight Loss –  A regular yoga practice has been connected to weight loss and better sleep. Practicing yoga before bed can help you sleep better, which is beneficial to your mental well-being in and of itself. This can lead to a positive outlook on your general habits, such as weight control, good eating, sleep patterns, physical balance, and flexibility. 

Before You Begin 

While it can be sometimes difficult to maintain, a 30-minute digital detox before bed has bountiful benefits for our bodies and minds. By choosing to do some light yoga before bed, you prepare your body better for sleep. 

The best course of action is to avoid soft positions if you find that they excite your mind or body to the point where they keep you awake. Gentle stretching will be required for each of these relieving sleep yoga poses. Slowly and steadily inhale and exhale your lungs.

Instead of rushing from one position to the next, move slowly between them. With that being said, here are some of the finest yoga postures for a good night’s sleep. 

1. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
(Foto: Colourbox.de / Aleksandr)

Luckily, the first of these sleep yoga poses can be performed with the use of a blanket or block. It involves elevating and lowering your sacrum, which is the flat triangle-shaped bone found at the bottom lower back. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to getting started. 

  1. The first step is simple, lie on your back. Make sure to lie down with your knees bet, and your feet a hip-width distance apart in the front. 
  2. Elevate your pelvis and take a deep inhale. Make sure your sacrum is supported. 
  3. Keep your arms and elbows at a 90-degree angle as you raise your heart. Your back should be able to relax as your chest expands. 
  4. Exhale and allow your lower back to sink into your mat/blanket/booster block’ as you bring your hips down. 

        Don’t be afraid to rearrange your hips if they are too close to the block. This position should be held for between 10 and 15 breaths or roughly a minute. It all depends on how long you can hold it.  

          2.Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)

          Viparita Karani is perfect after a busy day running around.
          Viparita Karani is perfect after a busy day running around.
          (Foto: Colourbox.de / Mariakray)

            This is another excellent yoga pose for better sleep where you may rest your hips on a cushion or bolster. This is a perfect pre-bedtime stretch after a hard day on your feet. To make this position more challenging, bring the soles of your feet together or extend your legs wider. To get started, simply: 

            1. Lie down and assume a position in which your right side is close to a wall.  
            2. Swing your legs around until they are both against the wall.
            3. Pull your hips close to the wall as you inhale. Make sure that this is comfortable for your body. 
            4. Breathe in and out, and focus on releasing any tension you feel in your body. 
            5. Hold this stance for five minutes or as long as you can. 

                  3. Balasana (Wide-Knee Child’s Pose)

                  Balasana is an easy and relaxing yoga pose for sleep.
                  Balasana is an easy and relaxing yoga pose for sleep.
                  (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / StockSnap)

                    If your mind is whirring and you’re unable to sleep, this yoga pose will aid you immensely. The wide-knee yoga stance, one of the most popular yoga positions, is a perfect sleep yoga pose for those who need some well-deserved shut-eye.  

                    Before you begin, you can place a cushion or pad under your head and thighs if required to help you relax. Here’s what to do next: 

                    1. Keeping your sit bones and heels together while extending and stretching your hips, gently fold forward to lie on the pillow with your head shifted to one side. 
                    2. As you sink into the pillow, try to let go of any lingering thoughts that may be weighing you down. 
                    3. Keep your head in this position for 10 to 15 breaths, then switch to the other side. It’s okay if you nod off before completing the second side. 

                        4. Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby)

                        Known for its funny name, the Happy Baby yoga pose will help your body prepare for sleeping.
                        Known for its funny name, the Happy Baby yoga pose will help your body prepare for sleeping.
                        (Foto: Colourbox.de / Aleksandr)

                        Besides its undeniably adorable name, the Happy Baby sleep yoga pose is a wonderfully relaxing yoga posture for novices seeking out a peaceful night’s sleep. This pose lets you mimic a happy infant by holding your feet or ankles in the air while maintaining a relaxed posture.  

                        The stress-relieving nature of this lower back stretch will help you release whatever tension you’ve been carrying around with you throughout the day. 

                        1. Make the posture as comfortable as possible for yourself by using straps if you can’t reach your ankles. 
                        2. As you bring your knees back toward your chest, place your hands on the outside of your feet. 
                        3. Extend your legs a little more and widen your knees so that your elbows lie inside your thighs.  
                        4. Allow your arms hands to stretch out and feel relief. 
                        5. Any tension in the lower back can also be availed by doing some simple side-to-side or forward-to-back rolling. 
                        6. Allow yourself to inhale and exhale for a total of 10 to 15 breaths. 

                                5. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

                                Seated Forward Bend is a great stretch to help you relax before sleeping.
                                Seated Forward Bend is a great stretch to help you relax before sleeping.
                                (Foto: Colourbox.de / Aleksandr)

                                This yoga position for sleep extends your back all the way up to your spine right up to your neck. Paschimottanasana is one of many sleep yoga poses that improves and becomes more useful with consistent practice. Here’s how to do it: 

                                1. Sit up straight on the edge of a folded blanket, your legs spread out in front of you. 
                                2. Fold forward, exhaling and lengthening your spine as far as it will go. Be careful not to overdo it. 
                                3. Hold onto your feet or shins with your elbows bent and arms relaxed, while maintaining your spine’s lengthening position. 
                                4. If you like place a brick between your brows to rest your forehead on. 
                                5. Maintain your position for 10–15 breaths. 

                                          6. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Butterfly Pose)

                                          Supta Baddha Konasana will help ease tension in your hips.
                                          Supta Baddha Konasana will help ease tension in your hips.
                                          (Foto: Colourbox.de / Koldunov)

                                            This calming restorative position soothes the neurological system and aids in the alleviation of stress and anxiety. Place cushions or blocks under your knees for extra support if desired.  

                                            1. To begin, sit comfortably and press the soles of your feet together. It’s crucial to keep your knees open to the side. 
                                            2. Place your legs in a crossed position on your back. 
                                            3. Place your hands in a posture that feels right to you. 
                                            4. Take deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling for up to five minutes whilst holding this posture 
                                            5. If you like, you can also ask a partner to spot you whilst you’re undertaking this great stretch. Ask them to gently push down on your knees whilst you focus on your breathing patterns. 

                                                  7. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

                                                  Despite its slightly macabre name, the savasana pose is perhaps the single most relaxing yoga pose.
                                                  Despite its slightly macabre name, the savasana pose is perhaps the single most relaxing yoga pose.
                                                  (Foto: Colourbox.de / Aleksandr)

                                                  An indispensable part of any yoga practice, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned yogi. In yoga, savasana is the final pose that seals up every practice. To produce a state of relaxation, this position is best used just before going to sleep.  

                                                  Since it is so simple, it can even be done in bed, taking you one step closer to a peaceful night’s sleep. Here’s how to do it: 

                                                  1. Lie down on your back, allowing your legs and arms to fall naturally to your sides. 
                                                  2. If you’d like, bring a pillow, or other bolsters beneath your knees and a folded blanket beneath your head. 
                                                  3. Lay down on your yoga mat and allow the weight of your body to sink into it.  
                                                  4. Press your shoulder blades together and allow your concentration to rest on your breath. 
                                                  5. Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly, letting all of your tension melt away. 
                                                  6. You can stay in the stance for as long as you choose. 

                                                            For more information about different yoga poses and what they’re good for, visit YogaJournal.com.

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