Imagine that you had a long, stressful day and all you want to do is curl up under the covers in your bed and drift away into sleep. There’s one problem: the minute you get into bed, you are no longer tired. As you lay there, attempting to find a comfortable sleeping position, thoughts race through your mind and the inability to fall asleep becomes an aggravating reality that prevents you from enjoying sound sleep.
Unfortunately, a large number of people around the world suffer from insomnia or poor sleep patterns. Due to blue light exposure throughout the day and before bed, the mind gets tricked into thinking that it should be awake, making it difficult to fall asleep. Some people think that watching videos on their phones helps them fall asleep, but research has shown that yoga is one of the most beneficial practices to promote sounder sleep.
How Does Yoga Help Before Bedtime?
Yoga has long since been used as a calming technique that focuses on breath and unwinding the mind. The idea behind following your breath through the various poses is to quiet the inner chatter and enter a more peaceful, relaxed state of mind. The following yoga poses may be beneficial to assist insomnia patients with developing healthy sleep patterns.
Kneel down on your yoga mat with your knees hip-distance apart. Slowly sink your butt onto your calves and gently fold over your knees, placing your forehead on the mat and extending your arms out in front of you. Try to relax the muscles in your body and focus on breathing deeply, elongating your breath. The deep breathing helps to relax the mind and prepare you for bed.
Legs Up The Wall Pose
To begin this pose, lie down on your back near a wall and slide your buttocks up against the base of the wall. Extend your legs up the wall so that the backs of your heels are touching the wall. Place your arms out to the sides for support and just relax in this pose for at least two minutes, allowing the sensations to run through the body. This pose also promotes healthier circulation in your legs.
Reclining Spinal Twist
From the legs up the wall pose, slide your legs down the wall and lie flat on your back, arms extended out the sides. Bring your right knee up to your chest and use your hands to pull it into your chest for a few breaths. Place your arms back out to the sides and slowly relax your right knee over to the left side of the body. Let your knee touch the ground and try to keep your shoulders on the ground, chest facing the ceiling. Hold this pose for two minutes and then repeat with the other leg.
Happy Baby Pose
Lay flat on your back and draw your knees into your chest, hugging them for a few breaths. Keeping your knees bent, lift your feet towards the ceiling and reach up to grab the outsides of your feet with your hands. If you cannot do this, try to hook your index fingers around your big toes. Widen your legs so that the knees are outside your hips. Using your hands, try to pull your knees toward the ground. If you feel like gently rocking back and forth, this can help relieve tension in the lower back. Remain here for two minutes.
If ever there was a yoga pose to prepare you for sleep, it is this pose. Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides, palms facing up. Allow your feet to fall out to the sides so they can relax and keep your legs hip-distance apart. The goal of this pose is to relax everything, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. Focus on your breath and remain in this pose for six minutes, or as long as you need to.