5 Yoga Poses for a Better Night’s Sleep

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After a long, stressful day, it can be challenging to relax in the evening, and you may still feel too revved up at bedtime. While some people turn to a glass of wine (or two) to unwind, that can actually make it harder to get restful sleep.

A vigorous workout can help ease stress, but if done too close to bedtime, you may have some trouble falling asleep. Although some styles of yoga (like Vinyasa) can be considered vigorous and should be avoided before bedtime, practicing a few gentle, relaxation-inducing postures, along with deep breathing, can help ready you for a good night’s sleep.

Keep a yoga mat rolled up by your bed and spend about 20 minutes before bed performing these 10 poses.

1. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

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  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and fold forward at your hips, reaching your fingertips toward the ground.
  2. Keep a slight bend in your legs and rest your ribs on your thighs.
  3. Bend both arms at the elbows and grab your elbows with the opposite hand, letting your upper body completely relax.
  4. Next, using your fingertips to gently “brush off” the back of your head. “Manually remove the residue, the big stress of your day from your body. It’s almost as if you could brush off the energy all around you.”

2. Plow Pose (Halasana)

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  1. To get into this somewhat more advanced posture, lie on your back and bring your legs up and over your torso so that you can grab your feet or calves.
  2. Lower your feet as close to the floor behind you as you can and extend your arms in the opposite direction along the ground.

3. Lotus Pose With Deep Breathing (Padmasana)

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Although not considered a physical posture itself, breathwork is a key factor in calming the brain and body. “To stabilize and strengthen the nervous system, I like to focus on the simple in and outflow of the breath,” says Laurence Lisa Lebreton, a certified yoga teacher, and holistic medicine practitioner.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position (like Lotus pose, pictured above).
  2. Breathe in and out through your nostrils up to 25 times, lengthening the exhalation as much as possible.

4. Extended Corpse Pose (Savasana)

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Many people hold tension in the upper back, so this can help release that tension and promote relaxation.” You create a line from the feet all the way up the arms, elbows, and those index fingers, and this really helps to relax the upper back.” “The only thing you have to stretch is your index fingers. It really helps to relax the spine and upper back.”

  1. Lie on your back, extend your arms overhead, then point your index fingers.
  2. Breathing naturally in this posture, focusing on relaxing your arms above your head and feeling your shoulders relax.

5. Hero Pose (Virasana)

Although its name sounds energizing, spending several minutes in Hero pose before bed can help you relax. It helps ground you physically and emotionally. The position also stimulates pressure points on the tops of your feet that promote total-body relaxation.

  1. Sit with your knees bent and your shins underneath you. The tops of your feet should be flat on the floor, and your spine should be straight with your shoulders and head aligned over your hips.
  2. If this is too much pressure on your knees, place a block or pillow between your feet and rest your buttocks on it.

Source: https://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1009344-namaste-night-10-yoga-moves-remove-stress-relax-bedtime/

Author: Devika

Devika, M.Sc, NET Qualified is passionate about helping people discover the power of nourishing real food. She specializes in weight management, therapeutic nutrition, food allergies and intolerances, inflammatory diseases, gut health, and functional nutrition. Her approach blends a conventional health care and nutrition background with natural and science-based therapies.