Human adults need anywhere between seven to nine good hours of sleep per night for proper functioning. If you’ve been finding yourself drowsy and irritable during the day it’s probably because your sleep isn’t as good as you need it to be. Just because you’re sleeping doesn’t mean that you’re sleeping well.
So how can you get better sleep? heavy-duty sleeping pills can have negative side effects and some of us just don’t do well with Sleepytime teas or a warm bath. How do you relax your body and mind?
Yoga poses for better sleep might be the answer for you.
Have you been resistant to yoga in the past? Maybe you’ve only done heavy-duty yoga like power yoga or hot yoga.
These poses are different and they’re meant to help you relax, not feel the burn. Wanna try it out? Keep reading for some of our favorites.
How Does Yoga Help?
What makes yoga so effective anyway?
Well, yoga forces you to focus on your breathing patterns. It also provides a smooth and easy stretch that can help your body loosen up and relax after a long day. You can do these yoga poses in normal yoga-wear or your pajamas because they’re so relaxed.
If you want to double the effect, trying some safe to use natural sleep aids before you start can have you cozy and comfy by the time you hit the pillow.
Focusing on your breathing can help you clear your mind and find peace before bedtime. Clearing the mind can be the hardest part of getting to sleep.
So which poses are best?
The cat-cow yoga move is great for getting your body ready for your nighttime nap. It stretches your back and helps to calm down your breathing. It’s also easy for almost everyone. There are no deep stretches here.
For this, you’re going to get on all fours. When you breathe in you’re going to curve your back down while you’re pressing up into your shoulders. As you exhale you’re going to round your back.
Do several repetitions of these convex and concave movements until your shoulders feel loose and your back has had a good stretch. If you want you can sway side to side or forward and back to get the most out of this movement.
This is another movement that focuses on stretching the back and shoulders, though you’ll get a bit of a stretch in your abdominals as well.
For this, you’re going to start lying flat on your stomach. Drag your palms up so they’re near your chest. Slowly you’re going to push up. You can do a baby cobra, which will have you only lifting the top part of your chest off of the ground. You can also do a full cobra by making your arms as straight as possible.
Hold this pose for a few moments and then let yourself go back down.
3. Forward Fold
A forward fold is a great way to loosen up your legs, shoulders, arms, and back before bedtime.
You do what the pose implies: fold forward. This is better when it’s preceded by a standing pose. Stand up tall and bring your arms up over your head, holding them as if you were holding a beach ball.
Then bring your arms down in front of you in a slow and steady motion. You can bend your knees slightly if you have to. as you bring your fingers as close to the floor as possible.
From here you can grab your elbows with the opposite hands and hang or sway side to side. This is a great stretch for the back.
4. Child’s Pose
This one is a personal favorite.
Child’s pose is a great stretch and it just feels good.
Sit on all-fours and spread your knees apart until they’re about shoulder-width. Your toes should be touching (or close to it). Move your hands a touch forward as you send your hips back until you’re sitting on your heels.
Get your forehead as close to the ground as you can and close your eyes, trying to slow down your breath.
Stay here as long as you like but try not to fall asleep on the mat! It’s tempting.
5. Happy Baby
This pose might make you feel silly but it’s great for stretching out those hard-to-reach areas. If you have bad knees you may want to skip this one.
Lay flat on your back and bring your knees close to your chest.
Bring your arms between your legs and hold each foot with its corresponding hand. Pull towards yourself so you’re getting a good stretch in your legs, feet, and arms. Rocking back and forth is great for a smooth back rub.
You’ll be surprised about how loose and happy your muscles are after this. They’ll be ready to slip under the covers!
6. Laying Figure Four
This pose is a good hip opener while also being a soothing precursor to a good night’s sleep.
Bring yourself close to a wall and lay flat on your back with your knees bent. Put one leg up against the wall (if only your heel can touch that’s okay!) and cross your foot over that leg.
You can bring that foot closer to your body with its corresponding hand if you like, but this alone is a good stretch. Your legs should be in a formation that looks like a “4”. Lay like this for several breath cycles before switching the position of your legs.
7. Laying Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose can be hard on the back for some people, but if you have a strong and healthy back this should be no problem.
For this pose, you’re going to start by sitting on all fours. Bring one knee forward and bend it so it’s on the ground and your foot is pointed toward your center.
Send the other leg back so it’s flat on the mat. Your foot should point backward. If this is too much of a stretch you should skip the rest of this pose or gently move toward it over time.
Once you’re in this pose, fold the upper half of your body over the bent knee as if you were getting into child’s pose. Your elbows should be bent and your forearms should be on the floor while your head rests wherever it’s comfortable.
Hold this pose for several breath cycles and untangle yourself so you’re ready to switch sides.
8. Butterfly Pose
This is considered by many to be the “generic yoga pose”. It’s great for your hips and can help you gain flexibility in your entire lower half.
Sit down in a normal cross-legged position. Bring your knees outward and put your feet together with the flat parts touching in the center.
Bring your knees as close to the ground as possible without causing discomfort. With time and practice, you’ll be able to bring them closer and closer.
Holding your feet in your hands can help you stretch out your wrists at the same time.
Close your eyes and hold this pose for several breath cycles before you unwind your legs and move to the next pose.
9. Laying Goddess Pose
This is another great stretch that will leave you feeling loose and ready for bed.
Start by sitting in the butterfly pose. You’re already halfway there! Instead of sitting up straight, you’re going to use your hands to lower the top half of your body into a flat-back position.
If this doesn’t feel right for you, you can start in the flat-back position with your legs extended in front of you and instead use your arms to bring your knees into position and your feet together. Comfort is key!
Lay here with your eyes closed as your knees get heavier and heavier. Slow your breath down as you lay.
10. Corpse Pose
The name sounds scary but this is the ultimate “pre-bedtime” pose that you should use at the end of every relaxing yoga session. It’s what it sounds like; you’re going to pretend to be a corpse.
Lay flat on your back with your feet shoulder-width apart. Send your arms away from your body so your hands match the distance of your feet. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing alone. This is going to be the pose you end your practice with and you can stay here as long as you like.
You can even do this while you’re in bed. It might be the perfect way to transition into your sleep-mode!
These Are Our Favorite Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
Using yoga poses for better sleep is great for your body and mind. Some of the top tips for better sleep habits revolve around loosening your body and clearing your head and yoga checks those boxes.
When you’re struggling with sleep medications and other typical “sleeping advice”, try yoga for a night and see how you feel. You may end up getting the restful sleep that you deserve.
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