Sleeping troubles? Try yoga and discover its benefits for healthy sleep
Sleep disturbances and insomnia are often side effects of a poor lifestyle. Of course, there can be more serious health reasons for not getting enough sleep. But most of the time, physical and mental stress, thoughts about work or household chores interfere with sleep.
In this case, special asanas (exercises) can help, as they help relax muscles and distract from specific tasks and problems. Yoga, which you can easily do at home, will help correct the situation and restore calm, deep sleep. In this article, you will learn how to do yoga to help you sleep better and have a positive impact on your overall health. So grab your best cooling towel and let’s dive in!
What is so special about yoga postures for sleeping?
Night yoga is different from the ordinary. All yoga asanas before bed are aimed at calming the central nervous system after a busy day and helping you disconnect from the stress of the day.
Long and sedentary tasks, monotony, poor organization of the workplace, a long journey in traffic jams can cause fatigue. Therefore, your body and mind need to rest every night before going to bed.
A special set of yoga asanas for sleeping can help relieve stress, calm thoughts, distract from everyday worries, and improve the quality of sleep. It is recommended to perform these exercises without muscle tension. The main task of yoga before bed is to relax the mind, let go of negative emotions and forget about bad events.
Related: Yoga Asanas for Beginners.
How to prepare for dream yoga?
To maximize the effect, it is essential to follow simple rules:
- Pick the right time for your evening sessions. 10 pm-11 pm is a good time to go to bed. During these hours, it is more convenient to reconstitute the “biological rhythms”.
- Comfort as part of therapy. Be careful not to be distracted by the sounds during your nighttime yoga. You can set up a meditative setting, light candles, provide silence, and get yourself some yoga pillows for sleeping. You can play calm and silent yoga sleep music.
- Your stomach doesn’t have to be full. Many of us know that the last meal should be taken 2-3 hours before bedtime. The same goes for exercise. For our body to feel comfortable doing the asanas, it is best not to start yoga practice in the evening until one hour after dinner.
- Ventilate the room before starting. Doing yoga to relax and sleep in a stuffy room is bad for your health. Breathing with high levels of carbon dioxide will have the opposite effect. By the way, sleeping in a poorly ventilated room is also bad for your productivity and health.
- A set of yoga before bed to help you sleep.
- Below, we describe a set of yoga asanas for sleeping that will help your body relax and fall into an unhindered deep sleep. 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)
The first thing to do when you start to practice is to relax your mind completely. You can distract yourself 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 have trouble keeping your back straight, lean against the wall or the headboard. The posture should not cause discomfort to the body and muscles.
Close your eyes and take a few minutes to breathe; focus on inhaling and exhaling. Breathing for the correct performance of asanas must be balanced, only through the nose. To balance your breathing, try spending at least 4 seconds inhaling and exhaling, stopping briefly between them.
Spine Half Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
From the lotus position, gently place the right leg behind the left knee, turn the body to the right. Place your left hand on your right leg, trying to open your body as wide as possible. Turn your head to your right hand. Then slowly return to the starting position and repeat the same in the other direction, changing the position of the arms and legs according to the asana.
This sleep yoga exercise helps relax long back muscles after a long day of work.
Seated forward curve (Paschimottanasana)
To perform this asana, you need to sit up straight, stretch your legs out in front of you, keep your back straight, and stretch your arms out at your sides. Then take a deep breath, raising your arms to the side and stretching your spine. As you exhale, slowly lower your body down to your feet. It is essential to target the legs with the abdomen, not the shoulders.
You should stay for 4 seconds and slowly come back to the starting position.
This exercise helps relieve stress and internal tension and clears the mind of negative thoughts.
Child posture (Balasana)
This sleepy yoga asana will help relieve fatigue and relax the muscles needed for deep sleep. Sit on your knees, hips, and feet together to do this exercise. Lean your body forward so that your forehead touches the ground. Place your hands in front of your body, palms down, or place them across your body, palms up. Close your eyes and fix your posture for a few minutes and focus on your breathing cycles.
Corpse pose (Savasana)
Savasana is the last asana of the practice of dream yoga. Among teachers, this pose is known as the “nap asana” because it helps to regain strength after more difficult exercises and contributes to the ultimate relaxation of body and mind.
Lie on the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands at your sides and slightly apart, palms facing the floor, and eyes closed. Try to “disconnect” from everyday thoughts, focus on the breath, feel the body, try to relax every muscle, feel lightness in the arms, legs, back, neck, etc. You should stay in this position for 10 to 15 minutes, removing all negativity and tension.
To complete Savasana, slowly move your toes first, then your feet. Without opening your eyes, roll onto your side. Then get up and sit down with your head down. You need to breathe deeply and open your eyes in this position. Now you can get up.
To get through the next day, you need at least a good night’s sleep and a good mood. If you can’t sleep, you need to do relaxing yoga to sleep better and help your body get enough rest. If you exercise before bedtime, you can quickly get rid of insomnia. Performing this series of exercises at night can help reduce the time you fall asleep, get healthy rest, and strengthen your muscles.
Have you practiced yoga to sleep better? Share your bedtime yoga experience in the comments below.