I think we can all agree that having quality sleep every day is important, right?
Having a sleepless night will often lead to feeling zombified, cranky, and unproductive the next day. More importantly, it isn’t healthy in the long run.
For some, falling asleep and getting quality sleep might be a daily struggle. But here’s a natural way to solve that – yoga!
Practicing yoga has many benefits for the mind, body, and yes, even for your sleep.
While some yoga poses focus on helping you build strength and energy, there are other yoga poses that can help you relax your body and mind. By getting into the relaxed state, you are able to fall asleep easier, stay in deep sleep, and wake up refreshed for the next day.
The best part of it is, you can achieve relaxation and better sleep by doing a short, gentle yoga sequence in the comfort of your own home.
Think of it as a healthy, unwinding session after the end of a busy day.
Let’s roll out your yoga mat, practice this bedtime yoga poses to fall asleep faster, or at least get the quality sleep you deserve!
1. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
The Standing Forwards Bend helps to relieve stress, headaches and insomnia as it calms the brain.
You don’t need to keep your knees straight if you can’t.
Just bend your knees a little to ease the strain and release tension in the legs and hips.
- Begin with standing with your feet six inches apart.
- Gently fold your torso towards the ground. Just like all forward bends, the emphasis is on lengthening the torso as you enter the pose fully.
- With your knees straight, bring your fingers to the floor beside your feet or slightly in front.
- If you cannot straighten your knees, don’t worry. You can cross your arms and hold the opposite elbows.
- On Inhale, lengthen the front torso slightly. And on exhale, relax and release into the forward bend a little deeper.
- Let your head hang between the shoulder blades.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- When coming up, bring your hands to your hips, press your tailbone down into the pelvis and slowly come up with a long front torso.
2. Cat and Cow Pose (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)
The Cat and Cow Pose looks pretty easy to do, yet it is very beneficial for the mind.
This pose provides a gentle massage to the spine and neck by lengthening the spine to the discs between the vertebrae. This will calm the mind and relieve stress from the back and neck.
Start by entering Cat Pose and then Cow Pose. The flow between these two poses creates space between vertebrae by loosening up the spine.
- For Cat Pose, start on your hands and knees (tabletop position). Your knees are directly below your hips and your arms straight with your wrists directly under your shoulders.
- On exhale, round your spine, pull your belly in and release your head towards the floor without forcing your chin to your chest. Make sure to keep your shoulders and knees in the same position.
- Enter Cow Pose on inhalation by lifting your chest, lower your belly, bring your tailbone up towards the ceiling and look towards the ceiling.
- Perform this flow for 5 breaths or as long as you like.
- When you’re done, recover to a tabletop position.
3. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
The Child’s Pose is often used as a resting pose. It stretches the thighs, hips, back.
Practicing this pose helps to relieve fatigue and calm the mind as well.
If you have any discomfort in your back or neck, this may also help to relieve the pain.
- From the previous tabletop position, Sink your hips back and sit on your heels.
- Gently bring your head towards the floor and chest between your thighs.
- With your forehead resting on the floor, stretch your arms in front.
- Breathe deeply into your lower back.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds to several minutes or however long you like.
Related: How To Regain Flexibility After 50
4. Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
This pose also improves blood circulation for the upper body and head, rebalancing your body after you have been sitting or standing for a long time.
It gives you a gentle hamstring stretch and helps to relieve lower back pain, stress, fatigue and headaches.
It also helps drain lymph and lactic acid from the legs. This will decrease the soreness and fatigue accumulated in your legs if you spend a lot of time standing.
- Begin with your legs straight up the wall.
- Bring your tailbone to the base of the wall as close as possible.
- If you can, try to have your glutes touching the wall.
- Make sure to feel comfortable, not stretched.
- Hold this position for 1 minute or as long as you like.
5. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
This Supine Spinal Twist stretches the back muscles, spine and hamstrings. It also eases back tension, improves breathing and soothes frazzled nerves.
Practicing this pose is great for unwinding after a long day!
The reclined position penetrates deep into the spine, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Lie on your back and bring your arms out to the sides with the palms facing down.
- Bend the right knee and place the right foot on the left knee.
- On exhale, drop the right knee over to the left side of your body. If you’d like a neck stretch, gaze towards your right fingertips. Make sure your shoulders are flat on the floor.
- Allow gravity to pull your knee down, so you don’t have to use any effort. Close your eyes and relax into the posture.
- Hold this position for 1 minute or as long as you like.
- To come out, roll the right hips back and right legs back down to the floor.
- Repeat on the other side.
6. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
Just like mimicking a happy baby by holding your feet and ankles, this pose offers a full-body relaxation.
This pose is perfect for practicing right before bed to relieve stress and encourage a great night’s sleep.
- Lie on your back and bend your knees into your belly.
- Grasp the insides of your feet with your hands.
- Then pull your heels up to the ceiling while keeping your tailbone down.
- Your ankles are directly over your knees and your knees should be pulled towards your armpit area. Keep your heels flexed.
- Rock back and forth gently to massage the spine.
- Hold this pose for 1 minute or as long as you like.
7. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
This is a classic yoga pose often practice in restorative yoga. It helps to relieve the symptoms of stress, mild depression and menstruation.
The Reclining Bound Angle Pose is one of the best yoga poses to fall asleep faster because it’s easy to do and can be adjusted for any level of hip or groin resistance.
- Continue from the previous Happy Baby pose, let your feet down to the ground.
- Bring the soles of the feet together so that they touch each other.
- Let gravity pull your knees down while keeping your heels close to your pelvis. The key here is to feel as comfortable as possible.
- Breathe deeply and evenly. Close your eyes and relax deep into the posture.
- Stay in this pose for 5 minutes.
8. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Finally, enter the Corpse Pose, a total relaxation yoga pose that ultimately helps to reduce headache, fatigue, and insomnia.
When doing this pose, it’s crucial that the body is in a neutral position.
- From the previous Reclined Bound Angle Pose, release both legs down to the corner of your bed or mat. Keep your groins soften and feet turn out.
- Place your hands a few inches away from your hips with both your palms facing the ceiling.
- Close your eyes and let your mind free of any thoughts. Breathe deeply and naturally.
- Hold this pose as long as you like.
Get better sleep naturally with yoga!
We’ve all been there! Whether it’s falling asleep faster or just getting a good night’s rest.
Studies have shown that practicing yoga frequently can help improve your quality of sleep (source).
Getting good sleep after a long day is crucial for long term productivity and health. While some may resolve their sleepless nights with sleeping pills, why not get better sleep naturally with yoga!
With just 20 minutes or less of practicing this yoga poses, you’ll find that it’s easier to relax into your sleep. Before you know it, you’ll be snoozing away in dreamland!