Having trouble sleeping? Carrying too much in your mind? Tossing on the bed night after night, even if your body is tired? You're not the only one. Sleeplessness is a significant problem, and yoga can be your answer.
Yoga is known to be a great way to relax your body and mind. It's no doubt that many people believe yoga can be your answer to sleeping better at night.
This blog has yoga poses that can lead your nightly routine to a good night's sleep.
How does the science behind yoga work? Let's understand better.
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How does yoga improve your sleep?
Studies show that being well-rested helps your body function better. Creating a before-bed routine with yoga poses can allow better sleep, rejuvenating your mind and body. You feel way fresher in the morning. Following a bedtime yoga routine like Pigeon pose and Legs Up the Wall can improve your sleeping patterns. Hence, worth a shot!
Studies have shown several therapeutic benefits of yoga. Improved sleep is one of those benefits. We are talking about restorative yoga rather than power yoga. Power yoga is for other benefits like strengthening muscles, weight loss, and improving cardiovascular health. Restorative yoga calms your body and mind and sets them in better shape. Practising yoga has other benefits too. Check the benefits in the picture below:
If better sleep is what you're looking for, yoga can help you. These seven relaxing yoga poses mentioned below can alter your sleep routine. You can try these yoga poses in a sequence or pick the ones that make you feel the best.
7 Best Yoga Poses for Sleep
Begin your sleep routine with these yoga poses. Before that, ensure that your room space is dark and warm. You can play soothing music to set a better mood. Prepare yourself with warm-up exercises like gentle leg stretching, shoulder socket rotations, and neck tilts before trying these yoga exercises for better sleep. Once done, say namaste to these calming yoga poses.
#1. Uttanasana: The standing forward fold pose
This particular yoga pose stretches your leg and releases tension in the neck. It allows your spine muscles to feel better after working tirelessly. It also helps in unwinding the stress you have collected throughout the day. This reflective yoga pose turns your energies inwards as you move toward peaceful sleep.
Here's how you do it:
Stand straight with your feet as wide as your hips.
Bend your knees. Now slowly roll your body down. Fold your upper body as you reach out to your legs.
Keep your knees bent. Allow your upper body to hang heavy. This includes your torso, arms, and head. You can stretch your arms further or let your hands wrap your feet. The pose should look like this:
Now shake your head and relax your jaw. Breathe deep and push away the stressful distractions going on in your mind.
Sway your body side-to-side and back-to-front to feel your body movements. Make sure that your feet are sturdily grounded to the floor.
Keep repeating the exercise in a set of 2 to 3 minutes.
#2. Paschimottanasana: The seated Forward Fold pose
This is a seated pose that stretches your legs and spine. Try this pose with yoga stretches for better sleep helps relax the tense muscles in your back. This reflective yoga is also great for practising self-awareness and breathing techniques.
Here's how you do it:
Place yourself in a seated position on the yoga mat. Use a pillow or a blanket if your hamstrings or lower back feel tender, tight, or in pain.
Now stretch your legs in front. Flex and try to point your toes forward a few times. Then, flex your feet towards your face for a vice-versa effect. Keep your spine straight throughout the pose.
With your back straight and legs stretched, reach the sky with your arms extended. Take a deep breath in as you do so.
As you exhale, fold forward towards your legs. Bring your arms towards your thighs, knees, ankles, or feet. How much you bend depends on your level of flexibility. It should look something like this:
Tip your head forward towards your legs and let your neck relax. Rest your forehead on the legs. You can also keep a pillow or a block for this step if you wish.
Maintain the pose for 2 to 5 minutes as you breathe deeply. Repeat this pose two or three times.
3. Vajrasana: The adminitine pose
In Sanskrit, vajra means thunderbolt. This yoga for deep sleep can rejuvenate your body.
Fun fact: In Buddhism, the vajra is a belt used to practice sadhana, a form of spiritual exercise.
Vajrasana means the thunderbolt or the diamond pose. Here's how you do it:
Place your yoga mat on a flat surface. Sit on your knees.
Spread your toes and place them one over the other. Remember to keep your knees close together and your ankles apart.
Place your hips in between your feet. Position the heels of your feet toward your hips.
Next, place your palms on the knees. The pose should look something like this:
Keep practising this pose in a set of 2 to 5 minutes two or three times. Another tip to remember is that this yoga pose can be performed 5 minutes after a meal.
Other than enhancing your sleep, vajrasana has many other benefits. For instance:
-It reduces stress and gives your mind peace and rest.
-It helps in reducing body weight.
-It improves digestion and eliminates the chances of indigestion and constipation.
Vajrasana acts both as yoga and meditation. However, people with knee or piles problems must refrain from performing this yoga.
#4. Siddhasana: The Perfect Pose
This particular yoga pose is one of the most recommended poses by yoga gurus. It is also one of the top 4 asanas in the list of 84 principle asanas. The yoga pose activates the mooladhara chakra before you go to sleep. Hence, it detoxifies your body, making it easier for your mind to go to sleep. That's why it's one of the top-ranking poses for people with difficulty sleeping.
Here's how you do it:
Sit straight with your legs crossed.
Close your eyes and start taking deep breaths.
As you inhale and exhale, concentrate on the silence around you. Let it envelop your mind.
Don't stretch your spine or shoulders. Sit comfortably as you keep focussing on the breaths you take. This is what the pose looks like:
Let all the discouraging thoughts slip out as you focus on the breath. Shove them away.
Slowly let your body relax. You will gradually feel your body slip into slumber.
#5. Baddha Konasona: The bound angle pose
The baddha konasana yoga pose also has a variant by the name supta baddha konasona. Yoga experts claim that the two poses may have only slight differences. Both variants follow the same pattern. They relax the hip and the groin area.
The yoga pose effectively improves sleep, eliminates abdominal cramps, and allows better menstruation cycles. The same pose can also be helpful for women who are pregnant or planning childbirth.
Here's how to do it:
Sit on the yoga mat or floor with your spine straight.
Extend your legs forwards. You can place pillows below your hips if you have a tender back.
Bend your knees sideways as you bring your feet and ankles closer to the groin area.
Keep the soles of your feet together, and let your knee touch the floor. The pose should look something like this:
Take deep breaths as you maintain this yoga pose for 2 to 5 minutes. Relax your mind as you repeat the sets.
#6. Viparita Karani: The Legs-up-the-Wall Pose
This is one of the most well-known yoga poses for insomnia. This perfect bedtime yoga will give you a relaxing stretch after a long stressful day.
Here's how to do it:
Lie down on a yoga mat. While choosing the position, ensure that the right side of your body is closer to a wall.
Lift your legs and place them against the wall.
Now inhale a deep breath as you pull your hips closer to the wall. Ensure that your body feels comfortable while doing so. If needed, add a cushion for support. The pose should look like this:
Inhale and exhale. Visualise the tension of your body leaving as you exhale.
Hold this pose for 2 to 5 minutes. You can go longer if you think it's doable.
If you want to make this yoga pose more challenging, you can extend your legs wider or bring the soles of your feet closer.
#7. Supta Baddha Konasana: The reclined butterfly pose
An excellent restorative yoga for bedtime to calm your nerves, the sapta Buddha konasona soothes your neurological system. It not only improves sleep but also takes away stress and anxiety symptoms.
Here's how you do it:
Lace cushions or blocks under your knees for extra support if desired.
Start by lying comfortably on the yoga mat.
Keep the soles of your feet pressed together. Leave your knees open sideways. You can place a cushion beneath your hips if your hips feel tender.
Keep your legs crossed on your back. Your hands should be placed according to your comfort.
Now, inhale and exhale deep breaths for 2 to 5 minutes as you hold this pose. Here's what the pose looks like.
If you like, you can take external help from a friend or family member while performing this yoga. Ask them to push down on your knees gently. Keep focusing on your breath as they do so.
Yoga can do wonders when combined with meditation techniques like breathing, mantra repetition, or using malas. The end goal is to unwind from the stress you have collected throughout the day and relax your mind.
On KoolStories, you can find bite-sized videos to help you learn yoga in 15 minutes. You can indulge in these microcourses provided by experts and learn the best yoga poses for bedtime.