Without a doubt, Yoga helps you sleep better at night. If you have a luxurious mattress, a quiet room and all the other conditions necessary for a restful night but you’re still struggling to get your quota of sleep, you may want to try Yoga. Most Yoga centers offer late evening candle-lit or restorative classes, and it’s highly recommended you give them a try. You can also stay home and take 5 minutes (yes, 5 minutes) to mindfully move and stretch through a few simple, classic yoga poses before bedtime and reap the benefits for a more restful slumber.
Before we show you a few poses to try at home, let’s briefly look at why Yoga helps you sleep better.
1: Yoga Reduces Cortisone Levels & Calms the Nervous System
Yoga reduces cortisone levels (the stress hormone) in the brain. This is due to the practice of focusing on your breath, flowing your movements with your breathing and therefore being in the present moment, focused in the “now” and not letting your mind wander to emotional triggers. This calms the nervous system and banishes any “fight or flight” senses you may have experienced during a busy workday.
2: Yoga Eases Pain & Induces Physical Relaxation
Yoga eases pain and discomfort in the body. Stress and tension settle in the body, for example, tight shoulders come from stress, neck pain from straining your neck forward at the computer or looking down at your phone, stiff hips from long days seated at your desk, lower back problems from poor posture, the list goes on. Yoga movements increase mobility and strength throughout the body and it’s truly a “whole body” practice, meaning for every posture there’s a counter posture and it’s like squeezing the stress out of our body as you would wring the water out of a towel!
3: Yoga’s Effects Are Long Lasting
The improved breathing, mindfulness and physical relief provided by yoga are benefits you carry with you throughout the day, or night, they don’t just make you feel better for an hour of practice.
A simple five-minute Yoga Routine for Better Sleep
You’re going to need a yoga mat for the steps below.
1) Start with the Anjali Mudra Posture (60 seconds)
The Anjali Mudra (prayer pose) helps you find your center and focus on your breathing. It also helps you distance yourself from the events of your day. You can either start with the Vajrasana posture as you kneel down to allow your body to relax, alleviating tension, or take a seated cross-legged posture, using a blanket to raise your hips, if needed. Click here.
Now, close your eyes and clasp your hands together, slightly making contact between your thumbs and the center of the chest.
2) Bitilasana Flow (60 seconds)
Get on all fours, with your spine parallel to the ground, shoulders directly over the wrists, and hips above the knees. Now, flow gently between the Cow Pose and the Cat Pose. Make sure to inhale and exhale slowly, moving with the breath.
3) Child’s Pose (60 seconds)
Child’s pose is known for the calming effect it has on the body, preparing the body and mind for a deep slumber. You can choose to keep the knees together or separate, depending on what you are most comfortable with. Make sure to slowly inhale and exhale for 60 seconds. Click here.
4) Butterfly (60 seconds)
This butterfly is slightly difficult to do, but it brings more peace to your day than child’s pose. Sit in a seated position, touch both soles of the feet with each other, and then pull them away from your body’s center. Now fold forward, allowing the back to arch in a round curve, as you slowly meet the floor. Click here.
Allow yourself to drift into your own thoughts, forgetting about your worries.
5) Legs up the wall pose (60 seconds)
This pose should be your highlight of the yoga session. It has amazing restorative properties and can help you feel amazing in just a matter of seconds. Some people like to hold this pose for several minutes. Just make sure you have some padding between the floor and your back for added comfort.
As you slowly drift towards sleep, you should crawl towards the bed and end the day on a high note. Click here.