Yoga for Sleep: 7 Poses to Help You Sleep Better

Are you having trouble sleeping, or finding yourself tossing and turning all through the night? Then you should practice certain yoga asanas that promote sleep. Regularly practicing some yoga poses or moves will help induce sound sleep, improve its quality, and alleviate sleeping problems, as well as irregular sleeping habits.

4 Yoga Poses for Sleep

The following yoga moves can be done any time at home to promote sleep.

1. Forward Bend (Hastapadasana)

Forward Bend

  1. Stand upright with arms alongside your body.
  2. While you breathe in, raise your arms above the head.
  3. Bend your waist forward and lower the shoulders towards your feet. Keep your spine erect, with your hands resting on the floor adjacent to your feet.
  4. Hold the posture for about 20 seconds and continue breathing deeply.
  5. Stretching your arms forward and then up, return to your standing position while breathing in.
  6. Bring your arms to the sides while breathing out.

Benefits

  • Stretches your back muscles, helping in making the spine flexible
  • Helps stimulate your nervous system by improving the blood supply

2. Cat Stretch (Marjariasana)

Cat Stretch

  1. Kneeling down on an exercise mat, assume a table-like position with your arms at 90 degrees to the floor while your knees are at a hip-width
  2. Look straight ahead.
  3. Raise your chin and keep your head slanted back. Also, drive your navel downwards while raising your tailbone.
  4. Pause for a few seconds while taking long, deep breaths.
  5. As you breathe out, drop your chin and arch your back. Be sure to relax your buttocks.
  6. Hold the posture for 2-3 seconds before returning to the original table-like position.
  7. Do 5-6 rounds before coming out of this posture.

Benefits

  • Makes your spine more flexible
  • Helps strengthen your shoulders and wrists
  • Tones your abdomen and improves digestion
  • Increases blood circulation and relaxes the mind

3. Child Pose (Shishuasana)

Child Pose

  1. Sitting on your heels, bend forward to lower the forehead to the ground.
  2. Place your arms beside the body with your hands on the ground and palms facing up.
  3. Gently press the chest on your thighs and hold the pose for a few seconds.
  4. Gradually come up to return to the starting position.

Benefits

  • Relaxes your back
  • Calms down your nervous system
  • Relieves constipation

4. Butterfly Pose (Badhakonasana)

Butterfly Pose

  1. Sitting with an erect spine and spread-out legs, bend your knees and bring the feet towards your pelvis, so the soles touch each other.
  2. Grabbing the feet with your hands, try to bring your heels close to the genitals. For support, you may keep the hands beneath your feet.
  3. Taking a deep breath, press the knees and thighs downward towards the ground, making an effort to continue pressing them downward.
  4. Start flapping the legs up and down like a butterfly, and slowly increase the speed while breathing normally.
  5. Slow down and stop. After breathing in deeply, bend forward with your spine erect and chin up while exhaling.
  6. Press the elbows on your knees or thighs, pushing them closer to the floor.
  7. Bring your torso up, straighten your legs out and relax.

Benefits

  • Improves flexibility in your groin, hip region, inner thighs, and the knees
  • Removes fatigue from extended hours of walking or standing
  • Helps in bowel and intestine movement

3 Bedtime Yoga Poses to Induce Sleep

These yoga poses, performed before going to sleep, will help relax your mind and promote sleep.

1. Supported Half-Frog Pose (Ardha-Bhekasana)

Supported Half-Frog Pose

  1. Lie on the belly. You may place a pillow under your belly.
  2. Extend a leg out to your side, bend your knee at 90 degrees with the hip.
  3. Straighten the opposite leg and turn your head towards the direction of the bent leg and keep it in rest.
  4. Relax your jaw, eyes, and belly, and then breath in and out.

Benefits

  • Supports the belly and ribs for improved breathing
  • Relaxes your middle back, lessening stiff muscles that bring about pain and discomfort
  • Good for insomnia and reduces symptoms associated with other disorders like asthma, digestion, blood pressure, and trauma

2. Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Reclined Bound Angle Pose

  1. Be in a lying position with your legs bent, and make sure the soles of your feet touch each other.
  2. Place a pillow under each thigh and another one behind your head.
  3. After closing your eyes and relaxing the jaw, perform slow and deep inhalation and exhalation.

Benefits

  • Relieves anxiety, fatigue, and panic attacks
  • Decreases heart rate, muscle tension, and stress
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases your overall energy level

3. Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana)

Wind-Relieving Pose

  1. Lie flat on the back. You may place a pillow beneath your head.
  2. Extend one leg in front while bending the other and bringing it in towards your chest. Interlace your fingers around the shin or the knee.
  3. As you inhale, close your eyes and relax the jaw.
  4. Stay in that position for a few minutes and then switch side.

Benefits

  • Strengthens your abs and back muscles
  • Tones the arms and legs
  • Increases blood circulation and eases tension
  • Helps in digestion

Tips: Things You may Try for Better Sleep

Besides doing yoga, you may follow these tips for establishing healthy sleep habits:

  • Turn off the phone at least half an hour before bedtime and getting in the bed ideally before 11 p.m.
  • Get out of bed if you do not fall asleep after 15-20 minutes.
  • If you are not able to rest, you may try a restorative sequence by having 2-3 pillows and plenty of slow, deep breaths.

Make sure that you learn and do yoga under the guidance of a certified yoga teacher. Consult a doctor before practicing these yoga poses if you have any medical condition. Practicing yoga is a natural way of relaxing your mind and body, and so it could be the preferred method of promoting sleep rather than inducing it with medication.

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