Yoga Poses For A Better Sleep
Posted On March 14, 2020
So you’d like a better night’s sleep. And you’re wondering if yoga can help you get it.
In this post, I will walk you through which poses you might want to try in order to get a better night’s sleep.
Why sleep is so important
Sleep is vital for your health and wellbeing. Although we all need different amounts of sleep each night for optimal function, we all need it to some extent.
Sleep is absolutely vital for your day-to-day functioning. Think about days where you haven’t had enough sleep – maybe you’ve been up all night worrying about something, or maybe you’ve been in pain which has stopped you sleeping. Either way, you feel it the next day.
A lack of sleep can affect your performance at work, your presence with friends and family, and your cognitive ability. It can also mean you miss out on time the next day if you need to take a power nap!
And sleep problems are common!
Many of us struggle with our sleep at some point in our lives. Life changes, circumstances change, and sleeping patterns change with it all.
I’m sure you can remember a night where you’ve been laid in bed, struggling to sleep, and it just gets worse. And worse. And you begin to check the time over and over, counting down the amount of sleep you will have if you sleep soon.
Unfortunately this just fuels that anxiety, making it harder for us to actually sleep – like a vicious cycle.
Well what if you could begin to utilise some yoga practice to help you get a better night’s sleep, regardless of what is going on in your life at the time?
How yoga can help
If you’ve read many of my other posts, then you will know how much of an effect yoga can have on decreasing our stress levels. It’s crucial that if we want a good night’s sleep, we help our bodies and minds to wind down before doing so.
If you’ve ever been to concert or a party and tried to get to sleep straight away, you’ll recognise how much more difficult this can be in comparison to if you’ve been in bed reading for an hour.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to parties or anywhere else late at night. It just means that we may need something more to ground us and get us in a calm, relaxed state if we have been somewhere loud and busy.
This is where yoga comes in.
Yoga can help get our mind in a relaxed state before we try to drop off and get a good night’s sleep. When we prime ourselves to be in a calm state, we make the entire process easier for ourselves.
So dim the lights, light a candle and give this a go:
Poses to try
Is this not everyone’s favourite pose? When I saw how this pose can be beneficial for a good night’s sleep, it came as no surprise to me. I love this pose, and always feel relaxed and stretched when I’m in it – in a really good way.
1. Start on your hands and knees.
2. Move your knees outwards as wide as the edges of your yoga mat. As you do this, keep your feet touching and close together.
3. Begin to sink backwards so your bottom sits on top of your ankles.
4. Stretch your arms out above your head with your forearms touching the yoga mat.
5. Stay here and relax. Try to clear your mind of the daily stressors that may be running through your mind. Breathe deep, and try to sink back further onto your ankles with each exhale.
Legs up the wall pose
Another pose that tends to feel quite comfortable and relaxing when done right is the legs up the wall pose. The name says it all really, but if you need a bit of extra guidance:
1. Find a wall. Get your bottom as close as you can to the wall.
2. As you do this, bring your legs up so they are vertical along the wall.
3. Find a comfortable spot here, and breathe into it. Feel the stretch and quiet your mind.
If you hadn’t noticed, these poses before bed are all about relaxing and restoring your energy. Utilising the corpse pose, you can try a meditation before bed, which can also help you to calm the chatter going on in the mind, increasing your chances of getting to sleep quickly and peacefully.
1. Lie flat on the floor. Gently lift your upper back up from the floor and push your shoulder blades together.
2. Lie back down and relax
Whilst in this pose, your goal is to help the mind feel relaxed. To do this, it can be helpful to let go of judgement or expectations for the mind.
Begin by listening to the chatter in your mind. Be curious to what’s going on for you right now, but don’t get drawn into the narrative. It can be funny what our minds say when we really listen to then, and how quickly the chatter can stop when we don’t ourselves get drawn into it.
Try to laugh off anything that seems to be stressing you out. Remember how big life is, and how small your problems may really be in the grand scheme of things.
And throughout, remember to inhale and exhale deeply. This will help you connect to your inner power and inner voice.
Stay here for as long as you need. When required, gently move your fingertips, your toes. And flutter your eyes open and get ready for a great night’s sleep.
Good sleep hygiene in itself can really help us out. And getting into a routine with our sleep hygiene can mean we’re getting the right amount of sleep we need each night, helping us to lead happier and more productive lives in the long-term.
A personal hack from me when I struggle to sleep is to try and take the end goal off of ‘getting to sleep’. When I can’t sleep, I simply say to myself ‘my goal here is to feel relaxed’. The more relaxed I feel, the calmer I get. And vice versa.
Try telling yourself that it doesn’t matter whether or not you get to sleep. Your goal is to purely relax. And yes, you’ve guessed it – feeling more relaxed makes it easier to sleep, making it more likely that you’ll get to sleep quicker.
I hope this post has given you some ideas on how to improve your evening routine to optimise your mind for a good night’s sleep.
I’d love to hear how it goes if you try out any of these tips!
All the best