Are you an insomniac? Maybe you have a bad habit of staying up too late scrolling through Facebook while you're in bed.
There could be a lot of nights where your mind is just too busy to shut off. Try adding some soothing yoga poses before bed to quiet your mind and gently ease your body into sleep mode....
1. Stretch Your Way to better sleep
If you suffer from insomnia, you know the toll it takes on your daily activities. A chronic lack of sleep has serious effects on your body, both physically and psychologically.
Some of these effects include:
- Slowed reaction times when driving, leading to a higher risk of car accidents
- Depression, anxiety, and even hallucinations
- Substance abuse
- Weight gain or obesity
- Increased risk of long-term diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease
A regular yoga practice performed any time during the day has been shown to improve your sleep quality, increase the length of time you stay asleep, and shorten the amount of time it takes to fall asleep (2).
Since yoga doesn’t have to be done on a mat or in a studio, you can whip out some super-relaxing poses from the comfort of your bed.
Get your jammies on, fold the covers down, and move through a sequence to drift off quickly and peacefully.
2. 6 Relaxing Yoga Poses to Help You Fall Asleep
Are you jonesing for a nap? Do this quick sequence anywhere you deem nap-worthy. It’s the perfect way to cap off a perfectly lazy Sunday afternoon.
Drop the idea that naps mean you’re lazy! The National Sleep Foundation says that naps are good for you!
Over 85 percent of mammalian species are considered polyphasic sleepers which means they sleep for brief periods throughout their day.
Humans are forced to be monophasic sleepers (one period of being awake, one of sleeping). Monophasic sleeping isn’t considered normal for our species, so take a nap (3), for Pete's sake!
A short nap (20 to 30 minutes) is highly recommended to increase your short-term alertness. Longer naps leave you feeling groggy or make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
NASA did a study with military pilots and astronauts and discovered that 40-minute naps improved their alertness by 100 percent and their performance by 34 percent.
Grab your favorite pillow, blanket, or a yoga bolster and put your couch to work with these poses. Don’t feel bad doing this with Netflix rolling in the background, either!
3. 8 - Minute Workout: Yoga for Better Sleep
When you think of public health epidemics, you probably think of obesity, heart disease, or diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control have confirmed that insufficient sleep is now categorized as a public health epidemic, too (4) because of its links to fatal incidents like car and industrial accidents.
A lack of sleep is attributed to chronic illnesses, increased mortality, and psychiatric disorders as well.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends performing a relaxing activity right before you go to bed (5) and making it a ritual (you do it every night without fail).
Dim the lights, deepen your breathing, and go through these five poses. Hold them for any length of time, and you don’t even have to do all five.
Pick and choose poses for what feels best for your body!
Even if you just lay in bed in child’s pose for 10 minutes, sometimes that’s all you need.
4. A Before-Bed Stretching Routine: Hold Static Positions for at Least 30 Second
Sometimes you can’t fall asleep because your mind hasn’t had a chance to unwind from the day’s activities. One of the biggest causes of difficulties falling asleep is worrying.
Whether you’re worrying about your kids, your job, or that awkward exchange at the coffee shop, your brain loves to go over everything when you’re finally lying in bed.
This pre-sleep worrying is normal because bedtime is often the only time you have the time to process your day. It doesn’t mean it's healthy, though.
Sleep experts recommend going over your worries/concerns at some point during the day before bed (6).
The earlier in the day you can do it, the better. Take 10 to 15 minutes and write down what’s weighing heavily on your mind.
If it’s three in the afternoon and you’re relatively worry-free, ask yourself what kinds of things come up when you get to bed.
Going over everything before bed makes you feel like you can separate yourself from when you're ready to sleep. Replace that worry session with a yummy stretch session.
Dim the lights, put your pajamas on, and work through this simple flow to fully wind down. When you’re done, hop straight into bed.
5. 5 Bedtime Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
Your environment plays a huge role in the quality of your sleep. When we use our beds for more than sleeping or intimacy, we’re going to have a hard time falling and staying asleep.
You should tailor your room for ideal sleep conditions. That means your bed should be for sleeping/intimacy and non-stimulating activities only.
Avoid using phones, tablets, and computers in bed. You can do quiet, wind-down things in bed, so if you want to do some gentle yoga poses before you slip under the covers, that’s okay.
A few other tips to help you stay asleep:
- Keep your room between 60 and 67 degrees. Studies show this is the optimal room temperature for sleeping.
- Make an effort to keep your room as dark as possible. Install curtains to reduce light pollution from things like headlights and street lamps. Eye shades are good, too.
- Minimize noise as much as possible unless it’s white noise (fans, humidifiers, etc).
Everyone loves to sleep, but it's difficult to come by quality sleep.
Establishing a calming bedtime routine and incorporating a few simple stretches into it is an effortless way to shift to sleeping, so hopefully some of these poses help you sail effortlessly to Dream Land!
Remember that sleep is an essential part of life.
It’s just as essential to living as food and water are, so make a concerted effort to stop skimping on sleep for other activities.