Yoga for Better Sleep: A How-To

Sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being, but for many of us, getting a good night’s rest can be a challenge. Between busy schedules, stress, and technology that keeps us constantly connected, it’s no wonder that sleep can be elusive for so many of us. The biggest challenge many of us face is getting our brains to “switch off” and calm down. We toss and turn as we try to fall asleep; when we do fall asleep, the quality is not great.

If you are looking for a natural solution to your sleep problems or just want to improve the quality of your sleep, incorporate yoga into your night-time routine.

“Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind.” — Patañjali

Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been shown to have a positive impact, not only on your sleep but on your overall health and well-being. Yoga combines physical movement, breathwork, and mindfulness, which can all contribute to relaxation and stress reduction. By practicing yoga before bedtime, you can help prepare your body and mind for a restful night’s sleep.

Here are some tips for practicing yoga before bedtime to improve your sleep quality:

Create a calming environment

Before you begin your yoga practice, create a calming and distraction-free environment in your bedroom. Dim the lights, turn off any screens or devices, and make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature.

Choose the right poses

When selecting yoga poses for better sleep, choose poses that are calming and gentle. Avoid invigorating poses that may stimulate your nervous system. Some good poses to try before bed include Child’s Pose, Forward Fold, and Legs Up the Wall. If you are new to yoga, there are a range of videos that help guide you and show you how to move effortlessly into each pose.

Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing, or pranayama, is a key component of yoga and is particularly helpful for improving sleep. Try practicing alternate nostril breathing, where you inhale through one nostril and exhale through the other, to calm your mind and prepare your body for rest. Breathing exercises are extremely powerful when it comes to calming your body and mind. Make sure you take the time to do some deep breathing before and after you do your poses.

Incorporate meditation

Meditation can help quiet your mind and reduce stress, making it an excellent practice to incorporate before bed. Try a guided meditation or simply focus on your breath and body sensations for a few minutes to clear your mind.

End with Savasana

Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is the final pose in a yoga practice and is a great way to promote relaxation and calm before bedtime. Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended; focus on releasing tension from your body. Try not to think about anything. As thoughts enter your mind, let them leave again, do not dwell on them. The first time you try this it may be difficult but gets easier the more you do it.

By practicing yoga before bedtime, you can help calm your mind and prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep. Take it slow and listen to your body, choosing poses that feel comfortable and supportive, some nights you might find you just spend time in Child’s Pose while other nights you move a little more, go with it. With regular practice, you will find that yoga becomes an essential part of your bedtime routine and helps you get the rest you need to feel your best.

-Laura LeRoux


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