Simple Bedtime Yoga Sequence for Restful Sleep (Video)
Yoga is an excellent way to calm the mind and relax the body to prepare you for a good night’s rest. Using conscious breathing techniques, restorative yoga poses, and gentle stretching, you can soothe your nervous system and set yourself up for optimal sleep.
Whether you suffer some insomnia, have trouble falling or staying asleep, or simply want better, more restful sleep, yoga can help.
The best part about this restorative yoga sequence is that you can do it IN BED! So brush your teeth, put on your comfiest pj’s, and get into bed. All you need is what you’ve already got – a bed, two pillows, and a blanket.
Get ready for some serious zzzzzz with this simple bedtime yoga sequence brought to you by NuSleep:
1. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama in Easy Seated Pose
Start in a seated, upright position and place a pillow beneath your seat to support your hips and help elongate your spine.
Use your right hand and fold down your pointer and middle finger. Block your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Block the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through right nostril, block it with the thumb, and then exhale through the left nostril.
This makes one full round. Repeat for as many rounds as you’d like, ideally around five. Benefits: reduces stress and anxiety, lowers your heart rate, and clears the mind for a good night’s rest – perfect to unwind before bed.
2. Childs Pose → Childs Thread the Needle
Start in a normal Childs Pose and take a few deep breaths. You can drape your arms along your side to relax the shoulders. Bring one ear to the bed or pillow and switch ears halfway through to get an even rotation in the cervical spine/neck. Stay for 5-10 breaths (or as long as you’d like!).
When you’re ready to add on, Thread the Needle is a nice way to create space in the shoulders, another place where we store a lot of tension. Keep your legs in Childs position, and thread your right arm underneath your left armpit and bring your right ear down to the bed. Stay for 5 breaths and change sides.
Childs Pose is a resting, restorative posture that helps to slow the heart rate, and calm mind and body by making you feel grounded. Adding a gentle variation of Thread the Needle helps counteract the hunching we do all day over our computers and steering wheels.
3. Seated Forward Fold
Start in a seated positions with your legs extended long. Place a pillow (or two or three!) atop your thighs, and hinge forward from the hips until your head rests on the pillow. Allow your body to completely relax. Stretch and lengthen your entire back body, and create space in your hamstrings with this gentle supported forward fold.
This pose is also referred to as the “Great Western Stretch” and symbolizes letting go – a great way to let go of your day and relax before bed. The support of the pillow increases the restorative and calming nature of the pose.
4. Eka Pada Apanasana
Recline gently onto your back and hug your knees into your chest. Give yourself a nice big hug and take several breaths here. When you’re ready, interlace your fingers beneath your right knee and hug it in towards your right armpit as you extend your left leg long. Stay for 5 breaths.
This pose is excellent for your digestion, as it works into the ascending and descending colon, helping with stomach aches, cramps and bloating, and streamlining digestion. It’s also called “Energy Freeing Pose” as it removes blockages and creates a sense of wellbeing mind and body.
5. Reclined Figure Four
From pose #4 above, add on by resting your right ankle on top of your left thigh. Thread your right arm through the triangle shape of your legs and interlace your fingers behind your left thigh.
Reclined Figure Four is basically Pigeon Pose on your back. It’s a gentle way to open your hips, and you can control how much of a stretch you want. By drawing the legs closer to your body, you’ll get a deeper hip opener. If your hips are feeling particularly tight today, then simply let the legs fall away from the body for a gentler stretch.
We tend to store physical tightness as well as emotions in our hips. This pose is a great way to release tension and let go of our day so we can relax physically and mentally.
6. Reclined Spinal Twist
Starting on your back, draw your knees into your chest and then allow both knees to fall to the right. Place a pillow between your knees, cactus your arms, and shift your gaze in the opposite direction. Stay here for 5-10 breaths (or as long as you’d like) and then switch sides.
Spinal twists decompress and realign the spinal column. Twists also rehydrate the spinal column, so they help keep your spine healthy and reduce any tension or aches – a great way to end your day. Placing a pillow between the knees takes pressure off your low back and makes this twist more restorative.
7. Happy Baby → Reclined Butterfly w/pillow beneath each knee and blanket over torso
On your back, allow your knees to fall open and grab onto the inner or outer blades of your feet. Gently pull your thighs towards the bed as you slowly rock side to side, massaging your lower back. To increase the stretch, you can straighten into one leg as you keep the other bent, and alternate back and forth.
From here, you can move into Reclined Butterfly by bringing the bottoms of your feet to touch and allowing the outer blades of your feet to rest on the bed. This stretch opens the hips and helps release tension to break up emotional stagnation. Drape a blanket over your torso to help relax the body even more.
Happy Baby with alternate leg stretches helps open the hips and lengthen the hamstrings, releasing tension in the areas that tend to store a lot of it. Reclined Butterfly continues opening the hips and creating more space in the body.
8. Legs Up the Wall
Hailed as one of the top stress-relieving poses, Legs Up the Wall can actually be done without a wall! If your bed is against a wall, feel free to use it. Either way, you’ll bring a pillow beneath your sacrum and lift your legs over your hips. If you’re not resting the back of your legs against a wall, simply allow them to stack and relax (which should be relatively effortless if stacked directly above the hips).
This pose reverses the energy flow and boosting circulation, which is incredibly good for the body. It also cultivates a sense of peace and calm, a perfect way to end your bedtime yoga sequence!!
Getting a good night’s rest is imperative for your health and wellbeing, and quality of life overall. We perform our best when we are well rested – and our health, mental clarity and focus, and mood are all improved with quality sleep.
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