Five Yoga Poses for a Better Night’s Sleep

Katherine Smith
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What do water, food, and sleep have in common? They are all essential to our survival, and key elements of our existence. Sleep is an essential part of our existence.
 
If you are one of the millions that struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, you can attest to the value of a good night’s rest. The catch-22 about not sleeping well is that the longer you lay awake at night wishing you could fall asleep, the harder it is to actually fall asleep. Your mind focuses on all the things you have to do tomorrow, and suddenly you’re more awake because you’re stressed.
 
Lucky for us, there is a way to combat these difficult sleepless nights. Enter yoga. Sleep issues often arise because we have busy lives and don’t give ourselves ample time to decompress. Yoga before hitting the sack can be a really beneficial way of pacifying the nervous system, helping you shift from a state of stress to one of tranquility and calm.
 
Gentle, restorative yoga poses are proven to have a positive impact on sleeping soundly. Yoga before bed will calm the mind, relax the body, and lead you into a good night’s sleep so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.
 

Here are 5 yoga poses for you to try before bed for a better night’s rest:

 
Reclined Cobblers Pose with a bolster
To do this pose, sit on your mat and bring a bolster to your sacrum at the base of the spine, then lay down over it. Bring the soles of the feet together and allow the knees to open to the sides. Place additional pillows beneath the thighs if you need extra support. Psst…props are your friends, especially for these sleepy-time poses! Find them here: (link to yoga block, bolster, blanket, mat, and strap here)
 
Performing Reclined Cobbler (Supta Badhakonasana) with a bolster will bring the spine into a gentle arch, which helps open the chest and heart center, releasing stress. The hips and pelvis are areas in the body that store emotions. The hip opening action of this pose will break up emotional stagnation in the body.

If you want extra comfort, try placing a blanket over the chest. This helps add weight so you feel protected and safe.

Remain here for 5-10 minutes, breathing deeply.

 

Sit in Easy Pose
Come to siting cross-legged in easy pose (Sukasana) with a prop (either a block, bolster, or folded blanket) beneath the buttocks to add length to the spine. Focus your attention on lifting and lengthening from the sit bones to the crown, ensuring the lower ribs tuck in slightly and the shoulders draw down the back. Gently rest your hands on your knees and release any tension through the neck, shoulders, and arms. Close the eyes and bring your attention to your breath.
 
Sit between 5-15 minutes. Try not to dwell on the events of the day, but instead witness and release them as though you were a casual observer.

 

 
Supported Childs Pose with a pillow of blanket beneath the forehead
Child pose or balasana is a wonderful posture to restore calm due to it’s grounding nature.
Come into Childs pose by kneeling on your mat. Bring the big toes together and the knees slightly apart. Place the bolster between the knees and bring the chest to rest upon it.
 
Add a blanket beneath your head and rest your right ear on the blanket to relax the neck. Remain here for 10-15 minutes, bringing the opposite ear to the blanket halfway through for an even rotation through the neck.

You can even do this pose in bed before you are about to go to sleep.

 

Legs Up the Wall Pose
First place your mat or a blanket against the wall. Scoot the buttocks all the way against the wall edge. When you are close, bring the legs above the body, and rest them against the wall, with your feet towards the ceiling. Add whatever additional props you feel will help you relax, like an extra blanket beneath the head or over the body. Try to allow the legs to relax. If it feels like it takes too much effort to keep them from sliding apart, try using a belt to bind them.
 
Inverting the legs this way can feel very therapeutic, especially if you have spent all day on your feet or sitting at a desk. By inverting the legs, you are reversing the energy flow and encouraging good circulation and lymphatic drainage.

 

Supported Corpse Pose
Using props in Corpse pose or Savasana can really change the experience of this final resting pose. Bring a bolster beneath the knees to release the lower back and place a small pillow or blanket beneath the head. Bring blocks under the wrists to take any strain from the arms and hands. Place an extra blanket for weight and comfort over the belly or chest.
 
If you have one, bring an eye pillow (link to eye pillow here) over the eyes and focus your attention on allow the body and relax and soften as much as you are consciously able to. Perhaps try a spray of lavender essential oil to enhance your relaxation. (link to lavender essential oil spray here) Remain here for 10 minutes.

 

Final Step : Set your stage

As you wind down the evening, limit the amount of TV you watch, in addition to loud and over-stimulating music. Instead dim the lights, light candles, opt for soothing music and change into comfy, sensual fabrics.

Don’t forget to cut out stimulants! Curb the caffeine and simple sugars. These have the potential to keep you wired well into the night.

Get ready for bed before performing these poses. This way, once you’ve finished your practice, you only need to climb into bed and there will be little to disturb your meditative state.

After you finish your poses, keep your connection to the clarity and calm you cultivated on your mat. Get into bed and let yourself get super comfy while you continue to train your attention on your breath. Relax in knowing that you’ve done something great for yourself, and trust that you will soon experience the good night’s sleep your body deserves. Sweet dreams ☺

This article has been read 10K+ times. Bada bing!

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Katherine Smith

I am a yoga teacher and writer filled with wanderlust. I have a finely tuned appetite for adventure and a healthy thirst for cocktails and coffee. I am inspired by simple pleasures. I am passionate about all things wellbeing, making people happy and standing on my hands. I love shoes, feeding friends and snuggles. I host yoga retreats across the globe intended to uplift, nourish and stir the soul.

katherinesmithyoga.com

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