The 9 best yoga poses for sleep: Stretch your way to a better slumber
Sleep deprivation is a horrible thing.
Whether your lack of sleep is caused by nightmares, problems with your health, or even issues with stress, it can often become a recurring cycle. Each night, many of us have trouble falling asleep because we’re anxious and nervous. The fact that we don’t get enough sleep then makes us feel more stressed the next day, and the problem continues.
According to a study from the Huffington Post, sleep deprivation is one of the major sources of stress among adults in the US, but it also impacts people around the world. By reducing your stress levels, relieving tension in the body, and calming the mind, yoga poses to induce sleep can make a huge difference to your nightly routine.
Engaging in the right yoga poses for sleep each night could be all it takes to overcome your feelings of anxiety and create a more restful environment when you go to bed.
Today, we’re going to look at 9 of the best yoga poses for insomnia, and how you can give them a try. Get ready to stretch away from your sleeping woes.
The best yoga poses for insomnia
Yoga is all about taking a break from our chaotic and fast-paced lives so that we can focus on how we feel and what we need to be comfortable. Yoga poses to help you sleep to ensure that you can recognise areas of tension in your body, and gradually release them, creating a greater sense of calm and relaxation.
During each of your yoga exercises for insomnia, you’ll hold the pose for a couple of seconds and feel the tension building in points of your body. While the stretching activity of yoga has a calming effect, the relaxation after each stretch helps to get rid of any physical issue that might be preventing you from drifting off to sleep.
Here are some of the best yoga positions for insomnia that you can try.
1. The hero pose
Otherwise known as Virasana, the hero pose is all about opening up your joints, getting rid of discomfort, and helping you to feel more loose and comfortable. The pose allows your blood to flow more freely, and it can also help to protect you against cracking, creaking, and unwanted injury too.
Kneel on your yoga mat, keeping your knees together, and your toes pointed, spread your feet a little so that you’re sitting on the floor, with the inner sides of your calf muscles touching your outer thighs.
Rest the palms of your hands on your knees and open up your hips. This might mean shifting slightly from left to right until you feel comfortable. You may feel a slight stretch throughout your legs — but that’s normal.
After sitting in the same position for a few minutes, extend your arms, bringing your palms together, and interlacing your fingers, then turn your palms away from you and raise your arms overhead. Use this extension to stretch your arms and your core.
As you move through this pose, remember to keep your breathing deep and even to slow your heart rate and keep your mind clear.
2. The child’s pose
Known as Balasana in most yoga circles, the child’s pose is a common choice for beginners, because it’s pretty easy to do. The child pose helps to stretch your ankles, thighs, and hips while reducing feelings of fatigue and stress. As one of the best yoga sleep poses, this position gently relaxes the muscles on the front of the body, while stretching the muscles in your back.
One of the things that makes this option one of the top yoga poses for sleep deprivation, is how great it is at relieving stress and soothing the brain. To perform this pose:
Start on your hands and knees, spreading your knees apart while ensuring that your big toes continue to touch each other.
Sit up straight and stretch out your spine, when you exhale, lean forward and drape your torso between your thighs. Your chest should be resting either just between or on top of your thighs at this point.
Keep your arms extended, palms facing the floor, and press back a little with your hands to keep your bum connected to your heels.
Hold for a minute or two, keeping your breathing steady.
3. Seated forward fold
This is one of those yoga poses for sleep disorders that has a bizarre name, “Paschimottanasana”. Though it might sound complicated, this is actually one of the easier yoga poses for beginners, as it doesn’t require a lot of flexibility.
The seated forward fold stretches various areas throughout your body, opening up your hips. Although some people use this position for running and hamstring lengthening, others find it very calming. Here’s how you can do a seated forward fold:
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, heels touching.
Point and flex your feet a couple of times, and point your toes up towards your face. Sit with your spine as straight as possible and reach your arms towards the sky.
As you exhale, fold forward and try to reach your toes. Let your hands rest on your ankles or feet and let your head tip forward to relax your neck.
Stay steady for one to five minutes as you breathe in and out very slowly.
Probably one of the more active yoga postures for insomnia, Waterfall requires slightly more balanced than some of the other poses that we’ve covered so far. However, this option should still be simple enough for most people to accomplish without help. The great thing about this supported inversion is that you can do it on your bed, resting your legs against the wall.
For people with sleeping problems, the waterfall pose relieves stress in the lower body, has a calming effect on your nervous system, and stretches out the hamstrings, which can be tight from sitting or standing all day. Start by:
Lying flat on your back with your arms by your sides.
Bring your needs up to your chest carefully, then extend your legs upwards, so that they’re resting against the wall in front of you, or just hovering by themselves.
You can keep your knees slightly bent, or stretch your legs out all of the way, depending on how you feel. Either way, close your eyes and relax.
Hold the position for at least 15 breaths.
5. Standing forward fold
Otherwise known as Uttanasana, the standing forward fold is another of the best yoga poses for sleep and relaxation, designed to soothe the mind and stretch the hamstrings. If you’re feeling uncomfortable from sitting at an office desk all day, then this is one of the best yoga sleep poses to help you get your body back into balance.
To perform this pose:
Stand with your feet a short distance apart, and fold your body forwards, reaching out towards your toes, or grabbing your ankles if you can.
Keep your legs straight and your bottom high in the air, stretching your entire body down towards the floor.
Hold onto your position for at least fifteen seconds. Some people like to sway gently from one side to another — but you don’t need to do that if you don’t feel comfortable.
6. Happy baby pose
For the most part, babies have no trouble getting to sleep — except for when you desperately want them to settle down at night. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a leaf out of your toddler’s book and trying the Ananda Balasana pose. One of the most highly regarded yoga poses for sleep disorders, the happy baby pose opens up your hip joints and gets you ready for sleep.
There’s also something strangely comforting about being in this position — perhaps because it reminds you of the wonders of being a child. Start by:
Lying on your back, bending your knees into your belly on an exhale.
Grab the outsides of your feet with your hands or hold onto your ankles if you can’t totally reach and pull your feet towards your armpits.
Let your knees spread wide apart and roll gently from side to side as you hold the pose, to give your back a little massage.
7. Twisted roots
When you’re having trouble with sleep, some of the best yoga positions for insomnia are the ones that stretch out your spine and make you feel looser throughout your body. The twisted roots pose is an excellent way for getting rid of any aches and pains from the day you’re leaving behind. Some experts believe that this position also gives you a gentle massage for your digestive organs, which is great for digestion before bed.
From your happy baby pose, bring your legs down to rest your heels on the bed or floor, and keep your knees pointing up to the ceiling.
Push through your heels, lifting your hips and placing them back on the bed. Bring your knees towards your chest, stopping where you feel most comfortable, then let them fall onto the bed.
Spread your arms and allow them to drop to the other side of your knees then look in the opposite direction to your knees so that your entire body is twisted.
8. Sleeping butterfly
Another of the top yoga poses to help you sleep, this fantastic position is great for opening up the hips, which can end up getting tight when you sit for too long. The sleeping butterfly pose is also fantastic for stretching out the lower back.
Sit up with your legs stretched out in front of you and your heels pressed together.
Inhale slowly and stretch your back out, so that your spine is as straight as possible, then gently fold forward, bringing your forehead down towards your feet.
Stop stretching forwards when you can feel the tightness in your back. You might not be able to rest your head against your feet, and that’s fine.
9. Supported child’s pose
Finally, this is probably one of the best yoga poses for insomnia to end your routine on when you’re going to bed. It’s great for stretching out the hips and back for one final time. However, the supported child’s pose is also great for soothing the central nervous system too.
Take a pillow or a rolled-up blanket and sit on one end of the cushion, with your thighs spread either side and your bum against your heels. Then:
Bend forward to rest your body against the pillow, keeping your head turned to one side. Keep your heels together if you can.
Relax fully into the pillow, as though you’re giving it a big hug. Let the comfortable material hold your weight, and while you do, let go of the thoughts in your mind.
Stay in this cosy position for at least ten breaths, then repeat with your head facing the other direction.
Trying yoga poses to induce sleep
Using yoga postures for insomnia is one of the best ways to wind down when you’re having trouble drifting off at night. As part of a full sleeping routine, including a nice cup of hot tea or a warm bath before bed, yoga can be a great way to tackle a range of sleeping disorders.
Some people spend up to 45 minutes on yoga before they fall asleep each night, but it’s up to you how long your routine takes. One of the best things you can do to boost your chances of a successful yoga strategy for better sleep is to create a regime you can stick to every night. If you follow the same rhythm each evening, your mind and body will begin to associate each stretch with winding down for sleep.
Remember to keep the poses as simple as possible too if you’re a beginner; you don’t want to risk injury just before you go to sleep.
If you need more tips and insights on how to cure sleep issues naturally, remember to check out our articles here at siestio.com.