25 Feb 6 calming yoga poses for a better night’s sleep
Written by Katie Fowler
Sleep is a huge subject and there are many theories out there on how to fall asleep, how much sleep we should be having, and even what your sleep should look like.
Some cases can look like people resisting bed time due to the scary thought of not being able fall asleep. Because of all the worry and angst, the person in fact does not fall asleep, thinks they have a problem and thus a vicious sleep problem cycle begins.
Yoga for sleep
There are many sleep aids and sleep therapy out there and one that is not given near enough credit is yoga. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a national survey found that over 55% of people who did yoga found that it helped them get better sleep. Over 85% said yoga helped reduce stress. Why not give it a try?
Now, stay with us. We don’t mean a whole 60 minute vinyasa flow class, or even yin. Sticking with three or less yoga poses can aid sleep due to their restorative nature and all you need is your bed and a wall and maybe a yoga block (hello good nights sleep).
With their being many restorative yoga poses for sleep, here at Power Living, we believe there is one that stands out from the rest, to be extremely effective in activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System (which helps to counteract stress and promote relaxation). Below we have listed six sleep-inducing yoga poses with our number one at the end.
Keep in mind that every body is different and what might work for some, may not work for others, so we have included six poses for you to mix and match, toss away or add in depending on your individual preference.
Six yoga poses to help you drift off
1. Legs up against the wall (Viparita Karani)
If you spend a lot of time on your feet or this pose is for you. Prop your lower back up on top of a block or pillow and have your legs extended upwards with the wall as your support.
Why is this our number one sleep-inducing yoga pose? One word. Circulation. Your circulation will improve in this pose, creating a soothing, healing effect on almost every system in your body, making you more than ready for sleep.
2. Neck release with block
For those with tightness in their necks, this pose is great to open up those muscles that carry us around all day. Use this pose with caution or omit if you have neck problems.
Place a block underneath your neck and tilt the block away from you so the block is now on an angle. Moving your head slowly from side to side can release neck pain significantly in this pose. Keep the head neutral and linger in those sticky spots to really get deep in there. This pose is basically a self neck massage and who doesn’t want that every night!?
3. Child’s pose (Balasana)
We always come back to this pose for a reason, it is where we find rest, comfort and safety. Child’s pose provides an excellent opportunity to breathe deeply into the back of the torso, something we can find hard to do in our busy daily lives.
For additional support you can place a pillow under your stomach or chest.
4. Sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
Release the days tension in your chest and shoulders with a Sphinx pose in the comfort of your own bed. When held this pose can soothe the nervous system. It is also a gentle back bending pose and can easily be done before lights out.
5. Supine twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
This twisting pose twists or ‘wrings’ the abdominal organs to improve circulation throughout the gut. The gut is responsible for the production of 90% of our body’s serotonin which affects our moods and in turn can lead to sleep disorder.
To help release tension, use each inhalation to create space in your abdomen and each exhalation to coax your muscles to adapt to the twist.
6. Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
A great hip-opening pose, place a pillow length ways underneath your back and with every exhale let go, deeper into the pillow and really feel the benefits of this supported inner hip opener. Supta Baddha Konasana can help to relive symptoms of stress, so start reclining all you corporate workers.
Head over to Yogaholics to see some sleep-inducing sequences.