Sleep disorders are annoyingly common these days. Whether it's stress building up or the influence of blue light from your computer or smartphone screen, you're probably one of the millions of people struggling with insomnia of some kind. Many of them turn to pills, but a short yoga routine is often overlooked. How about you put those pills aside and try a 15 minute yoga routine for better sleep?
What kind of yoga is best before bed?
Your goal is to find a routine that will fully relax you as opposed to energizing practice. Best option is a sequence of gentle, basic postures. The flow should be slow-paced, possibly filled with simple breathing exercises and finished with seated meditation or Corpse pose. No power poses, just gentle twists, stretches and poses with your head down (please, note that inversions are good for more advanced practitioners who can get into them easily).
Yoga poses for better sleep that can be used by beginners
The list of yoga poses that are recommended for sleep improvement typically includes the following positions:
Standing forward bends (i.e. Uttanasa, Padahastasana)
Try it: Raise your straight hands above your head, stretch the spine and gently bend down with a straight back. Don't strain, if you can't keep your back straight, stop where it feels comfortable or use blocks to relax in the bend. Don't press yourself to go lower, don't do "springs", just stay bent.
Sukhasana with a twist
Try it: Sit down with your legs crossed comfortably. Slightly turn to the right and place your right hand behind your buttocks. Your left hand can rest on the right knee. Control the depth of the twist using your arms, but don't get too far. Repeat for the other side. The twist should help you to gently release the tension from your spine,take away the excess air from your digestive system and generally get rid of all the tension stored in different body parts.
Feet up the wall
Try it: Lie down on your back with your buttocks a few inches away from the wall. Basically, the distance depends on how your hamstrings feel. If you can handle a deeper stretch, shift closer to the wall, if you feel the tension, slide away from it. Relax and feel all the weight of the day leaving your feet and legs.
Supta Baddha Konasana
Try it: Lie down on your back comfortably. Bend your legs and place your feet close together, but not too close to your buttocks. Then let your legs open so that they form a type of diamond shape. Breathe calmly.
Try it: Lie down on your back, arms stretched away from your body, palms down. Raise your bent legs so that the hips become perpendicular to the floor and carefully lower them to the right. If your knees can't reach the floor (or maybe the mattress, if you do this in your bed), you can put a pillow under them. Repeat for the other side.
Try it: Sit on your heels and lower your body on your knees. Place your hands at your sides or stretch them forward, above your head. Ideally, your forehead should touch the floor, but if you find it hard to do, put your fists under your forehead to support it and rest in this position.
How to make your bedroom routine even more effective
- Allow yourself to completely shut off all the stressful thoughts. It's late, there's not much you can do about things, so worrying is pointless anyway.
- Concentrate on how your body feels. Listen to your heart beating, your lungs working, tension leaving the joints as you move into a new pose.
- Remember to breathe as you do all the moves, breathe calmly and deeply.
- Don't think about how you will sleep after you finish. Just be.
For how long should I practice yoga before I sleep?
Like we said, 15 minutes is an optimum duration for a bedtime routine. But you should always listen to your body: if you feel like finishing half-way through the planned sequence, do so.
How often do I need to practice yoga before bed?
If you start doing yoga before bed every night of the week, you’ll probably find that it becomes a part of your bedtime routine. And routines are very good for soothing our minds, which is exactly what we need for deep and peaceful sleep. On the flip side, if you feel too tired to do any yoga, break this routine, go to bed and enjoy your restful sleep .