Does your mind race at bedtime, preventing you from drifting off? If relaxation techniques like herbal tea aren’t calming your thoughts, try doing some gentle yoga before bed. Certain poses can reduce stress and ready both mind and body for sleep.
Yoga’s capacity to lower cortisol and ease anxiety is supported by research. This makes a short pre-bedtime yoga flow ideal for insomniacs. The following beginner-friendly sequence takes about 20-30 minutes and targets areas that store tension.
Yoga Lowers Cortisol and Benefits Sleep
Studies demonstrate that yoga decreases levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. High cortisol is linked to insomnia, so yoga’s stress-relieving effects can pave the way for better sleep.
Research also found yoga comparable to antidepressants in combatting anxiety and depression. By managing mood disorders, a regular yoga practice can improve sleep troubles related to mental health.
Even a brief pre-bedtime yoga session can make falling asleep easier by releasing physical and mental tension. These 8 poses are designed to promote full-body relaxation.
1. Cat-Cow Pose
Come to hands and knees with a flat back. Inhale, arch spine, lift head upwards and look ahead for “Cow Pose.” Exhale, round spine upward and tuck chin towards chest for “Cat Pose.” Moving between the two stretches the back, core and neck.
2. Forward Bend
Standing with feet hip-width apart, exhale and hinge forward at the hips to hang arms down. Bend knees to modify. Holding the pose gently stretches the back body from calves to crown.
3. Bridge Pose
Lying on back, bend knees and plant feet hip-width apart on floor. Inhale, lift hips up into a bridge, keeping arms extended by sides or beneath back for support. This strengthens and opens the front of the hips and core.
4. Happy Baby
From Bridge Pose, lie on back and draw knees into chest. Inhale and grab outer edges of feet with hands, opening knees wide to lower back towards floor. Gently rock side to side to massage lower spine.
5. Legs Up The Wall
Sit sideways beside a wall. Exhale, swing legs up wall while lying on back. Arms rest palms-up on floor. This inverts the body to stimulate circulation and ease tired legs.
6. Child’s Pose
From all fours, sink hips back to rest chest on thighs as you reach arms forward. A full-body stretch, this pose slowly releases tension from head to toe. Hold for 5-10 long, deep breaths.
7. Seated Spinal Twist
Sit with legs extended. Cross right foot over left thigh and twist torso left, elbow pressing gently on right knee. This twisting motion decompresses the spine and stimulates organs. Repeat other side.
8. Butterfly Pose
Sit upright with soles of feet pressed together. Hold feet with hands and flap knees up and down like butterfly wings to loosen hips and inner thighs. Breathe deeply.
Finish in Savasana corpse pose, lying on back with eyes closed for 5-10 minutes. Let all effort melt away as you drift into sleep.