This National Bed Month, we're exploring ways to soothe the body and mind for a good night's sleep.
If you struggle to get a good night's sleep, you're not alone. Studies show that one in eight Britons (12%) report having difficulty falling asleep every night, and only 8% say they never experience any issues.
In previous articles, we shared tips on creating a relaxing bedtime routine and breathing exercises to do before bed. Today, we'll focus on yoga for sleep and guide you through some of our favourite bedtime yoga poses.
CAN YOGA HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER?
Definitely! Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. It has been shown to have a positive effect on sleep quality and duration.
Yoga can help you feel better by:
- Reducing stress: Yoga can help reduce stress levels, which can interfere with sleep. Practising yoga regularly can help you feel more relaxed and calm, leading to better sleep.
- Promoting relaxation: Yoga poses and breathing techniques can help promote relaxation, which is essential for falling asleep. Certain poses, such as forward folds and restorative poses, can help release tension in the body and calm the mind.
- Regulating the nervous system: The practice of yoga can help regulate the nervous system, which plays a role in sleep. Practising yoga can help balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, leading to better sleep.
- Improving sleep quality: Studies have found that practising yoga can improve sleep quality, including increasing the amount of deep sleep and reducing the number of awakenings during the night.
Incorporating yoga into your daily routine can help promote better sleep. However, it's essential to note that yoga alone may not be enough to address sleep problems, and it should be combined with other healthy sleep habits, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleep environment.
WHICH TYPE OF YOGA IS BEST FOR SLEEP?
Several types of yoga can be helpful for improving sleep, here are some of the most effective ones:
Restorative yoga involves holding gentle, supportive poses for an extended period of time, usually with the aid of props such as blankets and bolsters. It helps to release tension in the body, calm the mind, and promote deep relaxation, making it a great choice for improving sleep.
Yin Yoga involves holding poses for several minutes at a time, focusing on deep breathing and relaxation. It helps to increase flexibility, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality.
Also known as yogic sleep, Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation technique that helps you to achieve a state of deep relaxation while remaining fully awake. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, and tension, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Hatha yoga is a gentle form of yoga that involves holding poses for a few breaths before transitioning to the next pose. It helps to release tension in the body, reduce stress, and promote relaxation, making it a good choice for improving sleep.
Overall, any form of yoga that focuses on gentle, calming movements and deep relaxation can be beneficial for improving sleep. It is recommended to consult with a qualified yoga teacher to find a practice that is suitable for your individual needs and preferences.
8 YOGA POSES FOR SLEEP TO TRY IN BED
Incorporating these yoga poses for sleep into your bedtime routine can provide a sense of calm and relaxation, promote restful sleep and improve your overall health and well-being.
Sit comfortably with your legs crossed and your hands resting on your knees. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to calm your mind.
SEATED FORWARD FOLD
Stretch your legs out in front of you and fold forward, reaching for your toes or shins. Keep your spine long and your breath slow and steady.
BOUND ANGLE POSE
Sit with the soles of your feet together and your knees wide apart. Gently fold forward, keeping your spine straight and your breath steady.
Scoot your hips up to the wall and swing your legs up, resting your heels against the wall. You can place a pillow or blanket under your hips for support.
HAPPY BABY POSE
Lie on your back and draw your knees into your chest. Then bring your legs up, holding onto the outside edges of your feet or ankles. Gently rock side to side to release tension in your lower back.
SUPINE SPINAL TWIST
Lie on your back and draw your knees into your chest. Then bring your arms out to the sides and lower your knees to one side, keeping your shoulders and opposite hip grounded. Repeat on the other side.
From hands and knees, lower your hips back onto your heels and stretch your arms forward, resting your forehead on the bed.
Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, palms facing up. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, allowing your body to fully relax.