Yoga Poses to Promote Better Sleep and Ease Insomnia
The National Institutes of Health estimates that around 30% of the US population suffers from sleep disruption, while approximately 10% experience daytime functional impairment consistent with symptoms of insomnia. With our busy schedules, too many of us struggle to get the sleep we need.
Did you know yoga can help you get to sleep faster and sleep better? Yoga is a restorative, meditative activity that centers the mind and relaxes the body. While it is not a one-size-fits-all solution for insomnia and other sleep-related disorders, it can be a beneficial part of your overall approach to mitigating your sleep issues.
Doing even just a few yoga poses before bed may make a big difference for you. So, what are the best poses for better sleep? Keep reading for our top five picks!
The Puppy Pose is a modification of the popular Child’s Pose, focusing more on stretching the spine and shoulders. We often carry tension in our back and shoulders, causing pain that can make it hard to get to sleep. This pose is particularly great for helping us get to sleep faster because putting the forehead to the ground stimulates the pituitary gland, which helps melatonin flow.
To do the Puppy Pose, get on all fours with your hips over your knees. Walk your hands out in front of you, arching your back, and drop your forehead to the floor. Be sure to breathe deeply.
The Forward Fold pose activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which slows down your bodily processes. This will help you relax, relieve tension, and get to sleep more quickly.
To do this pose, start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Take a deep breath, raise your arms over your head, then bend forward at the hips. Let your arms hang limply, deepening the stretch in your back and shoulders. Breathe deeply.
This pose can help your body detox, release tension, and relieve back pain, all of which will help you get to and stay asleep.
To perform the Supine Twist, lie flat on your back, inhale, and draw your knees towards your chest. Then, exhale, extend your arms out at shoulder height, and let your knees fall to one side of your body. Aim to keep both of your shoulder blades on the floor. Hold this pose for up to five minutes, breathing deeply, then repeat on the other side.
Child’s Pose is an excellent stretch for the legs, honing in on the hips, thighs, and ankles. Much like the Puppy Pose, this pose brings your forehead to the ground, stimulating your brain’s melatonin production. This pose is so relaxing that it’s often used as a break between challenging poses during yoga classes.
To do the Child Pose, start on all fours and widen your knees to be at least hip-width apart. Next, lower yourself so that you’re sitting on your heels. Exhale, and lower your torso to the ground with your arms extended in front of you. You can also lay your arms behind you to your side. Stay in this pose as long as you like, but try to get at least ten deep breaths.
Finally, there’s the Legs-on-the-Wall or the Legs-Up-the-Wall pose. This is a passive pose that redirects blood flow and relaxes the muscles, making it excellent for getting you ready to snooze. You’ll also feel a nice stretch in your hamstrings and spine.
To do this pose, find a place where you can lay against the wall. Lay on your back beside the wall and move so that your tailbone meets the wall, and your legs are up against the wall. If need be, you can add a pillow under you to make it more comfortable. Stay in this pose as long as you like, taking deep breaths.
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