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Yoga Before Bedtime

Yoga Before Bedtime

Struggling to fall asleep? Too many thoughts and distractions from the day keeping you awake at night? Practicing yoga before bed for beginners is an effective way to let go of external attachments and fall into a deep, restful sleep. Adding a relaxing yoga routine will improve your quality of sleep, even if your duration is the same. It will give your nervous system and mind the much needed time to refuel and rest. Yoga has both, stimulating as well as calming practices. Stimulating practices are best done in the morning hours and calming down practices should be done in the evening. This article will explore the calming practices you can do before bedtime. 

Yoga before bedtime benefits

Relieves insomnia

Practicing yoga regularly can help you manage insomnia. Yoga for instant sleep will help you fall asleep quicker, sleep for longer, and go back to sleep after waking up at night, if that frequently happens to you. In addition, studies show that those who practiced meditation, tai chi, and qigong experienced improved sleep patterns.

Yoga before sleep for weight loss

Regular yoga practice is related to weight loss. Doing yoga before bed helps you sleep better, which has a positive effect on weight maintenance and weight loss. It may also help you to be more mindful of your eating habits, which will help with weight management. 

Improves quality of life

Yoga is a natural alternative to medical aids for sleep, even in older adults. It calms the nervous system, relaxes the mind and body and promotes sleep, which over time eliminates the need for medicines. 

Promotes relaxation

Holistically, yoga calms the mind and body, and promotes the relaxation response. This is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. Doing calming yoga poses may help you to relax, lower cortisol levels and enter a lower state of arousal. This also lowers blood pressure and alleviates stress related problems like weight gain, anxiety, etc. 

Yoga postures to help you sleep better 

Legs up on the wall pose

This posture releases pain, tiredness and stiffness from the legs and back. It promotes blood circulation back up the body and calms down the nervous system. 

How to do legs up on the wall pose: 

  • Lie down with your buttocks close to a wall and legs falling to one side. Now slowly lift the legs up along the wall. Adjust your position to make sure you are as close to the wall as possible. Make sure you are comfortable.  
  • Now relax the throat and head. Keep the arms on the side of the body or above your head - whichever is comfortable for you. 
  • Stay here for a couple of minutes. Try to take slow, deep breaths. 
  • To come out of the posture, slowly drop the legs to one side and push yourself away from the wall.
Legs up on the wall pose

Reclined butterfly pose

This is also a calming restorative posture that quiets the nervous system and releases stress. It encourages blood circulation in the hips, pelvic and abdominal region. You can even do this while lying down in bed. 

How to do reclined butterfly pose: 

  • Lie down with the back straight. Now bend the legs and bring the feet as close to the groin as you can. Join the soles of the feet together. 
  • Relax the hands beside the body. 
  • If possible, bring the feet closer to the groin.  
  • If you are comfortable, you can also try to slowly push the thighs and knees towards the bed. Remember to be gentle and do as much as possible. 
  • Engage the core so you are able to hold the posture. Keep your attention on the stretch in the groin, inner thighs and back. 
  • Stay here for a few slow, deep breaths. This will help you relax in the posture. 

 

Reclined butterfly pose

Child’s pose

A favorite relaxing asana for many, this posture improves flexibility while lengthening and stretching the spine. It promotes blood circulation to the head and brain and is useful in relaxing the nervous system. 

How to do child’s pose: 

  • Kneel down on your mat with your knees about hip width apart. 
  • Now slowly bend forward bringing your forehead on the mat. Your arms should be stretched out in front of the body. 
  • You can also place a cushion below your forehead. 
  • Stay here for a few slow deep breaths and then gently come back up. 

 

Child’s pose

Reclined spinal twist

This posture can also be done lying in bed. It releases the tension and pain from the lower back, and relaxes the entire body. 

How to do reclined spinal twist:  

  • Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the floor with your knees pointing up toward the ceiling.
  • Press into your feet to lift your hips slightly off the floor and shift them about an inch to your right. Exhale and draw your right knee into your chest and extend your left leg flat on the floor.
  • Exhale and cross your right knee over your midline to the floor on the left side of your body. Your right hip is now stacked on top of your left hip. You can hook your right foot behind your left knee if you like.
  • Open your right arm to the right, keeping it in line with your shoulders. Rest your left hand on your right knee or extend it to make a T shape with the arms. Turn your palms toward the ceiling.
  • Turn your head to the right, bringing your gaze over your shoulder to your right fingertips. As you exhale, release your left knee and your right shoulder toward the floor. After staying here for a few breaths, release the posture and repeat on the other side. 
Reclined spinal twist

Corpse pose

Known as Savasana, you can do this lying in bed. You can also practice deep breathing, yoga nidra or chanting a mantra. The peace and tranquility induced from doing this posture will immediately help you sleep. 

How to do corpse pose: 

  • Lie down on your back and keep your legs slightly apart 
  • Bring your arms alongside your body, but slightly away 
  • Tuck your shoulder blades onto your back for support
  • Now release and completely let go onto your mat 
  • Breathe naturally and relax here 
Corpse pose

Guided relaxation or Yoga Nidra 

One of the best yogic practices to help you sleep better, yoga nidra works on the subconscious mind. It helps you release thoughts, stress and attachments from your day while promoting a deep state of relaxation. The practice involves lying down, breathing deeply, and following the verbal cues that work to calm your mind and melt away tension.

Bedtime yoga tips 

It takes time to form new habits. However, start small and with a few minutes of practice and slowly increase to about 20-minutes. Once you start seeing a difference in your sleep quality, you will be more motivated to follow through. 

Avoid practicing fast-paced, dynamic yoga or exercises in the late evening. These practices will pump your body with energy, making it harder to fall asleep. Keep these for the first half of the day. In the evenings focus more on calming, restorative and relaxing practices, or even breathwork and meditation. 

Create a calming environment in your bedroom. Use dim lighting and avoid the usage of electronics, especially your phone at night. Read a book or listen to some relaxing music at night instead. 

Bedtime yoga can be extremely beneficial if you’ve been struggling with restful sleep. Relax and loosen up muscle tension and tightness, and calm the nervous system with these practices. It might take a few weeks to see results, but we’re sure you will love the changes. 

Author
Yoga Before Bedtime
Shvasa Editorial Team

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Yoga Before Bedtime

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