Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep

A blog from Ignite Owner, Bobbi Billman – May 2019

Have trouble sleeping?  You’re in good company.  Based on research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, over one-third of Americans have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.  The pace of our hectic lives, the non-stop bombardment of stimuli, and our seemingly never-ending To Do lists are among the reasons why more and more of us find it challenging to fall asleep at night or to stay asleep once we manage to drift off.  So what can we do to help combat this ever growing trend?

Well, for one thing, how about a couple of yoga poses before bed?  That’s right — yoga at bedtime.  There are countless benefits to practicing yoga on a consistent basis, and improved  sleep habits is among them.  But how does yoga help with sleep? 

For one thing, by its very nature, yoga causes us to slow down and go inside ourselves, connecting with our breath.  Gently stretching the body can help it to relax in preparation for a good night’s sleep.  In essence, you are triggering the relaxation response in your nervous system.  Slowing down and being still helps to trigger your body and mind and prepare it for sleep, especially when done as a part of a nightly routine. 

Additionally, stretching out the body can help release some of the tightness and tension in the muscles that can otherwise make falling asleep or staying asleep more difficult.  Helping the body to let go of at least some of the stress and tension it has collected throughout the day goes a long way toward being able to sleep well at night.

So with all that said, what are my go-to bedtime yoga poses?  Here’s a short list I recommend to help you unwind at the end of the day and prepare for a good night’s sleep:

  1. Standing Forward fold
  2. Reclining Bound Angle
  3. Legs Up the Wall
  4. Easy Seated pose
  5. Nadi Sodhana breath
  6. Savasana

Make these into a short 5-10 minute yoga routine or just pick one or two to do individually, either way taking a few moments before bed to relax into these poses will increase your ability to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer… and who doesn’t love that!  Make this a consistent habit and watch how your sleep improves!

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