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Nighttime Namaste: How Yoga Can Help You Sleep

Nighttime Namaste: How Yoga Can Help You Sleep

A couple of years ago, I suffered from serious insomnia. I would lie there in bed, unable to slow down my racing mind. I worried about tomorrow. I worried about yesterday. I thought about everything from the grocery list to world hunger. 

And I know I wasn't alone. Sleep experts believe that one quarter of all adults suffer from some sort of sleeping disorder. Some people cannot fall asleep at night. Others fall asleep but wake up shortly after. Not being able to sleep is wildly frustrating. But it also affects mental and physical health. Lack of proper sleep can lead to depression, anxiety, diabetes, heart problems and many other chronic conditions. 

Yoga Helps You Unwind

I'm not sure why I started having difficulty sleeping, but I know that yoga is what helped me overcome it. After a doctor mentioned that I try yoga and meditation, I did my own research. Yoga can help calm your mind and release all that physical tension from the day. It helps combat stress and relaxes your body.

The very first time I performed yoga, I slept better. Each following day, I fell asleep a little bit easier and stayed asleep a little bit longer. Performing yoga before bedtime became part of my routine, and it still is today. After a month of nighttime yoga, I was sleeping through the night on most nights.

I was like a new woman! A good night's sleep can do wonders for the mind and body. 

3 Yoga Poses to Help you Sleep at Night

Here are five poses that will help you get some shuteye tonight. You should perform these yoga poses 30 minutes to an hour before bed, although I've even done them in bed. Hold each pose for at least 3 to 5 minutes or until you can feel the tension leaving your body.

1. The Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Most yoga sessions end with the corpse pose for good reason. It is a highly beneficial pose for calming the mind and body. As the name suggests, you mimic a corpse in this pose.

  • Lie flat on your back with your feet stretched to the edges of your mat.
  • Relax your arms by your sides with your palms facing up.
  • Push your shoulders down and away from your ears

Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Feel your belly expand and contract as you breathe. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Child's Pose (Shashankasana) 

The child's pose feels wonderful, and it is well known for relieving tension in the back and neck.

  • Sit on your knees with your back straight.
  • Bend forward until your forehead reaches the floor while keeping your hips on your knees.
  • Relax your arms by your side or above your head

Close your eyes and focus on your breath. With each exhale, feel the stress leaving your body and your mind relaxing.

3. Legs on the Wall

The legs on the wall pose is a great yoga pose for the end of the day, especially for those who stand on their feet throughout the day. It is well known for improving circulation to the lower part of your body.

  • Lie down flat on your back with your hips touching the wall and legs straight against the wall. Your body should form a 90 degree angle.
  • Keep your legs together or stretch the inner thigh by opening your legs wider. 
  • Place your hands by your side or on your belly.

Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Feel the blood pumping through your body and pushing away the tensions from the day.

Sleeping Tips

Sleeping issues can affect your entire life. They can even affect the lives of the people you care most about. If you are suffering from sleep deprivation, give yoga a try. In addition, here are a few more helpful tips for a good night's rest.

  • Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.
  • Avoid watching TV or using electronics for an hour before bedtime.
  • Develop a nighttime routine that lets your body and mind know bedtime is approaching. Make yoga part of this routine.
  • Make your bedroom dark and cool.
  • Spend 10 minutes a day planning out your next day. This way you don't lie awake thinking of all you have to do the next day.

The yoga poses outlined here are helpful for relaxation and releasing tension. They calm the mind and allow you to rest. By practicing yoga before bed, you will gain control of your thoughts and allow your body to relax and prepare for an amazing night's sleep. 

Sweet dreams!

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