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How to Use Yoga for Better Sleep

by BetterSleep
Jun 29 • 4 min read

A little yoga before bed could be just what you need to get quality sleep. For the best results, be consistent with your practice and consider adding meditation and yoga intentions for sleep.

Does Yoga Improve Sleep?

Yes, yoga can potentially help you sleep better—more than half of people who practice yoga report that it improves their sleep. More than three-quarters of those people also reported that yoga reduces their stress, which may be one of the reasons it’s so good for sleep.

Research also backs up these reports. One recent paper reviewed numerous studies investigating the impact of yoga and other mind-body practices on sleep. The study authors concluded that these practices help treat insomnia.

Yoga Poses for Bedtime

You don’t need to be an expert yogi to get the benefits of yoga. In fact, it’s the simpler, calming poses that you can use before bed to relax, unwind, and prepare for a good night’s sleep:

  • Child’s Pose. Kneel on a mat with your shins and the tops of your feet flat against the floor. Bend forward at the waist as far as you can, even resting your forehead on the mat. Let your arms relax alongside you, palms up.
  • Legs up the Wall. Lie on the floor facing a wall and with the backs of your legs pressed against the wall. Aim for a right angle in your hips, but if you don’t have that flexibility yet, push back from the wall a little to increase the angle.
  • Reclined Butterfly. Lying on a mat, press the bottoms of your feet together, letting your knees drop outward to the sides of your body.
  • Corpse Pose. This resting position in yoga is usually reserved for the end of a yoga session. It should help you feel rested and calm. Lie on your back with arms and legs straight and relaxed. Focus on relaxing your muscles and feeling as if you are sinking into the floor.

Combine Yoga and Meditation

Any of these still and relaxed positions can be combined with meditative practice. Meditation has a similar positive benefit on sleep. Especially important is mindfulness, meditations that help you focus on the present moment, and quiet intrusive thoughts. If you’re new to it, try guided meditations while in your favorite pose.

Try Yoga Nidra for Sleep

Yoga Nidra is a form of yoga that promotes deep relaxation, which is conducive to better sleep. Unlike meditation, during Yoga Nidra, the goal is to enter a state of consciousness that is similar to sleep. It helps you rest and heal while remaining conscious.

Yoga Nidra dampens the autonomic nervous system, which means it slows your heart rate and breathing while decreasing blood pressure. It reduces stress and anxiety and should leave you feeling deeply relaxed.

There are many ways to practice yoga. A relaxing, slow, and easy practice before bed, with meditation or Yoga Nidra, can help you sleep better and feel more rested during the day.

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