Constant stress and tension may lead to the feeling that you can’t let go of the day’s fuss and relax before you go to sleep. Still, there is a natural and safe way to deal with sleep issues and even insomnia in the long run.
To unwind before bedtime and prepare your body to sleep, go for calming yoga types. Yoga Nidra or Yin yoga will reduce stress reactions and help you sleep better as they include slow-paced sequences and breathing techniques.
High-activity Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow are not recommended in the evening but will be a good choice for a morning practice.
Why Does Yoga Improve Sleep?
Your nervous system contains two parts: sympathetic and parasympathetic.
The first one deals with activating your body’s functions – like raising blood pressure, increasing your heart and breathing rate to prepare your muscles to “run or fight” reaction. This is one of the most ancient reflexes in your body that helps to react to the danger situations adequately. And that is a good thing if such a reaction takes several minutes. But think of what happens if you are constantly staying under stress? And your body is continually being in this tension? The resources of your organism exhaust. You start feeling tired even in the morning; you can’t’ relax and rest properly.
If this becomes a chronic situation – you prone to be anxious, depressed, and experience sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Here where yoga and its effect on the parasympathetic division of your nervous system come into action. Stretching your muscles with yoga exercises and slowing down your breath helps to reduce the stress hormones produced in the body. Your brain gets the signal you are in a safe place and can rest. In that way, you sleep better and feel well-rested as you wake up.
Doing basic yoga for sleep will help you fall asleep faster and feel refreshed as you wake up. The latest survey confirms that 55% of yogis started sleeping like babies. Wanna be among them – read on!
Which Yoga Is Best For Better Sleep?
There are different yoga types, but it’s a good idea to stick to those focusing more on slowing down. No matter if you are an experienced yogi or a novice, you can use the below exercises before you go to bed.
Put them together as a sequence or do one by one.
Start in a cross-legged position. Make your back flat, lengthen the spine. Exhale and dive into a twist to one side. Place one hand behind you and another on your knee. Gaze behind you or close your eyes. Stay for several breathes and repeat on another side.
Sit down on your mat. Bend left leg, placing your sole along the inner thigh of the right leg. Inhale, lengthen your back and fold to the right leg.
Grab your sole with your arms. If that’s difficult, place your palms on both sides of your leg and stretch to your shin. Try to keep your back flat, pressing your belly to the thigh of the right leg.
Butterfly Pose (With Props)
Put your soles together and slide them a bit wider to the front line of your mat. Let your knees fall freely to the ground. It’s ok if knees don’t reach the floor – you can use blocks underneath to support knees for a more relaxed variation.
Happy Baby Pose
Savasana or Corpse Pose