You may have heard that exercising right before bed is likely to keep you awake. This is certainly true for vigorous exercise because it causes an adrenaline rush that leaves you too keyed up to sleep. But you don’t have to eliminate all forms of exercise from your bedtime ritual – there is one form of exercise that has been proven to actually reduce insomnia and give you an express ticket to dreamland. For centuries, people all over the world have practiced certain postures and practices of yoga for good sleep.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert or take months of classes to start to feel the benefits of yoga for sleep. Simply by practicing yoga alternate nostril breathing you will release tension and soothe your mind and body for a quick transition to sleep. If you are wakeful during the night, yoga breathing will help you drift back to sleep quickly.
To benefit further from yoga for good sleep, add some simple stress-reducing poses to your bedtime ritual.
- The corpse pose is the simplest and you should make every effort to fall asleep in this pose. Practice the corpse pose along with your breathing, and feel the tensions of the day seep away. The benefits of sleeping in the corpse pose extend beyond speeding up your ability to fall asleep. It fights acid reflux, keeps your internal organs in good alignment, eliminates stress on your joints, and does not cause the wrinkles that side sleepers experience. This pose is easy enough to use with some guided imagery techniques if you want teach your young children the benefits of yoga for good sleep.
- If you find that your sleep is frequently disturbed by excessive restlessness, try the legs up the wall pose before you hit the sack. It is especially beneficial for those who suffer with night-time restless legs. This pose earns five stars on your yoga for good sleep list because it relaxes your mind while destressing your legs, back and circulatory system. It also calms your adrenal glands when they have been churning out cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Another simple pose on the yoga for good sleep list is the child’s pose or one of its variations. The psychological benefit of this pose is based on its ability to help you turn your back on the cares of the day and focus inward. It also helps you release fear, which according to ancient Chinese medicine, may be held in your kidneys. Modify the standard yoga mat version of this pose by resting forward onto some comfy bolsters, or by adopting the chair style variation as you are removing your footwear before bed.
After you have experienced the initial benefits of yoga for good sleep, find a yoga class where you can learn more advanced sequences of poses and rely on the instructor’s guided imagery to help you attain a state of restfulness. You’ll develop healthy habits that will prevent insomnia for years to come.