Yoga is a powerful practice that can still your mind. Naturally, it can also help you sleep. Instead of trying to fall asleep to ocean wave recordings or counting endless sheep, you can consider practicing yoga in the evening to wind down and fall asleep with ease.
Doing yoga can relieve many core causes of insomnia while keeping your mind and body as healthy as can be. With the right sleep-inducing poses, you can drift off faster into a deeper sleep. Learn what makes yoga such a powerful practice and get some suggestions for yoga poses you can try out.
5 Ways Yoga Helps You Sleep
Yoga can undoubtedly make you feel more relaxed, but the way it helps you sleep runs far deeper than the sense of tranquility. Yoga tackles some of the most common mind and body issues behind insomnia. Here are five examples of how it does so.
1. Balancing hormones
Women are significantly more prone to insomnia than men, and a big reason for that is the fact that their hormones fluctuate more often. Hormone imbalances make it more difficult to sleep — and as you sleep less, hormones become even more unbalanced!
Exercising and reducing stress levels are two simple ways to get your hormones into a healthy balance, so you can start to break the cycle. This makes yoga a perfect solution. Yoga gets your body moving and contributes to lower stress levels. As you make yoga a habit, you can find the sweet spot for your hormones and get a good night’s rest every night.
2. Reducing anxiety
Up to 36% of people with insomnia also have anxiety. When your mind is constantly racing, your body won’t be able to relax. Yoga can help you soothe your worries and is proven to enhance your sense of well-being. It’s a natural mood lifter that helps you manage the symptoms of anxiety.
When paired with meditation, which is designed to help you achieve mental and emotional clarity, yoga can quickly help anyone with anxiety get the sleep they need.
3. Increasing blood flow
Poor blood flow can lead to several symptoms that can impair your sleep. From numbness and joint pain to cold hands and feet, the result of blood circulation is often discomfort that makes drifting off difficult. Any form of movement can improve blood flow by adding oxygen to your cells, and yoga is an easy, fun, and relaxing option.
4. Lowering your heart rate
Just like a racing mind can cause sleep issues, a racing heart can, too. Lowering your heart rate and helping it achieve a steady beat is not only healthy for your body but also a great way to improve your sleep patterns. Regular yoga practice has been proven to reduce pulse rates significantly after one month — even for novices.
5. Creating muscle fatigue
Tense muscles aren’t conducive to a good night’s rest. The good news is, giving your muscles a workout can naturally tire them out (and tire you out, too). After working on muscle strength through yoga, our body will naturally want sleep, which can improve muscle recovery. As long as you time your yoga workout well, you’ll be able to fall asleep more easily at night.
3 Effective Bedtime Yoga Poses
Practicing yoga in any form can offer the health benefits listed above, but the best poses to incorporate into your evening routine are the passive, relaxing poses that don’t require intense movement. Here are three that you can try.
1. Corpse Pose
There’s no better pose to get you in the mood for sleep than one that has you lying down like you’re about to take a nap. The corpse pose is simple: lie down on your yoga mat and keep the distance between your feet slightly wider than your hips. Keep your head and spine aligned, then meditate and focus on your breath.
2. Bridge Pose
If you work on your computer all day, bridge pose is a great option to counteract the position you’re seated in all day and let the right muscles stretch and relax. Start by lying on your back and bending your knees with your feet still flat on the floor, arms at your side, and palms down. Move your feet backward until they’re almost touching your fingertips. Lift up your hips for a few even breaths, then lower them back down and repeat.
3. Legs-up-the-Wall Pose
Legs-up-the-wall is another pose that you can do lying down — just make sure you position yourself lying down with your right side flush against a wall. Then, steadily rotate your body and let your legs and feet go up the wall while keeping your upper body and head on the floor. Rest your shoulders and arms to relax.
Sleep Soundly With the Help of Yoga
Yoga is a mental and physical exercise that ultimately helps you relax your mind and body, so you can improve your sleep. The more you practice it, the more you’ll experience health benefits (like a lower heart rate) that help you drift off to sleep with ease. Try out our suggested yoga poses and get relaxed.