Yoga for Sleep: Five Easy Bedtime Yoga Positions For Better Sleep
September 05, 2023
Author: Chanahra Fletcher
We all need a restful 8 hours each night, but sometimes achieving that can be difficult. From noisy environments to busy thoughts, many elements can block us from breathing deeply, relaxing, and drifting off to sleep. For every problem, though, there is a solution, and one of the best practices to help you fall asleep faster is bedtime yoga. Whether you’ve been tossing and turning at night or you want to destress before bed, read on for five beginner-friendly yoga poses for sleep.
What is Bedtime Yoga?
Yoga is a meditative practice founded more than 5000 years ago in ancient India. Rooted in the principles of Hinduism, its teachings combine both spirituality and fitness to promote well-being and physical health. In modern times, yoga has evolved to include new, exploratory ways of promoting wellness, from fun-forward goat yoga to intensive hot yoga. So how does bedtime yoga fit into the equation? Surprisingly, bedtime yoga isn’t its own unique practice. Instead, it’s simply a combination of standard yoga positions selected to help you wind down and relax. In short: it’s a type of meditation for sleep. Instead of fitness-forward positions that require flexibility or stamina, bedtime yoga uses positions that help you stretch, breathe deeply, and meditate your way to sleep.
How Can Yoga Help You Sleep Better?
Yoga is as much a physical activity as a mental one, and aligning the body and mind before bed is essential to a restful night. One of the main causes of insomnia is stress, and one of the main causes of stress is disquieting thoughts. Your thoughts affect your body, and if you’re experiencing stress, your body may feel tighter, sorer, and unrelaxed. Doing a type of sleep meditation like yoga before bed can promote clearer thoughts, deeper breathing, and relaxed muscles—resulting in falling asleep faster. By doing this type of guided meditation for sleep, you can teach your body to release, relax, and unwind at the same time each night. This can ultimately help you fall asleep easily and wake feeling refreshed.
Yoga for Sleep: Five Poses We Recommend
While there are many relaxing yoga poses to select for your nighttime routine, we believe the following poses are great solutions to relax your body, regulate your breathing, and prepare you for a restful night:
Sukhasana — Easy Pose
Sukhasana, also known as the easy pose, is designed to open the hips and align the spine. Because of its simplicity, it’s a great pose for beginners. To achieve Sukhasana:
- Sit on a yoga mat, meditation cushion, or the floor in a seated position.
- Position each foot beneath the opposite knee, in a cross-legged position.
- Ensuring your spine is straight and your shoulders are back, relax your arms, and place your hands on your knees, palm side down.
- Straighten your neck and gaze forward. Breathe deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth, repeating each breath for as long as you deem comfortable.
Sukhasana Variation — Revolved Easy Pose
The Sukhasana pose has many variations, and one of the best ones for beginners is the revolved easy pose. By stretching the torso, abdomen, and lower back, you can relieve pressure in those targeted areas before your mattress takes on the job.
- Remaining in the Sukhasana position, inhale, and twist your body by swinging your right hand palm-down to your right; place it on the floor behind you. Then, place your left hand on your right knee.
- Exhale as you relax into this twisted position, keeping your spine straight and your shoulders back. Repeat breaths as necessary.
- Twist again by inhaling and swinging your left palm to your left; place it palm-down on the floor behind you. Next, place your right hand on your left knee.
- Exhale as you relax into the twisted position. Repeat breaths as preferred.
- Return to the standard Sukhasana position.
Paschimottanasana — Seated Forward Bend
The Paschimottanasana pose lengthens the spine and stretches the legs, relaxing hard-to-reach areas.
- From Sukhasana, extend the legs forward, shoulder-width apart. Keep your spine straight, shoulders back, and gaze forward.
- Inhale, and reach both your right and left arms over your head, lengthening your spine and your reach with your fingers.
- Exhale as you bend forward with your hips, lowering your torso towards your legs and reaching your hands towards your toes.
- Continue inhaling and exhaling as you relax into the forward-bend position.
Viparita Karani - Legs Up the Wall
Viparita Karani is a beginner-friendly position that relieves pressure from the lower back and the hips, legs, and feet. To start the Legs Up the Wall position,
- Recline perpendicular to a wall, walking your legs up the wall until your body forms a comfortable “L” shape.
- Ensuring your legs and shoulder-width apart, relax into the position, inhaling slowly through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
- Remain in this position for however long is comfortable, breathing evenly and deeply.
Shavasana - Corpse pose
One of the easiest yoga sleep positions to try is Shavasana, the corpse pose. Shavasana can help relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body, rounding out your sleep meditation with a calming pose you can transfer to your mattress.
- From Viparita Karani, scoot your body back until your legs lay flat against the ground.
- Allow your arms and legs to lay open comfortably at about a 45-degree angle from your body.
- Inhale slowly through the nose and exhale through the mouth, allowing your body to sink into the floor. Repeat breaths as preferred.
Rest Easy Every Night with T&N
Yoga isn’t just for the fit or flexible. It’s a grounding activity for all who want to feel connected to their body and at ease within their mind. And—if you’ve been tired, tense, or having trouble falling asleep—practicing yoga could be great for you too. Performing yoga for sleep is an excellent ritual to help you de-stress and prepare your body for rest. And the perfect way to ensure your efforts make a difference is to pair your yoga with the perfect sleep setup. Stretch out after every Sukhasana on our soft, satiny Percale Sheet Sets, and carry the calming corpse pose onto the pressure-relieving comfort of our Mint Mattress. By calming your body and mind and pairing your efforts with a supportive mattress, comfortable sheet set, and relaxing environment, you can experience the lasting benefits of yoga for sleep—each and every night.