It’s hard to argue the fact that yoga has many positive benefits, but one little known outcome of yoga is it can be used as a cure for insomnia. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48% of Americans experience trouble sleeping occasionally and 22% of people report trouble sleeping every night or nearly every night. Many experts agree, continued use of medicine-based sleep aids is not a recommended plan to treat insomnia. As a result, more and more people are turning to yoga to help cure sleep issues.
Not only are the breathing and meditation portions of yoga practices a powerful way to help you relax enough to fall asleep, several yoga poses are effective in helping you sleep better in of themselves. Practicing certain yoga poses before bed release tension and relax your mind and body, which can be very helpful to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Here are a few poses we recommend trying next time you can’t sleep:
- Easy Bend Forward (a variation of the Sukhasana) – This pose is easy enough for beginners and it’s something you can do in bed. Simply, sit with your ankles crossed and bend forward. If you’re extra tight, try sitting on your pillow. This pose opens up your hips, releases tension, and helps prepare your body for sleep.
- Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) – Another yoga pose that can be done without even leaving your bed is the Supine Spinal Twist. Simply lie down on your back, bringing your right knee up to your check and towards your left side. Hold your leg in this position, letting your free arm extend off to the side. Rotating back and forth between sides, twisting your back which helps relieve tension in the spine and aids in digestion, two issues that can deter sleep. Read more about the Supine Twist here.
- Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) – Although you must get out of bed to perform this pose, you simply stand with your feet a few inches apart and bend at the waist, touching the ground or your ankles. This pose helps relieve headaches and stress levels which can contribute to insomnia.
- Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) – Lying with your back flat on the ground, bending at the waist and resting your legs upright against the wall is another good evening yoga pose. Holding this pose for as long as five minutes while you meditate before bed is a great relaxation and stress-relieving technique. It will help clear your mind and prepare your body for rest.
- Corpse Pose (Savasana) – Getting your body ready for sleep can be accomplished by practicing the Corpse Pose in bed before you fall asleep. Simply lie on your back, as still as you can, focus on taking deep, even breaths and letting go of any stressors that may be keeping you from sleep. This pose helps relax your body and train your mind on sleep.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana) – And last but certainly not least, don’t forget about Child’s Pose. Used as one of the standard rest and relaxation poses in yoga, this pose relieves tension and helps the body relax. Gently rolling your forehead from left to right can ease the day’s headache and help you relax.
Adding these and other yoga poses into your nightly routine will train your body to signal sleep; you’ll be more relaxed and your body will be free of worries, which will help you sleep. Next time you can’t sleep, try these poses and any others that are particularly relaxing to you to see if they help!