Despite the long-standing age of yoga, it continually grows and expands as a current practice with compelling and proven benefits, even aiding in better sleep. Although diet and exercise tend to occupy the front seats when it comes to health, sleep definitely should not be “slept on.” In fact, inadequate sleep can lead to weight gain and associated health consequences, including diabetes and heart disease. And with overweight and obesity on the rise and the the general population falling short of the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, placing the ancient practice into your nightly routine may be more necessary and advantageous than ever. Flow your way to sleep with these five yoga poses!
Yoga Poses for Sleep
While the practice of yoga is generally recognized for its meditative, calming effects, some poses and routines can actually fight against fatigue and heighten energy levels. But according to the Yoga Journal, the following poses are recommended to fight against insomnia.
- Easy Pose. The Easy Pose is suggested to calm the brain while strengthening the back and stretching out the knees and ankles.
- Cat Pose. Stretch out the back torso and neck with this relaxing yoga pose. The Cat Pose may also provide a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs.
- Cow Pose. Following the cat pose, stretch out the front torso and neck with the Cow Pose.
- Extended Puppy Pose. Stretch out the spine and shoulder with the Extended Puppy Pose for tension relief.
- Child’s Pose. The Child’s Pose is advocated to calm the brain while relieving stress.
How to Relax Before Bed
Whether replacing or complimenting the yoga poses for sleep, these bedtime tips and remedies can also assist in sleep quality and reaching its recommendation duration.
- Disconnect from Electronics. Although it may come natural to surf the web, scroll through social media feeds, or catch up on the newest television series while laying in bed, the bright lights can disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycle. Turn out the lights and disconnect from electronics rather than tuning into them. Additional alternatives include reading a book, practicing meditation (as described with yoga), and listening to calming music or noises.
- Drink Tea. Decaffeinated, of course! Sipping on a warm cup of herbal tea may calm nerves and induce feelings of relaxation. Also coined the “sleep tea,” chamomile is an excellent option (as its nickname suggests) as well as lavender and ampalaya teas. Additionally, limit caffeine consumption in the afternoon and evening hours to reduce the risk of interrupted sleep cycles.
- Eat A Bedtime Snack. While snacking following dinnertime and leading up to bedtime hours is often discouraged, hunger pangs may strike in the absence of sleepiness. Luckily, though, a light snack offering healthy carbs and modest protein may trigger neurotransmitters responsible for sleep induction. A bowl of whole grain cereal, apple and peanut butter, cheese and crackers may be your ticket to a better night’s rest.
- Take A Warm Bath. Unwind from a stressful day with a warm bath! The heat of the water can help sooth and loosen tense muscles, contributing to total body relaxation. With calming music or simply silent, allow your mind to stray away from pressures and tap into a more relaxing and meditative mentality.