If you need time to quiet your mind and unwind from the day before attempting to get some sleep, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are many tricks that might help you before bedtime like reading, drinking a hot cup of herbal tea or write in diary. But if these tips aren’t enough and you’re still struggling to close your eyes, practice a little yoga poses may be the key to a better night’s sleep.
Celebrate International Yoga Day with these relaxing nighttime poses for everyone.
For more natural ways to sleep better, try these 7 sleeping pills for insomnia or check out our sleep tips from CNET’s wellness editors.
How yoga can help you sleep
Yoga, just like any exercise, can help your mind relax and decompress from the day. Studies have found that those who practice yoga may have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The same results concluded that yoga had a similar effect on depression as antidepressants.
What does this mean for your sleep? Well, cortisol levels have been found to have a direct relationship to your sleep. It is often more difficult to fall asleep with high blood cortisol levels. A 2019 study found that practicing yoga had a positive effect on treating and improving insomnia.
The eight best yoga poses to do before bed
These poses are for any experience level and easy enough for beginning yogis. As you move between these poses, remember to pay attention to your breathing and where you feel the most tension in your body. Breathe and try to relax if you feel any discomfort. Do these poses for about 20-30 minutes before going to bed.
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To get into this pose, start on your hands and knees. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your knees should be under your hips. Take a deep breath and tilt your head towards the ceiling while also lifting your pelvis: it should mimic a “cow”. Then, as you exhale, arch your back and lower both your head and pelvis like a “cat”. You can repeat these two movements a few times before moving on.
This pose is as easy as standing up and reaching out to reach your toes. If you can, put your hands on the ground. If you can’t touch your toes, you can lean forward halfway and grab under your knees. Are you looking for a challenge? Try to reach your ankles and hold. Make sure your back is straight and you are taking deep breaths.
Begin by lying on your back, legs and arms extended and on the ground. Take a deep breath, lift your core off the ground and bring your arms towards your body for balance. Your knees should form a 90 degree angle. Your hands can lie flat or you can bring them together under your core.
An easy pose to transition into after Bridge: Start this pose on your back. Lift your legs toward the ceiling and a little past your shoulders (or as far as you can go). Then, he grabs the outside of her feet with both hands. Gently rock left and right to relieve tension in your lower back.
Legs to the wall
You’ll need to clear a space next to a wall for this pose. Facing the wall, lie on your back and swing your legs up or lift your hips with your arms. Your hips may be against the wall or a bit apart. Once you are in a comfortable spot and feel you can keep your balance, stretch your arms beside you. This pose is great for relieving stress and improving circulation.
You can start this pose by kneeling or getting on your hands and knees. Place your feet under your hips and lower your head to the ground. Stretch your hands out in front of you, lengthening the rotation. The farther you reach, the better the stretch will be for you.
If you’re coming out of child’s pose for the next pose, sit back and extend your legs out in front of you. He crosses one leg over the other, pulling the heel of the crossed leg towards the outside of the thigh. With the opposite arm, he crosses his body and twist, pushing with the elbow on the lifted knee. Twist and breathe. Repeat with the other side before moving forward.
From a seated position, straighten your posture and press the bottoms of both feet together. Placing his hands on his feet, he tries to press his hips as low to the ground as possible. The lower you go, the bigger the stroke. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, bring your feet close to your body.
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