Exhausted, irritable, muzzy-headed and yet still unable to sleep; does this sound familiar? If so you’re not alone as more than 70 million people in the US alone have problems getting some good quality shut-eye. One potential solution might be to do some yoga moves before bedtime to promote a restful sleep. It seems this works for many people, If insomnia or a poor night’s sleep is plaguing your life then it might be time to say good night with yoga!
Slow down don’t try and tire yourself out
If sleep is eluding you then you might be tempted to try and wear yourself out with a frenetic workout. However, rather than relaxing your body and your mind, this can wear you out but also leave you feeling pumped up and raring to go. If you overdo it, exercise can actually stop you winding down into pre-sleep mode.
Relaxing exercise mellows you out
Gentle yoga exercises coax your body to relax as well as your mind. As you focus on your breathing, as well as movements that do not strain you physically, you are able to process your day mentally and de-stress. As your body and mind become more restful your heart slows down and more sleep-friendly feelings flood in.
Lie on the floor with your arms spread out a little and your palms facing the ceiling. Your legs can be open a little with the feet naturally dropping to the side. Stay still and let your whole body relax. Focus on breathing in a measured and deep way. Count back from 20 with each breath while the mind lets thoughts come and go. You might want to repeat this exercise at the end of your bedtime yoga session.
Release pelvic tightness
If you spend a lot of time in a sedentary position then you could be going to bed with tightness in your whole body, including your pelvic area. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together and drawn in to your pelvis. Hold your ankles and with a straight back let your knees flop down to open your pelvis. Try bending forward to extend the stretch, keeping the back relaxed but straight. Sitting on a blanket or cushion or putting cushions at the sides near your knees can add extra comfort.
Release tension in your lower back
The lower back is a classic problem area and it is often the tensions and stresses in this area of the body which have an impact on quality of sleep. Lie on your back and draw one knee up to your chest in a hugging position. Do the same with the other leg before drawing both legs up and clasping with two arms. Gently roll side to. Put your arms out to the side and the soles of the feet on the floor with your knees still bent. Keeping your hips on the floor move your knees from side to side to create a twisting stretch. Don’t drop down but move in a controlled way, bringing the knees back to the center before each stretch.
Easing tired legs
Aching legs can really leave you tossing and turning at night. To relieve muscle tension like on your back with your legs stretched up a wall. Add a small cushion or yoga block under the small of your back and add cushions to the sides as you stretch your arms out, for a more restorative yoga experience. An eye pillow completed the feeling of total relaxation.
There is something deeply relaxing about moving your body into a totally comfortable position. Kneel up and move your knees out wide, keeping your toes touching. Add a cushion or yoga block under your seat if you feel a pull and sit down towards your heels. Move your body forward to stretch out on the floor with your arms outstretched and with your palms and forehead gently resting on the floor.
As well as relaxing yoga before you sleep make sure you keep up a healthy fitness regime with us too.