Yoga for Bedtime: soothe yourself to sleep
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that is known for improving flexibility, posture, strength, and helping with weight loss. However, with insomnia affecting one and three people in the UK, more and more people are turning to yoga to help them improve their much-needed slumber.
Yoga is often considered to consist of fancy postures and upside-down balances, but the foundations of this 5,000-year-old Indian practice are a lot simpler. It focuses on moving through different postures, being mindful of breathing. One of the key principles is to improve both physical and mental wellbeing, including reducing stress and calming the mind. So, it’s no surprise that this mindfulness-based practice improves sleep quality amongst those who make it part of their daily routine. In fact, a Harvard University study found that yoga improved both sleep quality and quantity in individuals suffering from chronic insomnia.
Taking time to move through some restorative postures shortly before bed time can relax the body and mind, helping you to unwind and make the most of your precious sleep. There are a wide range of these postures that can be beneficial when practiced in the evening, including Child’s Pose, Legs up the Wall Pose, and Seated Spinal Twist. Whilst they all target different parts of the body; these poses are designed to relieve tension and stress.
Yoga teacher Vyda Bielkus told the Huffington Post: “We live in such a fast-paced environment and our senses are always being stimulated, and that affects our nervous system. The yogic technique of focusing on your breath can be helpful — the exhalation stimulates the nervous system to release ... [and] the poses also help us relieve tension from the physical body.”
Next time you’re struggling to get some shut eye, try taking to the mat and practicing some deep breathing and restorative yoga postures to get a good night’s rest.