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Did you know that carrying out specific body stretches and deep breathing exercises can help you sleep better at night? If you struggle with sleeping well at night, yoga may enhance the quality of your sleep. Researchers from a review study discovered that adults who engaged in yoga practices had a better quality of life and sleep than others who did not. Improved sleep reduces stress, promotes your mental wellbeing, and empowers you to execute your daily activities without fatigue. So, what are the best yoga poses for sleep?
Below are the recommended yoga poses for better sleep, their importance, and how you can perform each one.
How Does Doing Yoga Before Bed Helps You Sleep?
Performing exercises before sleep can improve your sleep by engaging in low-intensity activities coupled with deep breathing. One of the prevalent causes of insomnia is anxiety, and yoga helps eliminate this through mindfulness (A state of your mind focused on the moment). Mindfulness keeps you from thoughts that provoke anxiety and stimulates the release of a hormone called Melatonin from the brain. Melatonin reduces sleep disturbances associated with insomnia, according to sleep researchers at
the University of Glasgow. When you practice yoga a few minutes before sleeping, your melatonin levels increase, and this helps you sleep better.
The 15 Best Yoga Poses To Help You Sleep
Even though studies prove that yoga improves sleep, there are some exceptions. For instance, if you perform high-intensity exercises in the evening, your heart rate increases, affecting your ability to fall asleep. However, low to moderate aerobic exercises reduce anxiety and improve your mood to aid in falling asleep quickly.
Here are the best restorative yoga poses for sleep.
Hero Pose (Virasana)
It is one of the common yoga poses for good sleep that requires a peaceful environment, a yoga mat, and comfortable clothes.
Kneel with the back of your heels on the yoga mat.
Sit on the space between your heels.
Use a cushion to support your buttock if you have some discomfort.
Place your hands on your knees and sit up upright.
Maintain this position for some minutes and take several deep breaths.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
It is a body stretch that relaxes the strain in the lower back and spine muscles. Child pose also improves the mental wellbeing and mood of individuals. A clinical trial study revealed that study participants with mood disorders who practiced child pose yoga significantly improved their psychological well-being. Consequently, sleep quality improves because of optimal mood and emotional wellbeing.
The bridge yoga pose relieves chronic low back pain and calms your nerves.
Lie flat on your back, bend your knees and place the sole of your feet flat on the yoga mat.
With your knees standing parallel to each other, lift your hip to a level you can maintain and keep your shoulders down.
Extend your fingers towards your heels and clasp them together.
Hold this posture and breathe deeply.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
It stretches your leg muscles, relieves neck pain, and reduces anxiety.
Stand with your feet wide and some inches apart, then inhale deeply.
Exhale and bend your forward at your hips.
Bend more until your palm reaches the floor, and your forehead touches the knees.
Maintain this position for some minutes and breathe deeply.
Plow Pose (Halasana)
The plow pose decreases the tension in your neck and keeps you calm.
Lie flat with your hands on the floor raise your knees towards your chest.
Use your hands pressed firmly on the floor to lift your hips with your knees still bent at your chest.
Raise your legs till it forms a straight line from your heels to your shoulder.
Stay in this position and breathe deeply
Lower your feet behind your head, so your toes touch the floor and point towards your head.
Stretch your hands straight and clasp them behind your back
In this final position, take some deep breaths
Child Pose (Shishuasana)
This yoga stretch relieves tension in your back and reduces anxiety.
Knee on the yoga mat with your heels backward and the knees touching each other.
Bend forward until your chest touches your thighs, and your forehead rests on the yoga mat.
Stretch your hands forward and slightly apart.
Stay in this posture and breathe slowly for some minutes.
Sleeping Butterfly (Suptabhadrasana)
This yoga pose strengthens the inner muscles of the legs.
Sit upright and bring your legs together with your feet touching each other.
Pull your feet together towards your hips.
Place your hands on your ankles.
Drop your knees slowly to touch the floor and feel the stretch.
Stay in the position for some minutes and breathe deeply.
Breathing Techniques for Sleep
Breathing relaxes your nerves which helps you sleep well. Here are some effective breathing techniques you can carry out to improve your sleep.
Practice steps include:
Sit up with your mouth closed and breathe in and out through your nose.
Focus on the breathing process through your nose.
Block your nose with your index finger and thumb for a few seconds.
Release your nose and take a deep breath in and out again.
Repeat these steps as often as possible.
Three-part Breathing Exercise
Follow these practice steps:
Take a long deep breath in.
Exhale slowly and focus on how it feels in your body.
Repeat the steps and ensure you exhale longer than you inhale.
Here are the practice steps:
Sit up on your bed and breathe in for four seconds
Hold your breath for four seconds.
Exhale for four seconds
Repeat the steps above.
Easy Hand Massage to Help You Sleep
Hand massage enhances the quality of your sleep because it reduces your anxiety and relaxes you. Hand reflexology is a special type of hand massage you can perform before bedtime. This entails applying firm pressure on the pressure point of the hand.
To perform hand reflexology, use your right thumb to apply pressure on your left wrist(the point just below the crease or line on your palm) and gently massage that point for 1-2 minutes.
Yoga before bed relaxes you and calms your nerves, so you can sleep better at night. These body stretches relieve body pains that prevent you from falling asleep after a stressful day. Practicing yoga poses such as hero, corpse, happy baby, plow, etc., eliminate anxious thoughts that keep you awake at night. In addition, practicing breathing exercises such as box breathing and three-part breathing at your bedtime helps you sleep well. Apart from practicing yoga before sleeping, drinking apple cider vinegar before bed has potential health benefits in promoting your physical and mental wellbeing.