Top 10 Yoga Poses For Better Sleep June 21, 2016

Sleeping well can feel like bliss. But most of us tend to get so engrossed with our stressful life that sound sleep becomes the victim.

Keeping your mind and body stress-free before you hit the bed allows you to indulge in deep sleep. And what better way than practicing yoga to beat the blues and help you relax? Yoga helps in easing stress levels and boosting relaxation. Here are 10 simple and effective yoga poses for better sleep.

Yoga for Sleep – Best 10 Yoga Poses

1. Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend Pose:

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Relax your entire body and put your fatigue, stress, and anxiety to rest with this standing pose. A mild inversion pose, this improves the circulation of blood to the brain. The better circulation level, in turn, mellows down your headaches. This also offers a good stretch for your hamstrings and hips, while relieving the tension experienced on your back and spine. It improves digestion levels by activating the digestive system. Sway gently sideways and slightly bend your knees to kick the tension off your hips and legs.

2. Supta Virasana – Reclining Hero Pose:

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This is an extended version of Virasana that eases the stiffness experienced at the hips. A fabulous hip opening exercise, it endows complete relaxation for the entire lower body. Place two pillows or blocks beneath your thighs while stretching your back completely. Along with improving your digestive fire, this pose eases the pain experienced at the lower back due to sciatica. A well-prescribed yoga pose for insomnia, it is also know to be effective in easing menstrual cramps.

3. Balasana – Child Pose:

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Imitating a child at rest – nothing is more peaceful than this pose. Relax your back, calm your nervous system, and recline your way to sleep. A quintessential relaxation yoga pose, it has the potential to soothe your mind and body equally. Indulge in deep breathing. Allow your forehead to rest on a cushion. Massaging your forehead gently, from left to right, will offer better relief from tension.

[ Read: Tips to help you while practicing Balasana ]

4. Baddha Konasana – Butterfly Pose:

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Deepen the benefits of the simple butterfly pose with Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Butterfly Pose). Ease the fatigue experienced from extended walking and standing with this pose. It also helps in stretching the knees, groins, inner thighs, and even hips. Lie down in supine position on your bed, join your feet, while pushing your knees outward to resemble a diamond. You can place pillows or cushions beneath your knees for extra relaxation. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing pattern, and see how your body relaxes its way to a good night’s sleep.

5. Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Bend Pose:

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The amazing stretch it gives to your back is really admirable. Along with invigorating your nervous system, it also soothes your mind, ensuring utmost relaxation. It also improves digestion by massaging your abdominal organs. Regular practice of this pose can even help in thwarting menstrual cramps and pain. Do not overstrain and bend forward attempting to hold the toes as it will beat the entire purpose. Exhale as you bend forward, hold the breath while in pose, and inhale as you resume your initial position.

[ Read: Benefits of Paschimottanasana ]

6. Marjariasana – Cat Pose:

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This pose is ideal if you have digestion problems. Along with improving your spine’s flexibility and strength, the pose massages the digestive organs. The better your digestion power is, the less disturbed your sleep will be. The pose in yoga for better sleep also enhances blood supply throughout the body, which helps relax the body and mind completely. People who sit and work throughout the day should practice this pose before hitting the bed to keep back pain and stiff hips away. It also helps in alleviating the tension experienced in the thoracic, cervical, as well as the lumbar spine.

7. Viparita Karani – Legs Up The Wall Pose:

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Are your legs too tired and preventing you from sleeping deep? Then, this yoga pose for sleep is for you. A wonderful way to relax fatigued legs, this inversion pose ensures a better supply of blood to your brain. This means your headache, stress, and tension is bound to vanish, leaving you calm and relaxed. It is advisable to hold the pose for 5 minutes to enjoy its benefits. Keep your eyes closed and experience the way blood gushes into your heart.

8. Savasana – The Corpse Pose:

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Many of us, unknowingly, sleep in the corpse pose. An essential relaxation and restoration yoga pose, it allows you to embrace sleep by letting go off your stress and worries in the simplest manner. Just lie down on your bed, without pillows, spread out your legs and hands, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Leave aside your worries and embrace tranquility.

[ Read: Benefits and Steps of Shavasana ]

9. Makarasana: Crocodile Pose:

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By Tupiduspekus (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is an alternative to the much practiced Savasana and is loaded with better restorative and relaxation powers. It helps to relax your body, ease fatigue and stress, and calm your mind. Along with easing the compression experienced in your lower back, this pose offers total relaxation. Ease your back aches and muscular spasms with this pose and slide into sleep gently.

10. Chandra Bhedana – Left Nostril Breathing:

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This pranayama helps you relax completely and allows your body to cool down. You can do it either by sitting in Sukhasana (Easy Pose) or Padmasana (Lotus Pose) or even by lying down to your right. Close your right nostril completely and left nostril partially. Inhale through your left nostril, close it completely, and then exhale through your right one. In this breathing exercise, you always breathe in with the left nostril and breathe out through your right. One inhalation and one exhalation make one round. You can do 5 to 10 such rounds to put yourself at peace.

Yoga leads to a relaxed mind, ensuring a good sleep. However, yoga alone cannot help. Here are few tips that you can practice to ensure you get that much recommended 8 hours of deep sleep.

Dos and Don’ts Apart from Yoga for Good Sleep at Night:

  • Eat at least 3 hours before you hit the bed.
  • Never indulge in a power workout session before sleeping.
  • Avoid high intensity breathing exercises, such as Bhastrika Pranayama, before bedtime.
  • Drink a cup of milk with honey 30 minutes before sleeping.
  • Avoid working on the computer or watching a movie.
  • Sleep at the same time [30 minute here and there] everyday.
  • Take a 30 minute nap during afternoon for a good night’s sleep.
  • Revisit the things that made you happy and content on any given day.
  • Take a lukewarm shower just before you sleep. The idea is to bring down your body temperature, allowing you to relax.
  • Do not drink coffee or tea before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes before sleeping.
  • Keep your stimulants to the morning as they can disrupt your sleep.
  • Do not pick up a fight with anyone as it could disturb sleep.

Practice these yoga poses for better sleep at least 30 minutes before you hit your bed. Plus, stick to the other dos and don’ts also and see how sleep becomes your comrade!

Do you sleep well? How many hours a day do you sleep? Do you follow a bed time routine? Feel free to share your views with us in the comment section below.

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