Can yoga improve your sleep?

There’s a good chance you’ve heard yoga can help improve sleep quality. But does yoga actually help people get better sleep?

A growing body of research suggests the answer is yes. A Harvard study found that people who practiced yoga for just eight weeks experienced better and longer sleep than those who didn’t practice.

Yoga may improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. It also helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming the body and mind. It is also thought to promote a better quality of sleep by improving your breathing and circulation.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your sleep quality, consider adding yoga to your routine. There are many different types of yoga, so you are likely to find one that suits your needs and preferences.

Try and practice yoga at least three times a week for the best results. Studies show that yoga can help improve sleep quality in as little as four weeks.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be a long practice; even a five-minute practice done consistently throughout the week can make a difference.

(Note: if you have any health conditions or are pregnant, please consult with your doctor before starting a yoga practice.)

Yoga poses for better sleep

There are a variety of yoga poses that can be helpful for those who have trouble sleeping. Try incorporating some of the poses listed below into your yoga practice or try doing them before bedtime to see if they help you get a better night’s sleep.

Legs up the wall

This pose is a great way to wind down at the end of the day. Sitting with your back against a wall, bring your legs up so that your feet are flat against the wall. You can stay in this position for as long as you like or until you feel sleepy.

Child’s pose

This pose is a great way to relax and stretch out after a long day.  It also helps to calm the mind and can be helpful for those who have trouble sleeping. Kneel on the ground with your big toes touching and your knees hip-width apart. Sit back on your heels and extend your arms forward, parallel to the ground. Hold for five breaths.

Cat-cow

This yoga pose is a great way to warm up before bed and can help to relieve tension in the body. Start on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees hip-width apart. Inhale as you drop your belly button toward the floor and look up at the ceiling. Exhale as you round your spine and tuck your chin toward your chest. Repeat for eight breaths.

Corpse

This yoga pose is a great way to end your yoga practice and can help you to relax and fall asleep. Lie on your back with your legs slightly apart and your arms at your sides. Close your eyes and focus on taking deep breaths in and out for five minutes.

Supported bridge

This pose elongates the spine and opens up the chest, both of which can help promote sleep. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and shoulder-width apart. Bring your knees into your chest and clasp your hands around them. Lift your torso and hips off the ground and hold for five breaths. You can rest here or lower down and repeat.

These are just a few yoga poses and practices that can help improve your sleep. There are many others that can also be beneficial. If you’re interested in trying yoga to improve your sleep, be sure to speak with a yoga instructor to find the poses that are best suited for you.

Woman lying on floor in corpse pose

Meditation for sleep

Mediation is another yoga practice that can help improve your sleep. It doesn’t have to be a complex or long practice. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, taking deep breaths in and out for five minutes. As you meditate, allow any thoughts or distractions to pass through your mind without judgement. When you’re finished, sit for a few more minutes with your eyes closed before getting up.

Yoga Nidra

If you’re looking for a different yoga practice to help you sleep, Yoga Nidra may be the answer.

Yoga Nidra is a guided relaxation practice that can help you release any stress or tension in your body. It’s a great way to relax before bed and can be practiced in just a few minutes.  If you’re someone who struggles to switch off at night, Yoga Nidra can be a great way to calm the mind and drift off.

Essentially Yoga Nidra takes you on a journey through your body and mind, releasing any built-up stress or tension.

There are a few different Yoga Nidra practices available online.  Try out different ones to find what works best for you and give it a try before bed.

If you’re interested to learn more about Yoga Nidra check out my blog on ‘Yoga Nidra: the yogic deep awake sleep.

What next?

As you can see, there are many different yoga poses and practices that can help improve your sleep. If you’re looking for a way to get started, pick one or two and try incorporating them into your routine for a few weeks. You may find that you sleep better and feel more relaxed after practicing yoga.

Although yoga can be a great way to improve your sleep, it’s not a cure-all. If you’re struggling with insomnia or other sleep issues, it’s important to consult with your doctor to rule out any underlying causes. However, in most cases, yoga can be a helpful tool in improving your sleep quality.

I hope you find the tips above useful and once you find what works for you and your body, enjoy a better night’s rest.

Want to learn more about yoga and how to incorporate it into your life?  Check out Seeds of Wonder’s yoga books here.

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