Three Simple Yoga Poses to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

by Rebecca Harris

Ah, the illusive good night’s sleep.  The Center for Disease Control estimates that 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from sleep or wakefulness disorders.  To understand the scope of the issues, that’s roughly the population of the entire country of Italy (who, in my opinion, may have mastered the art of sleeping…siestas (afternoon naps) sign me up!).

As one of the American adults with a sleep disorder, I’ve tried everything to get a better night’s sleep.  One year for Christmas my mom, tired (pun intended) of hearing me gripe about my inability to sleep bought me a pillow that she had seen on an infomercial that “guaranteed a good night’s sleep.”  Something about the unique, patented fibers, I think.   While my mother’s heart was in the right place, the pillow was actually quite lumpy and instead caused painful neck strain.  

Instead, over the years I’ve honed a routine that I follow on regular basis that helps me let go of the day and get in a more restful state, which helps me fall asleep quicker.  Here are three yoga poses I do to help me melt away the day and relax my mind and body.  All three of the poses can be done in bed, if you’d like, or on the floor next to your bed.

 

YogaforSleep3

Legs up the wall

(2 – 20 minutes, depending on how much time you have, I don’t recommend doing it for any longer than 20 minutes):

Sit with the right side of your body facing a wall (or, if you are on your bed, the headboard) and your legs stretched out in front of you.

Rotate your body so that your legs are up the wall and your back in on the ground (or your bed) with your butt as close to the wall (or bed) as you can get.  If you aren’t feeling a hamstring stretch, you’re not close enough to the wall so scoot closer.  If it’s too intense, move your butt away from the wall.

Place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on your belly.

Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose slowly and evenly, while counting to four and then exhale through your nose slowly and evenly while counting to four.  Continue to do this for two to twenty minutes.

 

 

Supine Twist or Jathara Parivartanasana

 

(1 minute each side):

 

Yoga for Sleep, Yogafly, Yoga Illumined, Rebecca HarrisBegin lying on your back

Extend your arms out to a “T” (shoulder height) with palms facing down

Bend your knees and bring them to your chest

Exhale and lower both legs to your right side or until your knee touches the floor or bed

If you can, keep your left shoulder to the floor and turn your head to your left side

Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose slowly and evenly, while counting to four and then exhale through your nose slowly and evenly while counting to four.  Hold this for one minute.

Repeat on the left side.

 

YogaforSleep2Reclined Goddess or Supta Baddha Konasana

(2 minutes, you may need two pillows for this pose):

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your heels close to your buttocks.

Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to relax open (your legs will form a diamond shape).  Place a pillow or two under each knee for support.

Place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on your belly.

Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose slowly and evenly, while counting to four and then exhale through your nose slowly and evenly while counting to four.

While I won’t be as brazen as the pillow my mother bought for me for Christmas a few years ago and guarantee a good night’s sleep, I will say that if you follow these simple poses, I’ll guarantee a more restful and relaxed state that will help you get a better night’s sleep.  We’ve also just heard about the Casper Sleep Mattress.  Touted as “The Perfect Bed,” users rave about it.  Casper doesn’t guarantee a good night’s sleep, but they do tell customers to try their product for 100 days and return if they aren’t fully satisfied.  Might be something good to try along with Yoga.  Sleep on, Americans sleep on!

About Rebecca Harris:

Rebecca 035Rebecca started practicing yoga over ten years ago. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Illumined in Austin, TX.  An avid athlete, her passion is to help other athletes enhance performance through yoga and to encourage those who don’t think they can yoga to get on the mat and try.  She’s currently “a vagabond,” living, teaching yoga and practicing throughout the U.S. including Denver, CO; Washington D.C., and the Berkshire Mountains.  Follow her adventures and find her classes at https://www.facebook.com/yobeccayoga.  Contact her at yobeccayoga@gmail.com

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