It is an undeniable fact that yoga is proven helpful not only in increasing the body's flexibility and releasing stress, but it is also beneficial for getting a good night’s sleep. A good night's sleep is essential for giving your body rest and preparing it for the next day’s work.
Table of Contents
- Why Is It So Important to Have Good Night Sleep?
- How Does Yoga Help in Better Sleep?
- What Types of Yoga Help You with Better Sleep?
- Best Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
In this post, we have tried to find the role of better sleep in a healthy life, the role of yoga in good sleep, and some of the most effective yoga poses that can help you get a better sleep when you are tired and exhausted.
Why Is It So Important to Have Good Night Sleep?
A good night's sleep has an important role in a healthy life. If you get better sleep, you get a stronger immune system, a fresh mind every morning, increased productivity and performance, prevention against heart diseases and strokes, and maintaining body weight.
Many people who do not get proper sleep at night are at risk of heart disease, depression, type 2 diabetes, and many other problems. We see a lot of people facing sleep issues, and consequently, they become vulnerable to plenty of other health issues. As a result, getting a full night's sleep is essential for everyone to stay fit and fresh for their day-to-day jobs.
How Does Yoga Help in Better Sleep?
Before we dig into the role of yoga in getting better sleep, it is essential to know what disturbs people’s sleep. According to a recent study about the sleeping habits of people, it has been seen that for many, stress, depression, worries, and work schedules are the major reasons for not having enough sleep. Also, a lot of people face sleep issues due to disorders like restless leg syndrome, insomnia, and sleep apnea. If you are also facing sleeping issues, these could be the prime reasons.
To deal with the sleeping issues, health experts suggest yoga exercises due to the wide variety of benefits they offer. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 55% of yoga practitioners, from children to the elderly, reported improved sleep, and 85% of them reported stress reduction in a recent study.
According to experts, yoga improves sleep quality in the following ways:
Regular Exercise: Regular movement of body parts in yoga exercises has a great impact on sleep hygiene. Moderate yoga exercises a few times a week can help you improve your sleep quality.
Breathing Regulation and Awareness: Breathing regulation and awareness are also important elements of yoga. Deep breathing can also help you improve your sleep.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is one of the common elements in most types of yoga, which is essential for improving melatonin levels and minimizing nighttime sleep disturbances among adults.
Weight Loss: Though losing weight might not be the primary goal of all yoga practitioners, it also has a positive impact on sleep. Weight loss particularly reduces sleep issues like sleep apnea.
What Types of Yoga Help You with Better Sleep?
There are multiple types of yoga that people do to attain health and wellness benefits. You can do any type of yoga during the day, from high activity to moderate activity, according to your comfort. Yogas with a high level of activity, such as hot yoga or vinyasa, are ideal for moderate to vigorous exercise. Such exercises should be done several hours before bedtime.
As the high-activity types of yoga increase heart rate, they should not be done right before sleep time. For people who like to practice yoga right before sleeping, go for the slower and restorative types of yoga, such as Hatha and Yoga Nidra for sleep.
Best Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
Though all yoga poses are beneficial for health, the following are some of those which are specifically helpful in improving sleep.
Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)
The seated forward bend pose is one of the most beneficial yoga poses for sleep. After practicing this pose or asana, you might not make it to your bed as it can make you fall asleep before that.
This pose mainly stretches out your back, right up to the spine and into the neck. This pose is known for relieving stress and encouraging peaceful sleep at night. The best way to perform this yoga pose is with a warmed-up body, so incorporating it with other yoga for sleep poses can maximize its benefits for you.
To perform this yoga pose, sit tall on the edge of your folded blanket while keeping your legs extended forward. Now exhale and stretch your spine while you fold forward. While keeping your spine lengthened, you have to hold onto your feet with your bent elbows and relaxed arms. Now rest your forehead against a block. Remain in this pose for 10 to 15 breaths.
Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)
Stand in forwarding bend pose is not just helpful for getting better sleep, it is also beneficial in a number of ways. This stretches the hips, hamstrings, and calves. This yoga pose is beneficial for strengthening the thighs and knees, making the spine strong and flexible, and reducing anxiety, stress, fatigue, and depression, which makes it more important to perform for a healthy night’s sleep.
To begin this yoga pose, start in Downward Facing Dog and walk your feet to your hands. Bring a little bend to your knees while shifting your feet a hip-width apart or a little wider. You can hold your opposite elbows with a relaxed grip or rest your hands beside your feet. Let the top of your head fall down while exhaling and lengthening down. Hold this pose for 10 to 15 breaths before releasing your hands to the mat and pressing down through your feet. Now inhale and slowly rise to get into the standing position.
Read More: The 7 Best Yoga Poses for Beginners
Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Reclining bound angle pose is also one of the best nighttime yoga poses. This pose helps you encourage your body’s rest and digest response, which helps in reducing heart rate and encouraging a peaceful night's sleep.
You start from a seated position while placing the bolster at the base of your sacrum. Also, place a folded blanket on your bolster towards the far end. Now, you have to bend your knees and bring your feet together. After that, lie back on your bolster while resting your head on the blanket for the purpose of giving it enough lift so it is above your heart level. Once you are in the exact position, relax your shoulders, neck, and legs. Remain in this position for at least 10 to 15 breaths. After that period of time, by using your hands, bring your knees together while rolling off the bolster to the side.
Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
In case you do not find some time to have a nap throughout the day, despite the tiredness, a period of twenty-minute legs up the wall pose can provide the required amount of rest for your body and will provide you with similar benefits that a nap does.
To start, you need to sit close to the wall with your hip touching it. Also, bring your hands behind your hips. Now bend your elbows and lean back while lowering your back to the floor. Now sweep your legs against the wall. Your buttocks should be as close to the wall as possible.
In this position, let your legs rest against the wall. However, you can bend your knees a little if you have tight hamstrings. If you want to cushion your spine, you can use a blanket by folding it lengthwise into a narrow stack. As you sit near the wall, you should place a blanket behind you perpendicular to the wall while laying back on the blanket when you sweep your legs up the wall. You should remain in this pose for 30 to 45 breaths.
Adept’s Pose (Siddhasana)
Adept’s pose, or siddhasana, is another incredible before-bed exercise that can help you improve your sleep quality. It also has multiple curative and corrective effects on joints that can lessen the pressure on your nervous system and can help you concentrate and attain mental wellbeing, apart from providing a good night’s sleep.
To get into this pose, you sit on the floor with your ankles lined up. Close your eyes softly and tune into the rhythm of your heartbeat. Inhale and lengthen your spine, and then exhale to root down through your seat. You should be resting your hands on your knees while your index fingers should be touching your thumbs.
All of the yoga poses have the capability to improve your sleep, as most of the time, they are used to relieve stress and anxiety, which are major causes of restless sleep. However, if you want to go for specific poses for better sleep with the maximum benefits, the listed ones are outstanding to help you meet your sleep goals.
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