Practicing yoga before bedtime is a great way to let go of all the emotional and physical baggage you’ve been carrying around all day.
The quality and length of your sleep may be improved by incorporating a soothing yoga practice into your nightly regimen. Insomniacs, light sleepers, and those with time constraints will all benefit from this.
To learn more about the benefits of bedtime yoga, as well as yoga poses to try, and how to succeed, please continue reading.
The following are some advantages of a bedtime yoga practice.
1. Alleviates insomnia
Practicing yoga on a daily basis can help alleviate insomnia symptoms. You may be able to sleep more soundly, wake up less frequently, and go back to sleep more quickly.
2019Trusted Source research shows that mind-body therapies such as yoga can help alleviate insomnia and improve sleep quality. People who did tai chi, qigong, and meditation, as well as yoga, reported better sleep as well.
Further research is required to fully explore the implications of these findings.
2. Weight loss
Yoga is linked to weight loss trusted Source and better sleep if practiced regularly. Practicing yoga before bed can improve your quality of sleep, which in turn helps you stay on track with your weight loss or weight maintenance goals. Your eating habits might also improve as a result.
3. Improves sleep quality and quality of life
Pharmacological sleep aids are frequently prescribed to the elderly. A healthier alternative is yoga.
There was an investigation of the long-term impact of yoga practice on elderly persons in a study published in 2013. In comparison to the control group, which saw no improvements, they discovered that regular yoga practice improved sleep quality and general well-being.
4. Promotes relaxation
The relaxation response, which is a state of deep relaxation, can be induced in the body through yoga. Responses like this are in direct opposition to the “fight or flight” mechanism. If you’re feeling tense or stressed, practicing relaxing yoga positions may help you calm down.
Low levels of the stress hormone cortisol and a consequent drop in blood pressure and stress hormone levels may result. Getting into a pattern can assist with stress-related issues like weight gain, anxiety, and sleep deprivation.
Doing yoga before bed has a few downsides as long as you perform the poses correctly. If you’re concerned that even the most moderate of yoga poses will keep you awake, it’s better to steer clear of them. The best way to deal with stress is to practice breathing exercises or meditation.
Later in the day, your body may be more supple and receptive. Maintain a healthy balance between muscle strength and flexibility, and be mindful not to overdo it. Consult your physician if you have any health issues, including an injury, before beginning a new practice.
Yoga moves to try
To prepare your body and mind for sleep, try these passive, gentle yoga poses.
You can prop up your hips with a pillow or bolster. Place the soles of your feet together or widen your legs to alter this position.
- Sit with your right side against a wall and watch the world go by.
- As you lie on your back, place your hips on or close to the wall and swing your legs up against the wall.
- Put your arms down in a posture that feels good to you.
- Concentrate on letting go of tension in your body by following your breath.
- For up to five minutes, hold this position.
Calming and stress-relieving, this restorative pose helps relax the nervous system. Place blocks or pillows under your knees for further support.
- Press your feet together from a seated position.
- Open your knees out to the sides. ‘
- Lie on your back and relax.
- Take a moment to relax your wrists and fingers.
- For up to five minutes, hold this stance.
- Stretching with a partner is also an option, as shown in the GIF above.
The spine is stretched and lengthened in this meditative stance. For additional support, place a cushion on your forehead, chest, or thighs for further comfort.
- Sink your hips back toward your heels from a tabletop stance.
- Close your knees together or spread them apart.
- Allow your chest to sink into your thighs as you relax and let go of tension in your upper body.
- Let go of any stiffness in your spine.
- For up to five minutes, hold this position.
Finish your practice with this calming stance. Just take a break and enjoy yourself. Try guided visualization, meditation, or yoga Nidra instead.
- Take a deep breath and relax.
- A little more than hip distance apart, your feet should be spread out.
- Adjust your head, neck, and spine.
- As you let go of any remaining tension in your body, bring your attention solely to your breathing.
- Fall into a heavy heap.
- As long as 15 minutes, you can hold this position.
Improved sleep quality, less stress, and a deep state of relaxation can all be achieved with yoga Nidra. Following the verbal cues that work to relax your mind is an important part of this technique.
In the meantime, here are some audio files that you can download.
Tips and tricks
Your bedtime yoga practice might benefit from a variety of approaches. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, set a reasonable goal. There is plenty of time for your selected practice, if necessary, to be completed and for you to get to bed on time.
If you are looking for a more gentle form of yoga, try Hatha, yin, or restorative. Hot or vinyasa yoga should be avoided. Relaxing, rejuvenating, and introspective postures should be your primary emphasis.
Stay away from postures that require a lot of energy, such as backbends. Take a few deep breaths at the end of your session to help you get a good night’s rest.
Use candles or an essential oil diffuser to create an atmosphere of relaxation in the bedroom by setting the temperature at a suitable level and removing any electronic devices from the room.
For longer holds, practice in a dimly lit room with an eye mask on. Binaural beats or Solfeggio frequencies can be used as background music to help you sleep. Earplugs are an effective way to reduce background noise.
How to change your routine
Your nighttime routine can be improved by a few easy tweaks. Based on your time constraints and the key gains you want to achieve, plan your yoga practice around a few manageable goals.
Decide what motivates you to stick to your daily schedule. Maintaining a log of your progress, whether electronically or manually, rewarding yourself along the way, or finding an accountability partner are all possible methods of doing so.
If you share a home with others, make sure they know what to expect from your nightly routine. Be forgiving of yourself if you deviate from your usual schedule. It’s always possible to start over the next day.
Make Yoga for Sleep Work for You
Interested in trying yoga to get a better night’s sleep? Here’s a good place to begin.
Choose the right style of yoga for sleep.
According to Rowland-Seymour, not all yoga is made equal when it comes to relaxation. Yoga methods such as hot yoga and vinyasa (flow) are known to raise your heart rate and get your blood moving. In her words, “you wouldn’t run on the treadmill or do things before night any more than you would,” The most effective pre-sleep yoga practices are Nidra and hatha yoga (which focuses on breathing and more restorative poses, such as lying and sitting postures).
Set the scene for sleep
Because it’s a good idea to keep the bedroom for sleeping and sex separate, Rowland-Seymour suggests practicing yoga positions for sleep in a different room if feasible. Stretch out in a place where you can put your legs up against the wall and relax. If you like, turn down the lights and put on some relaxing music. It’s best to get into the postures with some padding under your feet, such as a yoga mat or carpeting. Pajamas or other clothing that doesn’t limit movement may also be helpful.
Focus on your breathing.
Yogic breathing is a critical component of its therapeutic benefits. Breathe and let thoughts float away during each session, so you may be fully present with what is happening right now. Is it difficult for you to concentrate? Rowland-Seymour suggests the following drill: Imagining yourself on the side of a highway, you’ll notice that the cars come and go at an incredible pace. She claims that no one would ever consider jumping into a nice car if they saw one. You wouldn’t do anything. Do the same with your own thinking. Rowland-Seymour advises people to first and foremost cultivate self-compassion. “You can do whatever your body can,” she says. Regardless of how your mind wanders or how your muscles feel stiff, don’t put yourself down.
The bottom line
Those who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night can benefit from the practice of bedtime yoga. Even if you’re just looking to get a better night’s sleep, doing yoga before bed may be the answer.
Relax and unwind by doing these calming yoga poses. Keep up your practice even if you don’t see any benefits for a few weeks. Track your improvement by keeping a journal. This will help you identify which components of your routine are most beneficial.