Bedtime Yoga: Relax and Unwind Before Bed
Sleep doesn't come easy for some. Between racing thoughts and sleep disorders, relaxing before bed can be tough. To relax before bed and actually get some sleep, a proper sleep routine is key. As a part of that routine, yoga can be beneficial to relax the mind and body while improving overall sleep quality.
Before you get into your flow before bed, here are a few healthy sleep habits you can add to your routine to help create a sleep practice that sticks.
1. Exercise regularly.
Daily exercise can improve sleep quality, but only when done at the right time. Try working out in the morning or afternoon and try to avoid doing any vigorous activity in the evening that may keep you awake at night.
2. Engage in calming activities.
Reading a book, taking a bath and journaling are all great activities you can do before bed that can help relax your mind before bedtime.
3. Meditate for 10 to 15 minutes.
In addition to yoga, a simple 10 to 15-minute meditation can help you relax physically and mentally. If you're new to meditation, try a guided meditation geared toward sleep.
4. Reduce blue light exposure at bedtime.
Blue light blocks our sleepy hormone, making it harder to fall asleep. About one to two hours before bedtime, try reducing blue light exposure from your phone or TV.
7 Yoga Poses to That Promote Relaxation
Incorporating a few of these poses into your evening routine can help relax your body and mind so you're ready to catch some z's and get a great night's sleep. Hop into your favorite pair of yoga leggings, grab your mat and put on some soothing music as you flow your way to sleep.
Also known as balasana, child's pose helps with relaxation and calmness while also helping to relieve tension in the back and shoulders. Start by kneeling on the floor with your toes together and hips shoulder-width apart. Slowly push your hips back, rest your chest in between your thighs and rest your forehead on the ground. Stretch your arms out in front of you and begin to take slow and steady breaths through your nose.
Hold the pose for three to five minutes, or however long you feel you need. To enhance this pose, try slowly rocking your head back and forth to relieve any tension in your brow.
Standing Forward Bend
Standing forward bend or uttanasana helps calm the nervous system and relax the spine, neck and shoulders. With your feet hip-width apart, bend forward at your hips and drop your torso forward. Hold onto the back of your legs as you elongate your spine. If you're comfortable, try shaking your head "yes" and "no" to relax your neck muscles. Hold this pose for 10 to 15 deep breaths.
Also known as savasana, this pose helps lower blood pressure and heart rate, relieve tension and promote relaxation. The best part about this pose is that it can be done from the comfort of your own bed. Begin by lying on your back with your legs straight and arms relaxed at your sides with your palms facing up.
Close your eyes and allow your body and mind to relax completely. Focus on deep breaths and hold the pose for five to 10 minutes, or however long you feel comfortable. This is a great pose to end your bedtime yoga practice with.
For more yoga poses and an example evening routine for better sleep, check out the infographic guide below.