Sleeping issues have become one of the most common complaints for people living in the modern world. It’s no wonder. A lot of people live very stressful, “plugged-in” lives, and that means it’s important to find a way to wind down before bed if we want to get a good night’s rest. Yoga can be very beneficial in settling down nervous energy in both your mind and your body. Here are seven yoga tips for better sleep.
Yoga and Sleep
Yoga can help facilitate better sleep through its ability to allow you to identify exactly what is troubling your mind, as well as what physical soreness is causing discomfort and harming your sleep. Yoga allows the practitioner to quiet their mind, which is helpful in and of itself, but that quiet may be the first opportunity in a long time for you to actually think deeply about what worries you. “As you move from task to task, and place to place in your day, you can be unaware of why you feel so stressed. One of the benefits of yoga is finding yourself in a place where you can isolate your physical and mental trouble spots,” advises Dennis Simmons, health writer at State of writing and Academized.
Yoga has been shown to improve the sleep of people with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, breast cancer, and osteoarthritis. For some people, beginning a yoga routine can be difficult, but it’s crucial to stick with it and be consistent. Try using your yoga routine to cap off your normal bedtime routine.
Remember Your Breath
Yoga is very much concerned with your breathing. One good way to start your yoga routine is to simply lie on your back, close your eyes, and get in touch with your breath. How do you get in touch with your breath? The first step is to become aware of how you are breathing. A lot of people don’t realize how rapidly they are breathing. Listen to your breath and you’ll probably be surprised how quickly you are breathing in and out. Focus on slowing down your breathing. This exercise on its own can be quite relaxing, but it is also a perfect way to start your yoga routine.
“Put one hand on your abdomen, with the other hand on your chest. Breathe in slowly, as if you were sipping air in through your nose. Then exhale gradually through your nose, keeping your mouth shut,” suggests Annette Foust, yoga blogger at Boomessays. Some people find it helpful to repeat a mantra in order to help pace their breathing. Try experimenting and see what works best for you. You can also try the lion’s breath exercise. Breathe in through your nose, and stick out your tongue as you exhale, doing so loudly, as if you were fogging up a mirror.
Winding Down Twist
The winding down twist should take you about two or three minutes. Sit cross-legged somewhere you’ll be comfortable and place your right hand on your left knee and your left hand behind your tailbone. Do this as you gently twist to your body to the left, the key word being gently. Look where you have pointed your body, you should be staring over your left shoulder. Return to your original position, and then repeat on your other side. Remember to line up your breaths with these movements.
Use Forward Folds to Relax
It’s best to let gravity do the work, rather than using your hand to pull yourself, or trying to achieve the perfect pose. Try the standing forward bend. Try and keep your legs unbent as you rest your torso on your thighs, but don’t worry if you have to bend your knees. The seated forward position can be very relaxing. Sit with your legs on the ground together in front of you. Bend your torso forward and see if you can touch your toes but remember not to do anything that doesn’t feel good.
Child’s pose is one of the simplest, and best-known yoga exercises. Start by sitting on your heels, with your knees forward. Slowly bring your torso forward, laying your head face down on the ground. Bring your chest as near your knees as you can, while still remaining comfortable, and extend both your arms straight in front of you. You can hold this pose for five or six minutes, while you focus on your breath.
This is a stretch you can do for around three to five minutes. Begin on your back, with your knees bent outward, the soles of your feet touching. Your legs should form a diamond shape in this position. Lay your arms on the floor or bed. You can place a pillow underneath your knees if this position feels strenuous.
Be Kind to Yourself
“A huge part of yoga is finding compassion for yourself and letting go of unproductive negative feelings and thoughts. One of your goals is to be kinder to your mind, as well as your body,” recommends William Owens, blog editor at Oxessays and Revieweal. Ask yourself, and answer honestly: are you harboring resentful or angry thoughts about yourself or other people in your life? These kinds of feelings are completely self-destructive, as well as detrimental to your quality of sleep. Holding a grudge is a bit like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die. In the end, you are only hurting yourself.
Make compassion for yourself a priority as you get into your yoga routine. Abandon the idea of perfection; you are doing this to improve yourself and your health, and there is no final, perfect stage. Don’t make your yoga routine just one more thing you are striving towards and stressing about.
Rock-a-bye roll is an exercise you can do for around seven or eight minutes. Begin by lying on your back, with your knees pulled into your chest. Place one ankle on top of the other and close your arms around your shins. Inhale as you rock your body up to sit, and then exhale and you lower back to your starting position. If you like, you can do this exercise on your bed, and once you are finished, lay back with your limbs extended and drift off to sleep.
Yoga can be a great way to wind down at the end of the day and get some sleep. If you use a yoga routine before bed to calm your mind and relax your body, you put yourself in an excellent position for a good night’s rest. Follow these seven yoga tips to get better sleep.
Sleep is important and a lot of people don’t sleep as well as they should. If you or a loved one live in Alaska and have chronic sleep issues, call Alaska Sleep Clinic for your FREE sleep assessment.
About the Author: Freddie Tubbs is a lifestyle writer and editor at Ox essays and Paper Fellows. He enjoys writing, reading, attending yoga events, and writing columns for the Vault and Essayroo blogs.