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Relaxing yoga exercises for a good night’s sleep

According to research if you struggle to get a good night’s sleep then you’re more likely to experience anxiety, depression and diabetes. However don’t worry, you’re not alone! Now because of the hectic lives we live and our inability to switch off our technology and our brains more and more of us are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep and everyone is looking for a solution.

However fear not, there are ways to improve your sleep quality and be sure that you’re getting enough Zzz’s. One great way to do this is to try yoga. Yoga is a great way to relax your mind, take some time to centre yourself and ease tension in your body, all of which will help you have a good night’s sleep.

In this article we highlight 8 yoga exercises that will help you get a good night’s sleep. These moves will relax your body and mind and you can even do them all from your bed.

    1. Standing forward bend

This is a great exercise for feeling like all the stress is leaving your body through your head. Simply stand up straight and tall. Breathe in and reach your arms out straight above you, then as you breathe out hold your tummy in tight and fold forward with a straight back. Tuck your chin in to your chest, relax your shoulders and extend towards your floor, lengthening your spine. Shift your weight forward on your toes and straighten your legs as much as you can. If you can, place your hands on the floor with your fingers in line with your toes and hold here for 10 breaths.

    1. Winding down twist

Sit cross-legged on your bed and breathe out as you place your right hand on your left knee and left hand on the bed behind your tailbone. Gently twist your torso to the left and allow your gaze to follow, looking over your left shoulder. Breathe deeply, return to centre and repeat on other side.

    1. Night-time goddess stretch

Lie on your back with knees bent and place the soles of your feet together. Let your knees fall open, forming a diamond shape with your legs and rest your arms on the bed. If you feel any strain, elevate your legs by placing a pillow underneath each knee. Take a few deep breaths in this position, relax and enjoy the stretch.

    1. Abdominal Twist

Pull your knees into your chest and drop them to the right as your arms open out into a T shape. Turn your head to the left. Pay attention to what you’re looking at when you turn your head. Relax the muscles around your eyes and simply see what is right in front of you – this is great to help you focus on the present and relieve stress and frustration. Stay here for 5 deep breaths, then release your arms and bring your knees back to centre while lowering both feet to the floor.

    1. Lizard Pose

Lizard pose is great for helping to reduce stress and aid sleeping. It relaxes the muscles in your back and stomach and can help with chest, neck and leg pain. Not only that, it is said to help relieve indigestion too.

Start by inhaling deeply in the plank pose and then raise your shoulders up and clasp your hands together behind your back. Breathe out slowly and root the top part of your feet into the ground. Breathe in as you slowly lift up your chest and arms. Then relax into the position and hold it while slowly taking deep breaths. To finish, release your hands and breathe out slowly, pushing your body into downward-facing dog.

    1. Legs up the Wall

This is a great stretch to incorporate at the end of the day as it takes the weight off your feet, improves your circulation and will gently stretch your lower back.

To start, sit next to a wall and lie onto your back, bringing your knees into your chest. Straighten your legs and place them onto the wall while shuffling your bum closer to the wall. Allow your heels to rest on the wall. Extend your arms over your head for an added stretch. If you don’t have a wall near your bed you can do this by simply lifting your legs up in the air at a ninety degree angle to your body and flex your toes to feel the stretch.

    1. Child Pose

Child pose is a great pose for simply taking a minute to breathe and relax. It’s a nice one to finish on as it allows you to take that time to stretch out, relax and gather your thoughts.

From a kneeling position, lower your chest down towards your thighs and your forehead towards the floor. Then either let your arms fall down by your sides with your hands next to your feet, or lengthen your hands out in front and put them underneath your forehead. Breathe deeply and as you exhale sink the bum down towards your heels. Stay here for however long feels good to you and be conscious of your breathing simply taking the moment to relax.

    1. Rock a bye roll

Lie on your back and hug your knees in to your chest. Cross your ankles and wrap both arms around your shins with clasped hands. Breathe in and rock your body up to sit and then breathe out as you roll back. Continue to do this for 1 minute, then roll back and extend arms and legs. This is a great exercise for making you feel ready to fall straight to sleep after you’ve executed it.

Try these yoga exercises daily before you go to sleep and you will begin to see an improvement in both your quality of sleep and how easy it is to drift off. Also be mindful of your use of technology in the bedroom and set up the place where you sleep to be relaxing. If soothing music or candle light helps you relax then use these too. This along with the above exercises will have you going to sleep with ease and waking up feeling refreshed and well rested.

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