Insomnia is a real problem in the United States, with the Sleep Health Foundation reporting that nearly one in every three Americans has, at minimum, mild insomnia. In addition to being incredibly frustrating for the sufferer, insomnia can lead to a number of poor health outcomes, including weight gain and compromised immune function.
Many insomnia sufferers take prescription or over-the-counter drugs in hopes of getting a restful night's sleep. While this is an excellent option for some people, medications often come accompanied by significant side effects. If you're looking to keep your use of insomnia medications to a minimum, it may be in your best interest to infuse yoga into your bedtime routine. Give the following yoga poses a try and get ready to catch some Z's:
Standing Forward Fold
Although it's typically used to prepare the body for the sun salutation, the standing forward fold is also a great way to begin your pre-bedtime routine. By dropping your head below the heart, you can ease a variety of mental problems that make it difficult to sleep, including stress, anger, and sadness. Additionally, the pose is believed to aid in digestion.
Begin by standing straight up in the mountain pose, with your arms by your sides. Exhale and bend forward, allowing your head to hang down by your knees. The full version of the pose involves straight legs, but you can modify it by bending your knees or using a prop for your hands, if you wish. Press your weight into the balls of your feet and strive for a long and straight torso.
Focus on your breath and allow yourself to sink into the stretch whenever you exhale.
The child's pose is often suggested as an alternative for beginners who get worn out during long yoga sessions. It's also a great option for promoting rest and relaxation before bedtime. It naturally calms the mind, while also stretching out a back that may have grown stiff and sore after a long day at work.
Child's pose begins on hands and knees, with the big toes touching and the knees spread apart. Lean forward and place your torso between your thighs. Your arms can either be placed overhead or by your legs. Regardless of where you place your arms, it is important to focus on your breathing. Aim to press your stomach against your thighs whenever you inhale. Hold the pose for between ten and fifteen slow breaths.
Also known as savasana, the corpse pose is frequently used at the very end of yoga classes, with attendees encouraged to lie back, focus on their breathing, and let their worries float away. It's a great way to bring a successful yoga session to a close. The corpse pose also serves as the perfect transition from wakefulness to sleep.
To begin, find a comfortable place to rest on your back. Extend your legs and leave your arms by your sides with your palms facing up. Close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath. Strive to breathe slowly and deliberately through your nose. As you continue to breathe, your body will begin to feel heavy and relaxed. Embrace this feeling and let yourself go deeper into this relaxed state.
Corpse pose is typically held for much longer than other poses. In yoga class, it might only last five minutes, but at home, you can remain in savasana for fifteen minutes or even longer. When you decide that you're ready to come out of the pose, do so very slowly. Begin by wiggling your fingers and toes and slowly nodding your head or turning it side to side. Roll onto your side and curl in a fetal position. Eventually, you'll be ready to open your eyes, get up, and head to bed.
The more regular of a pre-bedtime yoga routine you establish, the easier you'll find it to get the quality of sleep you desire. Play around with your bedtime yoga approach and use whichever poses work best for you.