yoga for sleep

Does Yoga Help Insomnia? Here's What We Discovered..

By James Oakley

yoga for sleep

Here at Yogi Bare we already love yoga and the benefits it brings to our mental well-being and our physical well-being too. But to add to our ever growing list of reasons to love yoga even more is that it can help you sleep better and even help improve insomnia. Another perfect excuse to roll out your mat on a regular basis!


Does yoga help insomnia?

The short answer is yes it does! Performing yoga on a daily basis will not only improve your core strength, stress levels and flexibility, but you will also find you will sleep for longer periods of time and more deeply. You may even find when you wake up in the middle of the night, your previous yoga session will help you fall back to sleep more quickly. Nothing is quite as frustrating as laying awake, absolutely shattered and unable to doze off!


Yoga for insomnia

Insomnia can occur to any of us at any point in our lives, including pregnant women, those over 60 years of age, those receiving chemotherapy and everyone in between. Psychology Today found that as many as 40% of adults in the United States experience some type of insomnia every year, and 10-15% experience chronic insomnia. That is a lot of Yogi Bare’s! This is where the wonderful world of yoga comes in. Yoga can be practiced by everybody and every body, and can be adapted to any level of flexibility, strength or fitness level.


The Sleep Foundation found a positive connection between yoga and sleep, reporting that cancer patients slept better when they practiced yoga, that pregnant women woke up less often through the night in their second trimester when they practiced mindful yoga and those over 60 years of age experienced better quality sleep, slept for longer and felt better during the day when they performed regular yoga. And this isn’t to mention the other positive secondary effects of getting better sleep such as less anxiety, improved mental health, boosted immune system and better overall health. Treating insomnia and getting a good night’s sleep is an important endeavour and we are here to help you along that journey together...


Yoga to help you sleep better

Yoga can be part of the missing puzzle piece in your perfect bedtime routine, ideal for preparing any struggling Yogi Bare to doze off come bedtime. However it is important that you choose the right form of yoga if you are doing this directly before shut eye. You could assume that tiring yourself out with an energetic yoga routine is the key to a good night, but pre-bedtime yoga is more about calming your mind and body, and winding down from your day. Some variations of yoga can be energising, getting the blood pumping and energy levels up, the last thing you need at 9pm! For this reason try and avoid hot yoga and Vinyasa flow for example and instead incorporate more mindful meditative yoga…


Here are a few poses that are ideal for preparing your body for sleep…

1. Forward Fold

This yoga pose will help you calm your parasympathetic nervous system, slow down your bodily processes and release tension.

Stand upright, inhale deeply and raise your arms above your head and meet them in the middle. As you exhale, bend at the waist letting your arms hand directly beneath your head. Take 10 to 15 deep and slow breaths before rising to stand. 

2. Supine Twist

The twisting action of this yoga pose will help your body to detox, reduce back pain and release tension before sleep. 

Lie on your yoga mat, inhale deeply and draw your knees to your chest. As exhale, extend your arms out to your sides and allow your knees to fall to one side of your body. Stay in this pose for 5 deep breaths before drawing your knees back to your chest and repeating on the other side.

3. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

This yoga pose is a passive one and ideal for preparing your body and brain for sleep.

Move your mat to an area with wall space and lie down parallel with your knees bent. As you inhale lift your feet from your mat and slowly swing your torso so it is perpendicular to the wall. Place your sitting bone at the base of the wall and extend your legs upwards. Stay in this pose for as long as you feel comfortable, breathing deeply and releasing tension.

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