“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” “Grind now. Sleep later.” Those are popular pieces of advice that people give to those who want success. But if you’ve been paying attention to health science lately or are just plain worn out after a long day, then you know that sleep is vital to your success and overall health.

Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your body.

It affects every aspect of our health including memory, cognition, aging, and sex drive, as well as increases your risk of getting high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and more.

Today, we focus on the link between yoga and sleep, plus give you some poses to do to foster a better night’s sleep.

How Does Yoga Help You Sleep?

Although many types of yoga, like vinyasa flow or hot yoga, can energize you, a gentle yoga routine can promote relaxation and ease your mind and body into a restful state.

  • Yoga helps regulate the nervous system. Practicing yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, or the system that lower the heart rate and blood pressure, allowing the body to return to a relaxed state after experiencing a stressful event.
  • Yoga releases tension and melts away stress. Practicing yoga has been shown to lower cortisol levels (the hormone that causes stress).
  • Yoga promotes deep breathing. A big part of yoga is focused breathing. Getting oxygen to the cells purifies the mind and body while bringing you to a balanced state.
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Yoga Poses for Restful Sleep

Legs Up the Wall

  • Perform this pose near a wall. Lie on your back.
  • Raise the legs up and lie them flat against the wall.
  • Lay the arms along the sides of the body.
  • Relax and breathe deeply.

Child’s Pose

  • Come to a kneeling position on the floor with your heels under your buttocks and your knees wide.
  • Sit back on your heels, resting your torso on your thighs. Place your forehead as close to the floor as possible.
  • Place your hands flat on the floor. Spread the fingers apart and stretch the arms gently forward.
  • Release any tension in your neck and shoulders.
  • Close your eyes. Relax and breathe smoothly for 10 deep breaths.

Standing Forward Bend

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a deep breath in, then exhale as you bend forward from the hips.
  • Reach for your knees, shins, toes or floor.
  • Aim to press your chest against your thighs.
  • Shake your head “yes” and “no” to relax the muscles in your head and neck.
  • Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths.

Deep Breathing

  • Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor.
  • Press your thumb on your right nostril to restrict breathing.
  • Inhale and exhale deeply through your left nostril only.
  • Continue this for 10 deep breaths.
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