Oh, a good night of sleep; it can change your attitude, make you feel better, and reduce stress. Unfortunately, most of us seem to be missing out on regular nights of quality slumber. Between stressful jobs, family activities, and oftentimes a not so great diet can lead us to poor sleep and poor sleep routines. If you are struggling to find quality sleep at night, you may benefit from a before bed practice of restorative asanas and some quiet meditation. Here are some suggestions for bedtime yoga and why it works.
The Sleep Problem
Getting good sleep seems to be an epidemic of sorts in this country. Our lives are full of stimulation. We watch too much TV, we spend hours of the day on the computer, our way to quiet down is to read a book or play a game on our tablet. By the time we go to bed, our brain is so over stimulated that it’s hard to shut it down. Once you’ve stared down the path of bad sleep it can be hard to restart your circadian rhythm and return to a normal, healthy sleep routine. More and more adults in this country complain of inadequate sleep, and struggle with fatigue during the day. And while it may seem like a minor problem, missing sleep can have substantial impacts on your overall health.
The Health Problem
Ayurvedic medicine speaks loudly on the importance of quality sleep for a healthy body. According to this traditional method of healing, sleep during the hours between 10 pm and 2 am allows your body to properly digest everything from food, to all of the information we’ve gathered during the day, and the emotions that we’ve felt. Sleeping during this time is important to helping your body heal from daily damage. A great night of sleep is also important to the way you relate to the world. Quality sleep can reduce stress, decrease blood pressure, heart rate, depression and anxiety. People that get good sleep are also more likely to be a healthy weight, be more optimistic, have better memory and are more effective problem solvers. Missing sleep is more than just being tired. It impacts the whole body.
Steps for Better Sleep
For many people, the hardest part of finding better sleep is letting go of the electronics. Turn off your phone an hour before bed. This will allow your body to start letting go of outside stimulation. Make a goal of being in bed before 11 pm. If you get into bed and are still having a hard time quieting down for sleep, try a sequence of restorative asanas. These are the best asanas for getting ready for sleep, and what makes them great is that you can do them while in bed!
- Child’s pose – Modify this pose to make it gentler by supporting your chest and abdomen on a couple of pillows. Instead of resting your forehead on the bed, relax your cheek on the pillow for a relaxed and natural feeling.
- Supported half frog pose – From Child’s pose, extend one leg out to the side and bend it at a 90-degree angle with your knee level with your hip. Straighten out your other legs as much as it will allow. Hold this pose for a few breaths, then switch legs.
- Reclining bound angle pose – This is a great pose to open your hips and release emotions. In this pose, support your thighs by placing pillows under each knee. This will create a good opening, without stressing your hips.
- Supported reclining twist – Place a pillow between your knees before starting this pose. With arms extended, allow both knees to fall to the same side, without lifting your back or shoulders. This pose gives a great stretch to the lower back and also can be a good heart and chest opener.
Sleep is so important to a healthy body. A regular yoga practice can help you achieve a better night’s sleep. The Yoga Studio Downtown has regular restorative yoga classes to help you wind down and prepare for a peaceful night of sleep and healing. Call us today at (586) 991-0760 or stop into our downtown Utica studio to learn more about our wide variety of yoga classes and instructors.