November 20, 2023

Bedtime Yoga: Unwind with These 5 Poses for Better Sleep

Do you often find yourself tossing and turning, unable to drift off into a peaceful sleep? You’re not alone. Many people struggle with nighttime restlessness, but there’s a serene solution that might just be what you need: bedtime yoga.

This gentle practice helps calm your mind and prepare your body for a night of deep sleep. By incorporating simple yoga poses into your evening routine, you can ease the transition from day to night, releasing the day’s stress and aligning your body and mind for rest.

Bedtime yoga isn’t just about flexibility or relaxation. It’s a holistic approach to enhancing your sleep quality and overall well-being. Let’s explore how a few mindful stretches before bed can transform your nighttime experience.

helps calm your mind and prepare your body for a night of deep sleep

Why Practice Yoga Before Bed?

Practicing bedtime yoga can significantly enhance your sleep quality through several mechanisms. Maintaining a routine that supports good sleep hygiene includes moderate physical activity, which is an important factor in achieving better overall sleep quality.

It’s unsurprising that when you’ve exercised your body for a while, you feel like resting. However, don’t strain too far just before sleeping as it might produce an energizing effect – great for the morning but not for bedtime.

A low-intensity yoga sequence is enough to make you feel relaxed and ready to sleep. Short on time? Jump straight to our online series Evening Unwind to find inspiration and guidance for your bedtime yoga practice.

moderate physical activity is an important factor in achieving better overall sleep quality

Don’t just think about yoga poses (asana). In fact, yoga encompasses a broader and holistic plane than just the physical, such as the emotional, spiritual, and energetic layers.

Bedtime Meditation to Relax and Internalize

Research has shown that engaging in mindfulness meditation increases melatonin levels, which is crucial for regulating sleep cycles. This practice also helps reduce sleep disturbances, creating a more restful night.

There are many meditation techniques that you can try, starting with a simple body scan or focusing your attention on your breath. You might resonate with some more than others.

Need support to start meditating or just some inspiration? Check out Meditation, Mindfulness & Manifestation on Online Studio, a short series of guided meditation practices to help you establish a more centered state of being throughout your day.

Or, just browse our online catalog and filter out class styles by selecting “Meditation”. You will find many series that help you not only relax but also set you on the spiritual path of self-growth.

Bedtime Pranayama for Breathing Awareness

Our breath is a direct bridge to the subconscious world. Breathing connects inconsciously to our vagus nerve and our parasympathetic system, promoting relaxation.

You must have noticed that when you’re stressed out or anxious you breathe fast. On the other hand, when you’re relaxed your breathing slows down.

The opposite is also true. By regulating your breathing you can achieve a desired state. Enter Pranayama, an ancient set of techniques to control your breath and direct the energy across the body.

Bedtime Pranayama for Breathing Awareness

If you’re just getting started with Pranayama, don’t miss our Beginner’s Guide to Yogic Breathing to get a grasp of this ancient practice used by Yogis for hundreds of years to calm the mind, control energy levels, and pursue self-realization.

Moreover, associating breathing awareness with yoga poses, can promote relaxation and prepare the body for sleep. This link is fundamental in yoga and acts as a powerful relaxation tool by steering you away from worries and agitating thoughts.

Bedtime Yoga for Specific Conditions

Research highlights yoga’s specific benefits for individuals struggling with insomnia and restless leg syndrome (RLS). Yoga has been proven effective in managing sleep problems linked to these conditions.

More in detail, a study found significant improvements in sleep quality and a reduction in RLS symptoms after participants engaged in an eight-week yoga program.

yoga can help with some sleep disorders such as insomnia and restless leg syndrome (RLS)

In general, incorporating yoga into your evening routine is a scientifically backed method to improve not only sleep quality but also to manage and alleviate conditions that could interfere with restful sleep.

These findings are supported by comprehensive studies, showcasing yoga’s role in enhancing nighttime relaxation and facilitating a smoother transition to sleep.

Preparing for Bedtime Yoga

Preparing for bedtime yoga involves creating an environment and mindset conducive to relaxation and tranquility. Here’s how to set the stage for a serene yoga practice that promotes restful sleep:

  1. Create a calming atmosphere: Designate a specific area in your home for your yoga practice, ideally separate from high-traffic living spaces. Use dim lighting or candles to create a soft, soothing ambiance. Consider playing gentle, non-distracting music or nature sounds to enhance the relaxing environment.
  2. Choose comfortable attire: Wear loose, breathable clothing that allows you to move freely without discomfort. Avoid tight-fitting garments that could restrict circulation or breathing.
  3. Gather your yoga essentials: Have a yoga mat, cushions, or blankets handy to support your body during poses, especially those that involve sitting or lying down. These props can help maintain comfort and prevent strain during your practice.
  4. Minimize distractions: Ensure that your practice space is free from unnecessary disturbances. This might mean turning off your phone, notifying housemates not to interrupt, or keeping pets in another room.
  5. Set a gentle pace: Bedtime yoga should focus on relaxation rather than intensity. Choose slower, more meditative poses that emphasize deep breathing and gradual movements. Avoid vigorous sequences that could energize the body instead of calming it. More on this in the next section.
  6. Use aromatherapy: Incorporate calming scents such as lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood through essential oils or incense. These can enhance the relaxing effects of your yoga session and signal your body that it’s time to wind down.
Preparing for Bedtime Yoga includes creating an ideal environment for relaxation

Creating this ideal environment and preparing mentally and physically allows for a deeper, more beneficial yoga session that leads to better sleep quality. By making these preparations part of your nightly routine, you can enhance your overall relaxation and readiness for sleep.

5 Bedtime Yoga Poses to Help You Fall Asleep

For a restful night’s sleep, incorporating specific yoga poses that emphasize relaxation and ease of movement can be highly beneficial. The following poses are ideal for bedtime yoga, designed to relax the body and calm the mind, preparing you for a deep and peaceful sleep.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
  • Benefits: This pose helps to relieve symptoms of stress, mild depression, and menstrual discomfort. It also aids in digestion and stretches the inner thighs.
  • How to Perform:
    1. Lie on your back, bringing the soles of your feet together as you drop your knees out to the sides.
    2. Place your arms alongside your body with your palms facing up, or rest your hands on your belly to connect with your breath.
    3. Hold the pose for 1-5 minutes, focusing on deep, slow breaths. Use cushions or blankets under your knees for additional support if there is any strain.

Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)

Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)
  • Benefits: This pose gently stretches the spine and inner groin, calms the brain, and relieves stress and fatigue.
  • How to Perform:
    1. Lie on your back and with an exhale, bend your knees into your belly.
    2. Inhale and grip the outsides of your feet with your hands. If you cannot reach your feet, use a belt.
    3. Open your knees slightly wider than your torso and bring them towards your armpits.
    4. Position each ankle directly over the knee so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Gently push your feet up into your hands (or belt) as you pull down with your hands to create resistance.
    5. Hold for 1-3 minutes, focusing on maintaining even and deep breaths.

Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Pose)

Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Pose)
  • Benefits: This sequence helps to relieve back pain and stiffness, improves posture and balance, and is known for its stress-relieving and calming effects.
  • How to Perform:
    1. Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows, and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor.
    2. As you inhale, lift your chest and tailbone towards the ceiling, allowing your belly to sink toward the floor (Cow Pose).
    3. On your exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling, tucking your tailbone in and drawing your pubic bone forward (Cat Pose).
    4. Continue flowing from Cow on the inhales to Cat on the exhales for 1-2 minutes.

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
  • Benefits: This pose helps soothe headaches and anxiety and reduces fatigue. It also stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings.
  • How to Perform:
    1. Sit up with the legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping the spine erect.
    2. Inhale and raise your arms above your head. Then exhale as you bend forward from the hip joints, chin moving toward the toes.
    3. Place your hands on your legs, wherever they reach without straining.
    4. With each inhalation, lengthen the spine, and with each exhalation, deepen into your forward bend.
    5. Hold for 1-3 minutes, gently coming out of the pose on an inhalation.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Savasana (Corpse Pose)
  • Benefits: Savasana is crucial for calming the mind and body after yoga practice. It aids in the release of stress and tension and is often used for deep relaxation and introspection.
  • How to Perform:
    1. Lie flat on your back, preferably without any cushions or pillows, allowing your body to be completely level with the ground.
    2. Let your legs spread slightly apart and your toes flop to the sides. Place your arms alongside your body, palms facing upwards.
    3. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, focusing on relaxing every part of your body from the toes to the crown of your head.
    4. Remain in this pose for 5-10 minutes, allowing your body to absorb the benefits of your yoga practice and transition into a state of deep rest.

How to Integrate Bedtime Yoga into Your Nightly Routine

By now, you should be convinced that integrating bedtime yoga into your nightly routine can enhance your sleep quality and overall well-being. But how to do that? Here are some practical tips to make this practice a consistent part of your evening:

How to Integrate Bedtime Yoga into Your Nightly Routine
  1. Set a specific time: Establish a regular schedule by practicing yoga at the same time each night. This consistency helps regulate your body’s clock and signals to your brain that it’s time to wind down.
  2. Keep sessions manageable: Start with short sessions, around 10-15 minutes, and gradually increase as you feel comfortable. It’s more beneficial to have a consistent, manageable routine than to start with longer sessions that may feel overwhelming.
  3. Create a pre-sleep ritual: Incorporate bedtime yoga as part of a larger pre-sleep routine. This might include dimming the lights, turning off electronic devices an hour before bed, or reading a book to relax your mind.
  4. Reflect on your practice: After completing your yoga session, spend a few minutes in reflection or meditation, acknowledging the peace and relaxation you’ve cultivated. This can deepen the effects of the practice and enhance your readiness for sleep.
  5. Adapt the practice to your needs: Listen to your body and adjust the poses and duration according to your comfort and energy levels each night. Personalizing your practice ensures it remains enjoyable and stress-free.

By following these steps, bedtime yoga can become a grounding tool that not only prepares your body for sleep but also enriches your overall nighttime ritual, leading to better sleep and a more refreshed morning.

Practice Bedtime Yoga With Online Studio: Evening Unwind

If you’re looking for visual guidance and inspiration to practice bedtime yoga, our “Evening Unwind” series in the Online Studio is a perfect resource!

Discover blissful relaxation with this series crafted to help you release the day’s tensions and embrace tranquility. Through gentle yoga flows and mindfulness exercises, you’ll enhance your physical mobility, ease muscle stiffness, and deeply relax your mind.

Each class is designed to help you step away from daily stresses, promoting a calm, centered evening that paves the way for restorative sleep.

Not an Online Studio member yet? No worries! Try our platform free for 7 days and begin your journey towards a peaceful nighttime ritual with “Evening Unwind”. Join us to find your perfect evening self-care routine and unwind in the comfort of your own space.

Final Thoughts

As we close our exploration of bedtime yoga, we reflect on its intrinsic ability to enhance nightly rest and overall wellness. By incorporating gentle yoga poses and mindful breathing techniques, you can significantly improve your relaxation and sleep quality.

From the calming flow of Cat-Cow to the deep tranquility of Savasana, each pose helps soothe both body and mind, preparing you for a deep sleep.

To support and inspire your practice, our “Evening Unwind” series in the Online Studio offers guided sessions that perfectly complement this routine, enhancing both your physical and mental relaxation.

Embrace these practices nightly, and watch as they transform your sleep into a more peaceful and rejuvenating experience. Start your journey tonight – your better sleep awaits!

bedtime yoga favors relaxation and improves sleep quality