Sleep is massively important and something we all need lots of. The average person spends about 26 years sleeping in their life which equates to 9,490 days or 227,760 hours. Yet, so many of us struggle to get enough. We spend thousands to get sleep treatments, when we could do some yoga poses for free.
Benefits of Yoga for Sleep Quality
Yoga can do a multitude of great things for your body when it comes to sleeping. From helping with sleep apnea, to opening airways, and cleaning out digestive organs, or simply by tiring you out, if you want the best sleep quality you need to get onto yoga.
Doing some bedtime poses may help you to destress, focus, relax and lower your general state of arousal. In turn, this can have the effect of lowering your blood pressure, and lowering the quantities of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your system. This kind of routine might also assist with other stress related issues, such as weight gain, anxiety, and of course, insomnia.
Doing yoga promotes both mental relaxation and physical relaxation. This naturally leads to a good night’s sleep. This can lead to a much better quality of life.
15 Yoga Poses to do in Bed
1. Cobra Lay
- Lie belly down, legs straight out behind you.
- Place your hands down on the bed in front of you and arch your back up and look up towards the ceiling.
- Let this pose broaden your chest, and let the stretch flow down through your abdomen, lower back, and thighs.
2. Knees to Chest
- Lay on your back, and pull your knees to your chest, similar to the fetal position.
- Every time you breathe out, pull your knees in a little closer.
- Keeping your back as flat as possible, your knees together and tucking your chin will also help to lengthen your spine.
3. Legs Up a Wall
- If your bed is against a wall you can use an actual wall to assist with this pose.
- Lie flat on your back and raise your legs up to as much of a right angle as you possibly can, keeping your legs as straight as possible.
- Flex your toes up to stretch out your calf muscles, and allow your back to release.
- This position is very restorative, and gives your cardiovascular system a bit of a break.
4. Child’s Pose
- Now turn back over onto your front, resting on your knees, legs tucked beneath you.
- Face the mattress and stretch your hands out in front of you.
- Try to push them further every time you exhale, and stretch your ribs away from your tailbone in order to lengthen your spine.
5. Happy Baby
- Lie flat on your back, and put your legs in the air, with bent knees kept wide.
- Next, grab your feet in your hands – much like babies often do.
- Happy baby pose is excellent for relieving tension in the lower back and in the mind too.
- If you want, you can roll side to side or backwards and forwards to help massage your back too.
- Try your best to smile too, as it is “happy” baby after all!
6. Twisted Roots
- Stay lying on your back, and twist your legs to one side, whilst twisting your head and the top of your torso to the other side.
- This is great for relieving tension in your spine and back area, and helps to squeeze some of your digestive organs so that you can help digest your daily food better before bed too.
- This works particularly well if you have been sitting at a desk all day too.
7. Sleeping Butterfly
- Sit up on your bed, and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you.
- Put your hands out in front and bend over towards them. Give yourself a good stretch whilst maintaining your breathing.
- Stretch as far as you are comfortable with and let your spine lengthen out.
- This pose also opens out your hips which can get very stiff during those long office hours.
8. Supported Child’s Pose
- Much the same as the previously mentioned child’s pose.
- The key difference here is to use a pillow under your stomach and chest area.
- Let this pose stretch out your spine, and cause it to lengthen.
- You will feel a nice massage in your upper arms/ shoulders, lower back and thighs.
- This can also release stress in your shoulders, sides, and upper arms.
9. Supported Half Frog Pose
- Lying on your belly, on top of a pillow, with one leg out straight and one tucked up to one side, about 90 degrees out so your knee is pretty much level with your hip, as comfortable.
- Turn your head out to rest in the same direction as this leg.
- Keeping your eyes, jaw and belly relaxed, and focusing on your breathing will allow for excellent relaxation and de-stressing.
10. Reclining Bound Angle Pose
- Lying flat on your back, you can choose to use a pillow under your head for support or not – bring the soles of your feet together with your knees out.
- You can place your hands anywhere but I choose to place them on my belly.
- Focus on your breathing and your chest going up and down.
- Focus on the sensation of your hands on your belly and allow your mind to detox from the day.
11. Wind Relieving Pose
Staying flat on your back, straighten out both legs. Then, lift one up holding your knee in your hands with your leg bent. This will help give your hamstrings, glutes and core a nice massage, and will help you to fall into a deeper state of relaxation. Swap legs after 30seconds to 1 minute, or as long as you feel it’s needed. Concentrate on your breathing. Everytime you exhale, try pulling your knee closer to your armpit.
12. Pillow Forward Fold
- Sit up straight with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Place a pillow on your legs, and then, extending your spine, reach out your hands towards your toes, placing your head on the pillow.
- Reach your hands only as far as you can, don’t overstretch. When you reach the point of comfort, rest them against the mattress and relax.
- Hold this for as long as needed. I sometimes hold for 10-15 minutes even.
- You will feel your spine elongate the more you do this, and a nice massage through your upper arms, lower back, and thighs, which will help your muscles relax.
13. Seated Meditation
- So, not a full yoga pose, but one that is often used in yoga.
- This is also part of mindfulness, which is another great tool that you can use to achieve a good , clear-minded, night’s sleep.
- Sit with your back up straight, your legs crossed, and place your hands on your knees.
- Keep your eyes closed. Focus on your breath as you both inhale, and then exhale slowly.
- Consider your thoughts, and allow yourself to become calm, relaxed, and declutter your mind before being able to get an excellent night’s sleep.
14. Reclining Hero Pose
- Starting in a supported hero’s pose, kneeling with a pillow under your behind, and on the bed behind you, lower yourself backwards until the entirety of your back is rested and supported by the pillow, with hands together on the centre of your chest, or on the heart chakra.
- Hold this pose for a number of minutes, or as long as you feel is needed. This pose will stretch out your thighs, knees, ankles, core and hip flexor muscles.
- When you release this pose, you will probably feel increased blood flow into your knees and lower body.
15. and finally… Savasana
- Once you are satisfied with the work of the other 14 poses, get into position with pillows supporting your head, lie flat on your back with your legs straight down (as much as is comfy) and your arms generally out from the sides a little.
- This is the perfect way to finish any yoga session, and bedtime yoga is no different. You will either fall asleep in this position itself, or by rolling onto your side when you feel ready.
Remember, you don’t have to do all 15, and you can select a handful until you feel ready for sleep. It’s important to note, that trying this one time only will not get you results, but creating a habit out of it will help! And finally, I wish you sweet dreams.
If you have trouble sleeping because of sleep apnea, check out this article about how to fix sleep apnea naturally and yoga poses, exercises to reduce sleep apnea.