Kate Bennett, a yin yoga teacher and co-founder of yoga and fitness blog Starting Out Somewhere, believes that adding yoga poses to your bedtime routine can help you sleep more deeply.
“These days, we lead very busy lives with lots of distractions that can make it hard to switch off before bed (Netflix auto-play, I’m looking at you!),” Kate says.
“By turning off the TV, putting our phones on silent and gently stretching our bodies before bedtime, we can learn to clear our minds and find a sense of calm that will help us to sleep restfully.
“Here are a few poses that you can do in bed, in your pyjamas, to help you nod off. If any of them don’t work for you or don’t feel right, then no pressure – simply try the next one.
“The important thing here is to find a routine that is relaxing for you and your body.”
Kate shares the best yoga poses that can be done before bed to help mind and body relax, resulting in a good night’s sleep.
5 restorative yoga poses for sleep
This is one of our more active poses, so is a great place to start. It’s a gentle inversion, relieving your lower body and providing a calming effect on your central nervous system.
It’s also a lovely way to stretch out those hamstrings, which are often tight from standing or sitting all day.
Lie on your back, lifting and extending your hips and sit bones a little to make sure that your back is nice and long.
Bring your knees up to your chest, then extend the legs, so that they’re at a 90-degree angle to your body.
Your knees can be bent or not, depending on how your body is feeling. Bring your arms out to the side, close down the eyes and relax, breathing deeply for 10-15 breaths.
You can also do this pose against a wall or headboard, for a more restorative version.
This pose is super easy to come into from Waterfall, and is a lovely way to relieve tension in both the lower back and the mind.
From Waterfall, bring your knees back into your chest and grab the outside of the sides of your feet.
Extend your legs a little and bring your knees wide, letting your elbows fall inside your thighs. Push into your hands, feeling a nice stretch.
You can gently roll from side to side or forward and backward to give your lower back a little massage.
Have a little smile on your face as you do this pose (it is called Happy Baby, after all!) – this will invite a release of any stress from your day that you’re holding on to.
Hold for 10-15 breaths.
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This is another great pose for your spine, twisting out any aches and pains that may have come from sitting at a desk or walking around.
It also provides a gentle massage for your internal digestive organs, which can help your dinner to go down before bed.
From Happy Baby, bring your legs down so that your heels are on the bed and your knees are pointing towards the ceiling.
Push through your heels, lift your hips and place them back on the bed, over to one side.
Bring your knees up towards the chest, stopping wherever feels comfortable, and then let them fall to the opposite side. You might want to support them with a pillow if this is uncomfortable.
Spread your arms or bring them to a cactus shape, then look in the opposite direction to your knees to also stretch out the neck a little.
Hold for 10-15 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
This pose will help you to open through your hips, which can become closed and tight when sitting, as well as stretching through that lower back.
Slowly bring yourself up from Twisted Roots and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you, being mindful of your knees.
Your feet can be as near or as far away from your pelvis as feels good, and you may need to sit on a pillow to elevate your hips, or support your knees either side with pillows.
Inhale and stretch your spine upwards, then gently start to fold forwards, curving spine and neck to bring your forehead towards your feet.
Stop wherever feels as though you have found a good stretch, and stay for 10-15 breaths, breathing into your back.
Supported Child’s Pose
This is the perfect pose to end the sequence – not only does it stretch out hips and back one last time, but it’s also very soothing for our central nervous system, as it feels like a big hug.
Take a pillow (or a bolster) and sit on one end, with your thighs on either side and your sit bones against your heels.
Gently fold forward to come to rest on the pillow, with your head turned to one side, keeping your sit bones and heels together if possible. If not, pop a blanket or pillow between them.
Relax into the pillow, letting it hold your weight and try to let go of any thoughts that are still bouncing around in your mind.
Stay here for 10-15 breaths, then repeat with your head facing the other way, though don’t worry if you fall asleep before you get to the second side.
Sweet dreams yogis!