You’ve heard that a nighttime routine is the key to better sleep, but what tangible things can you incorporate to trigger your body and brain to start slowing down, turning off and prepping for sleep? Let’s start with these five yoga poses.
Creating a regular routine before bed is totally proven to help you sleep—but doing a little restorative yoga pre-bed can help your body relax even more. These five, slow yoga poses help release pent-up stress, while also quieting that round-and-round, what’s-next-on-the-to-do-list cycle your brain can get stuck on. Just follow along, and you’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time.
5 Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep Better
Try these in sequence, remembering to breathe deeply from your stomach. Hold each pose for up to two minutes for maximum relaxation.
- Legs Up the Wall Pose: Starting here, with your legs straight up in the air, bum against the wall, helps drain lymph and lactic acid. This can help prevent injury and decrease symptoms of fatigue and soreness if you spend a lot of time on your feet.
- Child’s Pose: It might seem like the default pose, but sitting back on your heels and laying your upper body down on the ground, arms outstretched, can calm and quiet your brain. It helps release your torso and encourage deep breathing, which calms your nervous system.
- Supine Spinal Twist: Lying on your back with your knees up to your chest, let your legs drop over to one side. This gentle twist not only lightly stretches and releases back muscles, but it also helps detoxify the body. After a minute or two, lift legs up and let them drop to the other side.
- Reclining Goddess Pose: Any pose with “goddess” in the name feels right to us, no? This one gives a light pelvic stretch, when you lay on your back, bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest and breathe deeply, letting your eyes close and your mind quiet.
- Corpse Pose: By the time you get here, you’re in full relaxation mode. You can stay here, stretched out, as long as you like. We recommend a body scan at this point: Find any areas of tension or muscle contraction and gentle release them, calming the body and mind systematically. Reciting a mantra to yourself or doing a pre-bed meditation can also drift you slowly into dreaming.
The idea is that you’re pretty much lights out at this point, so don’t plan to do much after your nighttime yoga practice. Let it lull you into a deep, restorative sleep—we know that’s where we’re headed!
Dr. Cassie Wilder is a registered Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) and founder of MIMC. Her passion is empowering her patients through education, understanding, and support through their healing journey. After graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and Health, Dr. Wilder earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, a fully accredited and nationally recognized institution in Phoenix, AZ. During her clinical training, she received extensive hands-on training with many leading experts in the field of functional medicine and developed a passion for treating hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular concerns, and adrenal fatigue.