Practicing yoga before bedtime is a terrific way to release everything you’re holding onto mentally or physically before sinking into a peaceful night of deep sleep.
Incorporating a relaxing yoga practice into your nighttime routine may improve the quality and duration of your sleep. This is especially beneficial for people who sleep lightly, have insomnia, or have limited time to sleep.
Read on to learn about the benefits of bedtime yoga, yoga postures to try, and tips for success.
Take a look at some benefits of a bedtime yoga routine.
1. Alleviates insomnia
Practicing yoga regularly can help you to manage symptoms of insomnia. You may be able to fall asleep quicker, sleep for longer, and go back to sleep after waking up at night.
More in-depth studies are needed to expand upon these findings.
2. Weight loss
A consistent yoga practice is related to weight loss and quality sleep. Doing yoga before bed may help you to sleep better, which has a positive effect on weight maintenance and weight loss. It may also help you to be more mindful of your eating habits.
3. Improves sleep quality and quality of life
Yoga is a natural alternative to pharmaceutical sleep aids that are often given to older adults.
Researchers in a
4. Promotes relaxation
Yoga may help to put your body in a calm state, known as the relaxation response. This is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. Doing calming yoga poses may help you to relax and enter a lower state of arousal.
This may cause you to have lower blood pressure and lower amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. A routine may help to alleviate stress-related concerns such as weight gain, anxiety, and insomnia.
There aren’t many drawbacks to doing yoga before bed as long as you do the poses safely. If you feel that even gentle poses will stimulate your mind or body enough to keep you awake, then it’s best to avoid them. Instead, focus on meditation, breathing techniques, or tai chi.
Your body may be more open and flexible in the later hours of the day. Use muscular strength to balance flexibility and avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits. If you have any medical concerns, including injuries, speak to your doctor before starting a new practice.
Do these passive, gentle yoga poses to get your body and mind ready for sleep.
You can use a cushion or bolster under your hips. To modify this pose, place the soles of your feet together or open your legs wide.
- Sit with your right side alongside a wall.
- Swing up your legs against the wall as you lie on your back, placing your hips against or close to the wall.
- Rest your arms in a comfortable position.
- Follow your breath and focus on releasing tension in your body.
- Stay in this pose for up to 5 minutes.
This calming restorative pose quiets the nervous system and alleviates stress. For extra support, place blocks or cushions under your knees.
- From a seated position, press the soles of your feet together.
- Open your knees to the sides.
- Lie down on your back.
- Place your hands in a comfortable position.
- Hold this pose for up to 5 minutes.
- You can also do this as a stretch with a partner, as seen in the GIF above.
This relaxing pose enhances flexibility while lengthening and stretching the spine. For extra support, place a cushion under your forehead, chest, or thighs.
- From tabletop position, sink your hips back toward your heels.
- Place your knees close together or out wide.
- Relax your chest and allow it to sink into your thighs.
- Relax any tension along your spine.
- Stay in this pose for up to 5 minutes.
Do this restorative pose at the end of your practice. During this time, you can simply relax. Or do guided imagery, meditation, or yoga nidra.
- Lie on your mat or in your bed.
- Position your feet a little wider than hip-distance apart.
- Align your head, neck, and spine.
- Focus on your breath as you completely let go of tension in your body.
- Allow your body to fall heavy.
- Stay in this position for up to 15 minutes.
Yoga nidra is a type of guided meditation that improves sleep quality, reduces stress, and encourages a deep state of relaxation. The practice involves lying down, breathing deeply, and following the verbal cues that work to calm your mind and melt away tension.
Here are a few yoga nidra recordings that you can download.
There are several ways to get the most out of your bedtime yoga routine. Set an attainable time, even if it’s only 10 minutes. This way you’ll have plenty of time to complete your chosen practice, extend the session if time permits, and make it to bed by your designated bedtime.
Choose slower types of yoga such as hatha, yin, or restorative. Avoid yoga practices such as hot or vinyasa. Focus on postures that are calming, restorative, and inward-focused.
Stay away from active, energizing postures, such as backbends. At the end of your session, do breathing exercises that promote quality sleep.
Create a healthy sleep environment by choosing a comfortable temperature, clearing the room of electronics, and using candles or an essential oil diffuser to create a relaxing aroma.
Practice in a room with dim lighting and use an eye mask for longer holds. For background music, opt for music that helps you to sleep, such as binaural beats or Solfeggio frequencies. You can use earplugs to block out noises.
Make small, simple changes to your nighttime habits. Design your yoga practice around a few attainable goals based on the amount of time you have available and the main improvements you aim to make.
Decide what gives you the incentive to stick to your routine. This may include keeping track of your progress electronically or in a journal, rewarding yourself, or having an accountability partner.
If you live with others, let them know what to expect of your nighttime routine. Be easy on yourself if you slip from your routine. You can always commit to starting again the following day.
Bedtime yoga is beneficial for people who have numerous sleeping concerns. Whether you’re looking for deeper sleep or more of it, practicing yoga before bed may be exactly what you need.
Do these relaxing poses to loosen up muscle tension, relax, and unwind. Stay consistent in your practice knowing that it may take up to a few weeks before you see results. Keep a journal so you can see your progress and determine which aspects of your routine bring the most benefit.