Yoga offers many health benefits, but one that is sometimes overlooked is yoga’s ability to help you sleep better. Doing yoga at night can be a great part of your bedtime routine, helping you relax, wind down, and feel more centered before you drift off to sleep.
How Yoga Helps You Sleep
In a National Institutes of Health survey, more than 55 percent of yoga users reported improved sleep, and more than 85 percent yoga users reported reduced stress. Research indicates that yoga can be a treatment for insomnia. In a Harvard research study, participants who practiced yoga reported significant improvements in sleep efficiency, total sleep time, total wake time, sleep onset latency, and wake time after sleep onset.
Making Yoga Part of Your Bedtime Routine
Bedtime is a good time to practice yoga, as you can relieve stress, improve circulation, and promote calmness before you fall asleep. Use these tips to incorporate yoga into your bedtime routine:
Plan ahead. Make sure you have enough time to go through your yoga routine at night before bed. Plan out how long your routine takes, whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, and plan your evening so you can get started on time and still make it to bed on time.
Be consistent. You don’t have to do yoga before bed every night to see benefits, but you should follow a regular schedule. Whether you’re doing yoga every night or just a few nights a week, make sure you’re practicing consistently so you can make it a predictable part of your bedtime routine.
Practice yoga in bed. An exceptionally easy way to make yoga part of your bedtime routine is to do it in bed. There are many poses you can do in bed, such as the legs up the wall pose, knees to chest, happy baby pose, bridge pose, reclined spinal twist, and corpse pose. It’s best if you’re practicing yoga on a mattress that offers good support and doesn’t sink enough that you accidentally overstretch.
Choose calming yoga poses. Bedtime yoga is not meant to be energizing. Instead, you should choose poses that offer a restful yoga routine. Good choices include the standing forward bend pose, victorious breath, and legs up the wall.
Combine yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation work well together and can help you feel even more relaxed as you’re going to sleep. Combine yoga with mindful breathing, counting meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided meditation.
Practice healthy sleep habits. Bedtime yoga should be just one part of your healthy sleep habits. Make sure your sleep environment is quiet, comfortable, dark, and cool. Watch out for sleep pitfalls that can make it difficult to get healthy sleep, such as drinking coffee or alcohol before bed, screen time late at night, heavy meals, and vigorous exercise late in the evening.