Are you getting enough sleep? Stupid question, huh? Very few people are.
The CDC reports an estimated 50-70 million Americans have some type of sleep disorder. It might be trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, disturbed sleep. Whatever it is, we all need more sleep.
Lack of sleep has been known to contribute to:
- Higher rate of accidents
- Impaired cognitive function
- Weight gain
- Health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes to name a few
- Lower sex drive
- Higher rate of depression
- Aging skin
…this list is not complete, but I bet it’s enough to get you thinking.
Related: 7 Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep
While there are many ways to try to resolve sleep issues, doctors almost always agree that starting with natural remedies first is the best way to go. And one of the best natural remedies is a little stress relief at bedtime with some light yoga and breathing. It’s free, non-toxic and addictive in a good way!
So, we’ve put together a perfect bedtime yoga routine for you to try. It will give you some muscle and tension release and promote a relaxed and calming breath pattern. And, just in case it works, you might want to wash your face and brush your teeth before you begin!
For each of the following exercises, hold for the time specified and remember the most important part of this practice is slow, steady, deep breaths.
Here’s how to perform a forward fold:
1) With knees soft, reach hands toward feet and hold onto your ankles or calves.
2) Relax the back of your neck as you place your nose close to your knees.
3) Breath gently and slowly in and out through your nose.
Hold for 30-60 seconds.
Here’s how to perform a sleeping pigeon:
1) Begin in a plank position. Tighten your abdominals and pull your right knee toward your right hand placing your right foot as close to your left hand as you can.
2) Keep your back leg long and keep your hips even as you relax your weight through the middle of your hips.
3) Slowly begin to lower your chest over your front shin relaxing forehead on the mat and arms stretched overhead.
Breathe and hold for 30-60 seconds. Slowly lift chest up, step back into plank and switch sides.
Here’s how to perform fish pose:
1) Begin in a seated position and place hands palms down under glutes so you are sitting on your hands.
2) Open your chest and shoulders and tighten your abs as you slowly lower back onto your forearms.
3) Relax your neck and lower your head back until the crown of the head touches the floor. Be careful not to put weight on your head.
4) Breathe, keeping chest and shoulders open.
Hold for 30 seconds.
Lying Big Toe
Here’s how to perform lying big toe:
1) Begin lying flat on your back with legs long and arms by side
2) Raise your right leg up, bending the knee enough to grab your big toe with middle and index fingers of the right hand.
3) Holding your toe, gently lengthen your right leg straight up in the air and then slowly lower it down on your right side until leg is perpendicular to body.
Breathe and hold 30 seconds. Switch sides.
Here’s how to perform happy baby:
1) Begin lying on your back and grab your big toes with your index and middle fingers.
2) Gently draw toes down so knee pull toward shoulders. Keep elbows gently pressing knees open.
3) Close your eyes. Relax and breathe slowly and fully.
Hold 60 seconds.
Here’s how to perform Savasna:
1) Lay on your back with legs long, feet hip width apart and arms relaxed by your side with palms up.
2) Let your feet fall into their natural position either outward or inward.
3) Relax your hand and let your fingers curl naturally.
4) Close your eyes. Focus on your breath as you relax each and every part of your body.
Stay here as long as you’d like. Sweet dreams!