Yoga for Sleep: Poses that Help You Catch Better ZZZ’s

by Cris Puscas

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We already know that getting enough quality sleep plays an important role in our health. Have you ever felt cranky in the morning just to realize you tossed and turned all night? Or maybe you track your sleeping patterns with an activity monitor and realize you barely get any deep sleep. Whatever the problem is with your rest, yoga can significantly help make things better.  

Sleep is vital for our brains to function properly, whether we learn new things, take decisions, solve problems, or cope with change. Not getting enough sleep is linked to obesity and health problems. And we all know how our productivity takes a dive after an all-nighter.

No matter why you need to catch better zzz’s, correctly practiced restorative yoga can truly make a difference. Multiple studies show that practicing yoga regularly can help people who suffer from insomnia and has a lot of benefits for pregnant women.

Without further ado, here are some yoga poses and breathing exercises to help you get a better sleep.

Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)

yoga poses for sleep viparita karani

Remember how you used to study for exams? Somehow, you’d always end up with your legs on the wall - or was that just me? Turns out, this is a restorative pose to do before going to sleep, especially if you are stuck at the desk all day.

  • Lie on the ground on your back and put your legs up the wall.

  • Spread your arms and relax.

  • Focus on your breathing as you hold the position for at least 30 sec.

Sama Vritti (equal breathing)

yoga poses for sleep sama vritti breathing

Sama Vritti helps your mind calm down. It is known as equal breathing and, as the name suggests, you need to take the same amount of time to inhale and exhale.

  • Count to 3 as you breath in, slowly.

  • Pause and then count to 3 as you breathe exhale.

  • Work up to 10 counts for each inhalation and exhalation.

Some fitness trackers have incorporated this into a “relax” function which guides your breathing. It really does help calm down and takes the counting out of the equation.

Nadi Shodhana (alternate-nostril breathing)

yoga poses for sleep alternate nostril breathing

Alternate-nostril breathing aims at clearing and purifying your subtle channels of the mind-body. It balances the right and left channels, as well as your energy.

  • Find a comfortable position – sitting cross-legged on the floor or in a chair with your feet on the floor.

  • Bring the right hand into Vishnu mudra (fold the tips of your index and middle fingers until they touch the palm at your right thumb).

  • Use your right thumb to alternatively close the right and the left nostril.

  • Take a full, deep inhalation with your right nostril, and exhale slowly through your left nostril.

  • Change and repeat for 10 rounds.

Uttanasana (Standing forward fold)

yoga poses for sleep standing forward fold

Standing forward fold loosens your back and releases tension in your knees, thighs, and neck.

  • From the mountain pose, put your hands on your hips.

  • Exhale and bend forward at the hips.

  • As you descend, draw your front torso towards your thighs.

  • You will have to bend your knees a bit until your rib cage rests on your thighs.

  • Now try to keep your legs straight and bring your palms to the floor in front of you.

  • Or to the backs of your ankles.

  • If that’s not possible, do the easier variation: cross your forearms and hold your elbow.

  • Hold for 30 sec to 1 min.


Want to learn more asanas to help you relax? Then why not book a restorative yoga retreat? You will come back home fully recharged and ready to protect your sleep routine in the future.

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