5-Minute Health Tip: Yoga Poses for Better Sleep

Harvard researchers say those who do yoga sleep better. One study showed that volunteers with chronic insomnia who consistently practiced yoga for 8 weeks slept longer and better than volunteers who didn’t. If you’re a troubled sleeper, then take 5 minutes before bed to practice these three yoga poses for better sleep.

201112-orig-legs-up-the-wall-284x426Legs Up On The Wall

This gentle inversion is one of the most restorative yoga poses. It relaxes both body and mind so that sleep comes faster and deeper.

Lie on your back and slide your legs up the wall. Depending on the tightness of your hamstrings, your sit bones may or may not brace the wall. You aren’t going for a hamstring stretch; so if you feel a pull, then scoot farther away from the wall. Make sure your lower back is grounded on the floor and breathe into your shoulder blades so they expand away from your spine. Soften your arms out to the sides with your palms facing up.

This is a wonderful pose to add meditation to. Concentrate on your breath by taking deep, but not forced, inhales and exhales. Either stay in this pose the full 5 minutes (or more!) or when you are ready release into Thread The Needle.

imagesThread The Needle

We store a ridiculous amount of tension in our hips, and this pose helps to release that tension so that your body can enter a deeper state of relaxation.

Bring your knees into your chest. Wrap your right ankle above your left kneecap so that your right knee is splayed out to the right. Use your hands to gently pull your left knee into the chest. Don’t grab the knee; pull in with your hands on your shins or under your kneecap/thighs. You should feel the stretch in your right hip/buttocks. Release when ready and repeat on the other side.

Yoga-twist1-300x199Reclined Twist

Relax into Reclined Twist. Bring your knees into your chest. Extend your left arm all the way to the left with your palm facing either up or to the ground. Keep your left arm as level to your shoulder as possible. Bring both knees to the right for a relaxing spinal stretch. Keep your knees high to your chest. Gently look to the left to engage your neck in the spinal stretch. Hold for as long as comfortable, and then repeat on the other side.