Yoga for Insomnia

woman sleeping on bed under blankets

Get Better Sleep with Relaxing Asanas

Insomnia occurs for a number of reasons. Stress, hormonal changes, medical and emotional problems can all cause insomnia. Insomnia can also occur as a side effect of some medications. While yoga may not offer a definitive cure for insomnia, practicing calming and restorative yoga poses at the end of the day may help insomniacs sleep better.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene to Avoid Insomnia

You can avoid many of the causes of insomnia and get more restful sleep by practicing good sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene means that you cultivate good sleep habits, so that when you go to bed, your body and brain understand that it’s time to sleep. Good sleep habits help you fall asleep faster, sleep more soundly and get enough hours of sleep on a regular basis.

Here are some of the fundamentals of good sleep hygiene:

  • Establish a bedtime ritual. Doing the same things every night at bedtime sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
  • Don’t use tobacco products at bedtime. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and exercise at least six hours before bedtime.
  • When you get into bed, try to put your worries out of mind.

Use Yoga to Cope with Inevitable Sleeplessness

No matter how good your sleep habits, everyone suffers from insomnia from time to time. When you find yourself tossing and turning late into the night, don’t reach for a sleeping pill. Practice some relaxing yoga asanas to wind down. Try some of these yoga poses; you can use blankets, bolsters or cushions to support your body for optimum relaxation:

  • uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  • adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
  • janu sirasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)
  • salamba sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand)

You can also practice ananda balasana (Happy Baby Pose), and savasana (Corpse Pose) in bed. Dirga pranayama, or the Three-Part Breath, can also aid in relaxation and sleep.

The Benefits of Yoga Include Better Sleep

Whether you suffer from occasional bouts of insomnia or suffer this condition as a genuine sleep disorder, practicing relaxing yoga asanas can help you get better sleep. Practice inverted poses and soothing breathing techniques to calm your mind and rid yourself of nervous energy at the end of the day.