Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress and Get Better Sleep

There’s nothing like laying down after a long day, but if you find yourself staring at the ceiling more than sleeping, you might be suffering from excess stress. Stress from work, school, and family obligations seem to go into high gear once your day starts to quiet down. All that stress interferes with getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night you need to bed at your best and handle the challenges of daily life.

If stress is keeping you awake, yoga can help by affecting the proteins that cause inflammation, improving cardiovascular health, and stabilizing your moods. Adding yoga to your daily routine might be just what you need to calm your mind and body in preparation for the restorative sleep you need.

Poses Perfect for Bedtime

To help clear your mind, we’ve put together a list of poses that relieve tension and clear the mind. Some poses even work from the comfort of your bed. Keep in mind that you might have to modify poses if you have a bouncy mattress.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Lie on your stomach with legs straight out behind you. Reach behind your back and clasp your hands. As you exhale, press the tops of your the feet into the mat and lift your arms and chest while rooting through to the floor. Keep your gaze forward. Hold for a deep breath, release your hands, and lower your chest and head to the ground.

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Standing on the mat with your legs four to five feet apart, inhale and take a cleansing breath. On the exhale, fold your torso forward from your hips. Lower your torso, reaching your fingertips to the floor. Stop as the stretch starts to feel uncomfortable. Take a deep breath before rooting through your feet and rising on the inhale. Repeat five times.

Knee to the Head Pose (Janu Sirsasana)

Sit with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your left leg and bring the sole of your left foot into the inner thigh of your right leg. With your right hand by your right hip, lift the left arm, exhale, and fold your torso and left arm over the right leg. Reach as far as is comfortable for you. Hold for five deep breaths and release. Repeat on the opposite side.

The following poses can be performed in bed:

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

While lying on your back, bend your knees and bring your feet directly beneath them. Make sure your feet are hip-width apart before you inhale and gently lift your pelvis. Place your arms at 90-degree angles and lift the chest off the floor or mattress. Breath deeply and release, bringing your chest and pelvis back down to the floor.

Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Lie down with both legs against the wall or headboard with feet pointed toward the ceiling. Make sure your buttocks is as close to the wall as possible. Take five deep breaths with your resting at your sides.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Save this one for last and be sure to do it in bed. Lie on your back with your legs out straight but relaxed. Your arms should be relaxed at your sides. Focus on the air moving in and out of your lungs as you take deep breaths from the diaphragm. Relax as you take ten slow breaths.