6 Easy Stretches for a Better Night’s Sleep

Anxieties and stress (like the things we forgot to cross off of our to-do list!) have a way of creeping into our heads at the most inconvenient time. You know, espeically when trying to fall asleep. You can count sheep and hope for the best, or your can try these 6 restorative and relaxing asana yoga moves before relaxing under the covers.

Stretching certain parts of the body can ease tension, increase blood flow, and align your body physically and spiritually, preparing for a restful night of sleep—one that won’t include tossing and turning.

Child’s Pose

Source: Free People

This resting pose relieves general stress and anxiety by stretching through the thighs and hips and releasing tension in the back and shoulders.

How to: Start on all fours. Move from all fours to sitting back on your heels and bring your chest into your thighs at the same time. Bring your forehead to the ground and your arms to your side, palms facing up. Stay in this pose for at least 30 seconds to a minute, concentrating on breathing deeply (even though your breath is naturally restricted in this position).

2. Corpse Pose

Source: Style Craze

This pose relaxes the entire body, lowers blood pressure and reduces insomnia.

How to: You can do this either on the floor or in bed, but you will get better resistance on the floor, which is important for proper breath. Lay flat on your back with legs spread hip distance apart, your arms at your side with palms facing up. Bring your pointer finger and thumb together and close your eyes. Focus on breathing deeply and clearing your mind.

3. Standing Forward Bend

Source: Style Craze

This asana calms the brain, relieves stress and can help with mild depression.

How to: Stand up straight and lengthen your spine. Reach both arms up and exhale, bending over as far as you can, touching the floor or your shins. Let your arms, head, and shoulders sag.

4. Reclining Bound Angle

SourceCare2

This restorative pose calms your nervous system, can lower blood pressure, slow your heart rate, and reduce tension all while relieving stress and anxiety.

How to: Sit with legs straight out and arms at each side. Bend your knees and pull your feet towards your pelvis with the soles of your feet touching. Grab your feet with both hands. Pull them as close to yourself as possible. Sit up straight and extend the spine through the crown of the head. Slowly lay back, placing your forearms on the ground first until you are laying down. Breathe deeply.

 

6. Cat and Cow

Source: Yoga Journal

Source: Yoga Journal

This pose helps you concentrate on breathing, calming the mind and relieving stress while stretching the spine.

How to: Start on your hands and knees with knees hip distance apart. Begin in Cow Pose by inhaling and dropping your abdomen toward the ground, lifting the chin and looking up. Exhale and move into Cat Pose by drawing your abdomen in and arching your back towards the ceiling. Tuck your chin and look at the ground. Inhale and return to Cat Pose. Continue this sequence, following the pattern of your breath.

7. Easy Pose

Source: Style Craze

This meditative pose helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

How to: Sit up straight and cross your legs. Place each foot beneath the opposite knee. Place your hands on your knees with your palms down. Sit up straight and lengthen your spine. Gaze straight ahead, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.

What’s your favorite way to wind down before bed?

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