The majority of us value sleep above all else; true or false?
If your answer is “true”, then tell me this…why is it that when it comes to socialising with our friends or watching that extra episode, sleep is placed on the back burner?
At least one-third of Australian adults regularly suffer from significant sleep problems, where 35 percent do not wake up in the morning feeling refreshed.
With the busy lives that most Australians lead, it’s time to start rethinking our sleeping habits.
If you want to take control of your night’s sleep, a good place to start is by having a regular night routine that you can rely on to relax you.
Sleep psychologist Professor Dorothy Bruch, chairwoman of the Sleep Health Foundation, says that, “[People] spend a lot of their day being quite hyper-aroused or stressed. Then, when they get home at night after work…they don’t create a buffer zone between all those demands of the day and being able to unwind and go to bed in a more relaxed state.”
Bedtime yoga is great method to implement before bed for a more restful sleep; not only does it relax the mind but also the body.
If you’re looking for a simple yoga routine to end your night on the right foot, here are a few bedtime yoga poses to start you off.
This is probably one of the ultimate yoga poses for calming the mind. In order to achieve a rejuvenating sleep, you need to relax, and give yourself a few minutes to come up for air.
To achieve this pose, kneel on to your heels, roll your torso forward and bring your forehead to rest on the ground.
Then, lower your chest as close to you knees as feels comfortable and extend your arms in front of you.
Once you are in this pose, relax your back and shoulders, falling into the pose more comfortably.
Hold the pose for around 5 minutes and breathe.
Cat and Cow Pose
For this pose, it is important to breathe along with your movements.
A “cat” position is where your back is fully arched, whereas a “cow” position means your back is tucked (as if you are sticking your butt out).
Start on your hands and knees, shoulders over the wrists and hips over the knees. Be sure to keep your back in a neutral position.
Once positioned correctly, start moving through a few rounds of Cat and Cow.
The movement starts from your tailbone and flows up through the spine and back, in a fluid motion. Each movement releases tension in the back and mind.
Complete this motion for about 2 to 3 minutes.
This wonderful pose works to quiet the mind, making it perfect for a pre-bed ritual.
From a seated position bring the soles of your feet together and slide them away from your body. Start to fold forward and allow your back to round out, feeling yourself melting towards the ground.
It is important to take your time when completing this pose.
Depending on your flexibility, the forehead may rest on the feet or it may hover a foot above your feet; either way, you’re doing it right.
Don’t feel discouraged if you feel inflexible, the point of this pose is to relax and release the tension built up in your body after your busy day.
Hold this pose for about 1 to 3 minutes, and then slowly peel yourself up. The slower you do this, the better.
A nice way to round out the pose is to end with a gentle seated twist.
The upside-down pose is a great way to finish off your bedtime yoga routine as it is one that many get lost in. It is not uncommon for people to stay 10+ minutes in this pose.
For those that spend a lot of time on their feet, this pose will prove to be liberating in a matter of seconds.
Getting into the upside-down pose is simple. Start by sitting as close to the wall as you can; then proceed to lie down on your back.
Then, climb your feet up the wall until your legs are fully extended and your butt is either touching the wall, or, if this is uncomfortable, as close as you can get your butt to the wall.
You can extend your arms out or leave them by your side—the most important thing is that you’re comfortable.
If you find your back aching a little in this position, simply place a towel or blanket at the base of your spine.
Hold this pose for as long as you’d like, and enjoy the relaxed state your mind, body and soul are now in.
Add to the Experience
Adding calming background music and scented candles to your bedtime yoga can benefit your routine.
Not only will the music remind your body and mind that it is time to wind-down, it’s also helpful (especially if you’re just starting out) to have a rhythm to breathe to. The addition of a calming scent will also help you to unwind and get into the mood.
Take charge of your night and enjoy a bedtime yoga routine, you’ll be sleeping peacefully in no time.