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The 6 Best Yoga Poses for Sleep

Yoga for sleep

When I struggle with sleep, I become a different person. It makes me more irritable. I become pessimistic. I have difficulty speaking, performing at work, and I am more impulsive with my behaviors and my speech. Physically, I become tight, achy, more clumsy, and I find it difficult to balance and work out. Just two consecutive nights of poor sleep makes it difficult for me to even function in daily life.

Only a third of U.S. adults report that they regularly get the recommended seven hours of sleep, accor

ding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression. It can lead to motor vehicle crashes and mistakes at work, which cause injury and disability each year.

Benefits of yoga for sleep

In November, 2015, the CDC surveyed over 34,000 adults. Of those who practiced yoga, over 55% found improved sleep and over 85% report reduced stress.

“Yoga is an excellent way to improve sleep, especially for th

ose who have insomnia and many other sleep disturbances,” says Dr. Kellie K. Middleton, a physician at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. “Not only does yoga increase flexibility and strength, but it also helps decrease stress and anxiety, both of which can contribute to poor sleep. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga regularly report improved sleep quality and length of time asleep.”

According to Middleton, movement, stretching, deep breathing exercises and meditation are aspects of a yoga practice that can help to improve mental health, reduce stress and lead to better sleep. Additionally, yoga helps regulate the stress hormone, cortisol, as well as serotonin and melatonin, hormones that play an important role in sleep cycles. Yoga also helps restore healthy sleep patterns by regulating these hormones.

Knowing that yoga is proven to help with sleep gives me more confidence that I will sleep well. When I prepare for sleep, I often mentally repeat to myself, “I will sleep, easefully and deeply.” This helps to prevent a cycle of anxiety around sleep.

Develop a regular yoga routine to significantly improve your chances of getting quality sleep. Practice these restorative yoga poses before you lie down in bed or even while you’re in bed to help calm your mind, eliminate discomfort and attune to your breath for a restful night's sleep.

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