Exercises and Benefits for Better Sleep
Staying awake most nights can be the beginning of sleeplessness that can impact your well-being and productivity.
Good thing is, there are natural ways to help your body relax, and doing exercise is one of them. While some people may think they can’t do exercise, or that they aren’t flexible enough, that’s not always the case. You can do simple and relaxing yoga poses that can be adapted to your body.
Here are some poses that you could do at home;
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Helps blood circulation to the head which can help with relaxation and tension relief.
⦁ Kneel on the floor, touching your big toes together and sitting on your heels.
⦁ Separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
⦁ Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs, lengthening your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis.
⦁ Stretch your hands forward, palms toward the floor.
⦁ Keep your forehead on the ground and stay here for a few breaths. You may want to gently roll your head from side to side to lightly massage your forehead.
⦁ After 5–10 breaths, release the pose by slowly sitting upright
2. Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
This pose helps to relax your lower back, hips and spine
⦁ Stand up tall and walk your feet out wide, turning your toes out slightly.
⦁ Bending at your hips, fold forward and bring your hands down to the mat right under your shoulders.
⦁ Soften your knees while releasing your hands and neck.
⦁ Stay here for a few breaths before slowly rolling up into a standing position
3. Reclining Hero (Supta Virasana)
This pose helps to lower your blood pressure and calms your body
⦁ Kneel on your shins, separating your ankles to sit in between them.
⦁ Bring your knees as wide as you need for them.
⦁ Lie back to rest on the ground or a bolster if needed. Support your head with a blanket or pillow.
⦁ Stay here with eyes closed, focusing on your breath for up to three minutes.
⦁ To release the pose, stretch one leg out and then the other. Slowly lift your body off the pillows or bolsters.
4. Head to Knee (Janu Sirsasana)
This pose helps to stretch your core and ease digestion
⦁ Sit on the floor,extend your legs straight in front of you. You can bend your knees slightly.
⦁ Bend the right knee out to open your hip, bringing the bottom of your right foot to your left thigh.
⦁ Bend your torso forward as you exhale, keeping your spine and neck long.
⦁ Outstretch your hands on either side of your left leg.
⦁ Breathe in and out slowly for 10–15 breaths.
⦁ Sit up slowly, then stretch out your right leg slowly before repeating on the other side.
5. Knees to Chest (Apanasana)
This pose comforts the body and relaxes the mind by improving blood circulation and stretching the spine
⦁ Lie on your back, arms extended out side to side.
⦁ Exhale and bend your legs to bring your knees to your chest. Clasp your arms around your shins.
⦁ Release your shoulder blades down to your waist and focus on lengthening your spine.
⦁ If it’s comfortable, slowly rock back and forth or side to side.
⦁ Hold for up to one minute and ensure you’re breathing steadily.
⦁ Exhale and release your legs to the floor.
6. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
This pose puts the body in a state of rest. It’s the most relaxing pose of all. It’s a restful posture and can be held as long as you like. If you breathe in and out long enough, who knows — you might just fall asleep!
⦁ Lie on your back, placing a pillow or folded blanket under your knees. Allow your legs to restfully.
⦁ Close your eyes and allow your body to feel heavy.
⦁ Practice relaxing each body part from the soles of your feet to the top of your head.
⦁ Turn your awareness inward and breathe normally, doing your best to calm your mind
Studies have shown that people suffering from insomnia who added yoga to their daily routine fell asleep faster, slept for longer and had better sleep quality. It’s also very important to listen to your body and if you ever feel uncomfortable during these stretches, stop immediately.
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