Many say that they just don’t get enough sleep or that their sleep is not restful. Your lives are busy, and you have a lot on your mind at any given moment. Often, its difficult to unwind after a long day; your body may be tired, but your mind keep racing.
You can take a few moments to relax and calm the mind before you get into bed, and you can be intentional in allowing your body to unwind after a long day. Detach from your devices several minutes before bed and set time for yourself to relax and settle into sleep. In these moments before rest, you can create a bridge between the events of your day and sleep.
A Few Simple Steps to Help You Relax and Unwind: (You Can Choose to Sit or Lie Down)
- Focus on the normal movement of your breath: Close your eyes; listen to the sound of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Focus on the chest and belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale. Gently relax the muscles of your face, relax your jaw and tongue.
- Scan your body: Draw your attention from your toes to the crown of the head, pausing for a moment on body parts like your toes, your feet, your shin bones, your knees, and so on, reaching all the way to the crown of your head. Check in with any sensations you're feeling and send your breath to places that need some extra TLC.
- Be aware of emotion and feeling: Notice your current emotions and feelings, yet be willing to release them. Try not to judge those feelings, but become aware of them, so you can release those emotions with each exhale.
Yoga Postures that Aid in Sleep
Rag Doll: Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart and gently fold forward. You can grab opposite elbows or just let your arms hang. Exhale and lengthen down through the crown of your head. Stay here for one minute or ten breaths. Gently release the arms and slowly rise up to standing when you are finished.
Seated Tree: Sit on the floor or on a mat with both legs extended in front of you. Bring your right foot in to rest against the your inner-left thigh. Gently inhale and then exhale over your extended leg. Feel free to use a cushion or a block to rest your head. Breathe here for 10 breaths and then switch sides; move slowly.
Seated Forward Bend: Bring both legs extended in front of you. Take a deep breath in with your arms lifted over your head. As you exhale, slowly lower over your extended legs. Stay here and breathe for one minute or 10 breaths. Use a block or cushion to rest your head. Gently release.
Waterfall: Lie on your back, place a block or cushion under your lower back and raise your legs toward the ceiling. Take any variation with your arms. You can extend your arms over your head, you can open into goal-post arms, or rest your arms by your side with your palms facing up. Breathe here for one minute or ten breaths.
Savasana: Lie on your back and give yourself space. Open the palms of your hands toward the ceiling, close your eyes, and gently focus on your breath as it rises and falls in your chest and in your belly. Take as much time as you need.