It’s not uncommon for yogis to find themselves restless at night, tossing and turning instead of dreaming peacefully. Sleep deprivation can affect almost every area of your daily life from mental clarity to your physical energy. Work and relationships all suffer when you aren’t feeling your very best, which is often the case when you aren’t sleeping through the night.

A regular yoga practice has been shown to help increase the amount of quality sleep you receive each night. You don’t need to devote an entire hour to your yoga practice. All you need to do is put on a comfortable pair of yoga pants. You can incorporate these simple yoga elements into your bedtime routine to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Connect With the Breath

Breathing is an integral part of every yoga practice. Whether you practice the more rigorous disciplines or the gentle flow of yoga nidra, connecting with the breath is an essential element to your yoga practice. Similarly, focusing on the breath can be an important part of helping you to fall asleep faster.

Focus on taking long, slow, and deep breaths in through the nose and exhaling loudly through the mouth. A gentle inhale helps to soothe the body while the more forceful exhale rids the body of tension. Try to keep your mind focused solely on the inhale and exhale during this exercise, letting all other thoughts go.

Calm Your Nervous System

Do you often feel jittery at bedtime or anxious at the thought of tomorrow’s to-do list? Taking a few moments to relieve the nervous system and change your perspective can often do wonders for your anxiety. When worries subside, your brain is able to take a moment to turn off for a few hours of rest.

The standing forward fold can help you to lower your anxiety quickly. Hinge forward from the hips, clasping the elbows. Nod your head a few times, and then practice shaking it side to side to release tension.

You may need to don a comfortable pair of yoga pants to move into this pose more freely. You want to wear comfortable workout clothing that doesn’t restrict the breath or your ability to stretch.

Scan Your Body for Areas of Tension

Take a few minutes before bed to do a type of meditation known as a body scan. Lay flat on your back in bed, with the feet open and the palms facing up by the sides like you would in savasana. Explore and bring attention to each area of the body, noting and releasing any tension you feel in each section. Move from the toes all the way to the crown of the head.

This progressive scan helps you to physically relax the body bit by bit, preparing you to finally release the mind and drift off to sleep.

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, try adding these three yoga elements into your bedtime routine. You may just find yourself becoming a more active participant in your daily life when you wake up feeling refreshed and well rested.

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