If you often struggle to fall asleep, you’re not alone: lots of people toss and turn for hours in bed before finally drifting off and getting some actual rest. When it happens regularly you can end up feeling constantly tired during the day, possibly overusing sugar and coffee to stay awake, and even getting depressed and gaining weight as a result.

That’s serious! Doing the following yoga poses before bed will help you fall asleep (and stay asleep). They’re all quite simple, so even if you’ve never done any yoga and don’t think of yourself as “flexible,” you’ll be able to master these without a problem.More and more scientific studies have shown the health benefits of yoga so why not take advantage?! You have nothing to lose…

The first time you do these poses, it’s good not to stay in them too long. One minute is plenty. Later, you can extend the pose to five minutes or even longer.

Balasana – Child’s Pose

If you have knee problems, this one probably isn’t a good idea. But for everyone else, this pose will relax your nervous system, back, shoulders, belly, and your mind.If your rear end doesn’t reach your heels, fold a blanket a few times over and tuck it under your bum so you can really let go. You can stretch your arms out in front of you or let them relax at your sides. Set an alarm so you know when to come out of the pose. While you’re in the Child’s Pose be sure to breathe deeply, especially into your back.

Supta Baddha Konasana — Bound Angle Reclining Pose

Some people call this the butterfly pose: lying on your back, prop up your knees, place the soles of your feet together and gently let your knees fall away to the sides.Most of us can’t lie flat in this pose. Our knees will be at least a few inches away from the ground. So to relax, put a stack of books or a rolled up blanket or pillow under each knee. Let your arms splay out at your sides, totally relaxed as well. Breathe all the way in to your lower belly.

Back roll

Supta Matsyendrasana – Reclining Spinal Twist

Matsyasana – Fish Pose

Kapotasana – Pigeon Pose

Open your chest forward, relax your shoulders, and be sure that you place a thickly-rolled blanket or pillow under the right side of your rear end so you can fully let go. It’s both an intense stretch and a super-relaxing position.

Now carefully walk forward with your hands until your upper body is stretched over your bent right leg. Try to keep your back as straight as possible: it’s more important to keep length in your back than to bend all the way forward to the ground. Continue breathing and letting go in your head and shoulders, while allowing the stretch to extend in your hips and groin.

At the beginning you shouldn’t stay longer than one minute in the Pigeon Pose, but later you might enjoy it for up to ten minutes. And then repeat the pose on the other side!

Meditation

Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Bend

Sitting up, stretch your legs out flat and before leaning forward, sit up very straight. Extend your spine upward and once your back is as lengthened as it can get, bend forward.

If you want to focus more on your legs, then you can “droop” over forward with a bent back. But if you have any back problems, or if you want to include your whole body in the pose, then keep your back straight and just bend as far down as you can with a straight back. Even if it’s not at a 45 degree angle, don’t worry! Most people aren’t very flexible and the depth of your forward bend doesn’t matter at all.

Prop yourself up (to help keep your back straight) by placing your hands next to your thighs or knees depending on how far forward you can bend. And what else? You got it: breathe!

Parivrtta Sukhasana – Seated Spinal Twist

Viparita Karani — Legs Up the Wall Pose

If you’re on the stiff side, you may want to be a little further from the wall for a gentler stretch. And for anyone with lower back issues, you can try tucking a blanket or pillow under your tailbone as a support.

If you’ve always been skeptical about yoga, then here’s your chance: you don’t have to go to a yoga studio filled with super-fit advanced yogis. You don’t have to chant anything or light incense (though of course you may, if you like). Quietly, secretly, without telling anyone at all, you can try these poses to help with sleep problems, anxiety, or stress, and just see what happens.

After all, it’s not just new-age gurus telling us yoga’s healthy anymore, it’s actual scientists. Lots of them. And if any of these exercises work for you, be kind and share them with a friend!

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If you often struggle to fall asleep, you’re not alone: lots of people toss and turn for hours in bed before finally drifting off and getting some actual rest. When it happens regularly you can end up feeling constantly tired during the day, possibly overusing sugar and coffee to...

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