Do you know that about 50% of people have insomnia today, and 10% of the world population is facing chronic insomnia? All thanks to smartphones, workloads, stress, junk food, and the lazy lifestyle; we have disrupted our circadian rhythm to an unimaginable level!
Well, when we disturb our sleeping pattern, we interrupt our state of mind and well-being, which inevitably decreases our quality of life. So, is this messed up body function reversible? Can we normalize our sleeping patterns?
Undoubtedly, yes! And this improvement doesn’t come at a hefty price or and intense therapy. Simply practicing some yoga poses in the morning for even about 15 minutes can help you a lot. Additionally, doing some particular yoga poses before bed can make you fall asleep like a baby.
5 Best Yoga Poses To Improve Sleep
If you are having serious health issues due to inadequate sleep or if your head starts wondering every time you hit the pillow – you need to start doing these yoga poses for real.
1. Chandra Bhedana Pranayam (Left Nostril Breathing)
This yoga is also called moon breathe and is very useful to signalize your vagus nerves to send messages to your brain for the onset of sleep. Factually, in the yogic tradition, the left nostril is regarded as the one having the body’s cooling energy, and the right one is considered to have the heating one.
The left nostril pranayama helps you to focus your brain away from stress and increases the parasympathetic stimulation, which soothes your mind.
All you have to do is sit in Sukkha asana ( legs crossed) and Mriga Mundra (i.e., with right hand’s thumb press your nose, fold the right index and middle finger and keep your ring and little finger extended).
Then, inhale long breathes from the left nostrils, and after inhalation, you need to block your left nostrils with the right ring finger and release the thumb from right nostrils and exhale. Repeat this 1-3 times or until you feel relaxed, and then simply sleep. You will fall into a deep sleep in no time!
2. Agnistambhasana (Fire Log Pose)
This yoga has been practiced by Rishimuni from the very early era and is like the modified versions of Sukha asana. In this yoga, you focus on releasing tension from your pelvis muscle, which in turn stimulates your body to remove tension from other muscles as well, and this prepares your body to go into relaxation and ultimately sleep.
Keep both your legs straight and then flex the right leg in 90 degrees; similarly, flex the left leg but keep this leg above the right one by stacking your left shin on the right leg.
If you find this difficult, you can bring the right leg near to pelvic, which will make this position a bit relaxable. Now, inhale with hands making a namaste gesture and exhale with hands spread out in front. Repeat this for 1-3 times and then change the leg.
3. Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)
This yoga helps to counteract all the long hours that you stay behind the desk in your office. This asana also consists of massaging your head, which not only releases the facial tension but also stimulates the medial pituitary gland to secrete melatonin (which is the hormone responsible for sleep).
Firstly, you need to get into Balasana (which consists of sitting on the floor with flexed knees and hip relaxing on your heels. Then slowly, bend your trunk low and touch the floor with your chest, forehead, and hands wide straight with palms on the ground).
Now, from Balasana, lift your hip away from your heels, making sure that your head and the palm are touching the ground, but your chest is lifted. Keep this posture for about 1 min and then massage your head from left to right. Then, finally, shift to Balasana again.
4. Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)
For your body to relax, your sympathetic action should be halted, and Parasympathetic should take over. And this activation of parasympathetic by stimulation of vagus nerve is done by Padangusthasana, which will ultimately help you at the onset of your sleep.
In this yoga, you need to stand up erect first and then slowly flex your hip, bringing your trunk down with your hands held straight towards the ground. Try touching your feet without flexing your knee! And even if you cannot touch, bend low till the limit where you possibly can! And try to touch your feet with your hands.
Hold this pose for one minute and take long, deep breaths during the hold. Then, slowly rise from the posture and stand erect for a while.
5. Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)
Also known as the supine twist, this yoga helps to relax your baroreceptor, which is responsible for causing constant blood pressure. This fact was proved by Roger Cole, Ph.D., research scientist, and Iyengar yoga teacher.
In this yoga, you need to sleep on your back, and then flex your knee towards your chest with your hands at the side. Slowly, tilt the legs towards the left- stacking one leg on top of the other. Then, draw your shoulder towards the right, allowing gravity to pull your leg down. Repeat the posture in another direction with long breaths.
Yoga helps to relax your body and release tension from both your mind and muscles by stimulating your parasympathetic system due to which it’s easier for you to fall asleep both quickly and deeply.
Moreover, your complete digestive function, central nervous system’s coordination, emotional balance, and peace of mind, can all be improved just by giving yourself a 15-30 minute yoga a day.