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Yoga for better sleep

Written By: Hailey Nelson

During midterm, we can’t help but feel pressured and stressed out with all the tests and lists of things we have to do. Developing the habit of doing certain relaxation poses before bed can help with better sleep and establish a clear mindset. Yoga allows us to bring attention to our bodies and come into a meditative state of relaxation. Remember, you don’t have to be good at yoga or super flexible to do these poses. These four yoga poses are perfect to do before going to bed or after a long study session to quiet the mind and ease stress.


  1. Knees to Chest: First, start from a laying down position maybe on the floor, bed or on a mat if you have one. Begin drawing your knees into your chest, holding your legs behind our thighs. If you would like a little back massage, try rocking gently from side to side; but be careful not to lift your hips off the ground and allow your shoulders to remain on the floor or mat.


  1. Laying Down Supine Spinal Twist: From knees to chest, let your left leg extend long on the floor and bend your right knee to allow your right foot rest on the floor. Then using your left hand, guide your right knee across your body over to the left side. As you hold this pose, try to continue to guide your right knee deeper and deeper into the stretch. A tip for this pose is to try to shift your hips so you are slightly resting on the side of your pelvis while keeping your body in a straight line from the crown of our head to our extended heel.


  1. Legs up the wall: Let gravity do the work! From knees to chest, roll onto one side. Keeping your knees drawn into our chest, try moving towards the wall until your gluteals are against the wall. By rolling onto your back, you can extend our legs up the wall. Allowing your legs and gluteals to rest comfortably against the wall, spread your legs hip-distance apart and try to slowly flex your ankles and lift through your heels. This restorative yoga pose is my personal favorite and perfect for those who want to relieve stress in the lower back.


  1. Child’s Pose: Starting on all fours, sink your hips back towards your heels and low your body on top of your thighs. By reaching your arms out in front of you, it will allow you to relax and sink your chests into the floor. If this pose is uncomfortable on your knees, try grabbing a blanket to place behind the knees to reduce knee flexion.


Remember that yoga is a time to focus on yourself. Try turning off all electronics when practicing these poses. Nothing is more frustrating when you are trying to relax than being bombarded with incoming texts and e-mails. It’s okay if your mind starts to wander off into different thoughts about what you have to do the next day or the homework you have this week. It’s completely natural, but let those thoughts pass through your mind and try to bring your attention back to your breath. This will allow you to submerse yourself into these poses with complete concentration on your body and breath.

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