Sleep deprivation and stress can be a vicious cycle. We often have trouble falling sleep because we’re worried and anxious, and in turn, the fact that we didn’t get enough sleep makes us stressed the next day. According to a recent Huffington Post survey, sleep deprivation is a major source of stress among U.S. adults.
That’s where yoga comes in. By lowering stress levels, calming the mind and relieving tension in the body, the soothing practice can be an effective natural sleep remedy. Certain resting and inversion poses can be particularly helpful for combatting restlessness and insomnia, especially when practiced in the evening or in bed before hitting the hay.
“We live in such a fast-paced environment and our senses are always being stimulated, and that affects our nervous system,” says Vyda Bielkus, a yoga teacher and trainer and founder of Health Yoga Life. “The yogic technique of focusing on your breath can be helpful — the exhalation stimulates the nervous system to release … [and] the poses also help us relieve tension from the physical body.”
Bielkus notes that many of her students report that taking a class in the evenings helps them sleep better. But if you can’t make it to the studio after work, try these 10 relaxing poses at home to help you get a good night’s rest.