Some people can fall asleep within five seconds of plopping their head on the pillow. However, if you’re reading this, that’s probably not you. It may take you 30 or 60 minutes to fall asleep, or even several hours if you suffer from occasional or chronic insomnia. Ughhh.
Before turning to sleep aids—which can definitely help you fall asleep but then leave you feeling groggy the next day—you may find yoga a helpful way to bring on sleep.
Like meditation, yoga can help you relax and let go of tension from the day. In this episode of Right Side of the Bed, yoga instructor Faith Hunter shows simple yoga moves and stretches you can even do in bed to calm down your body and promote sleep.
First, try lying on your back and pulling your knee toward your stomach. This common stretch releases the tension in the legs and back. Rotate your foot around slowly in one direction, then the other.
Then, extend the leg into the air. It’s totally okay to lower your leg closer to the ground if you don’t have the flexibility. Hold on to your leg around the thigh to support your leg and get a good stretch.
After doing these two stretches with both legs, pull both knees toward the chest. With your hands holding around the knees, roll the legs around and feel the spine and hips loosen.
Next, try spreading your knees so your legs are apart, and hold your feet with your legs bent at the knees. Roll the body gently and slowly from side to side. Again, this should feel soothing to the back and hips, as well as the inner thighs.
Try these simple yoga stretches for insomnia the next time you are lying awake in bed. For more tips on falling asleep, here’s a meditation to reduce insomnia, guide to organizing your bedroom to bring on sleep, foods to eat before bed, and the pros and cons of sleeping positions.