Do These Yoga Moves for Better Sleep

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Originally posted on YogaJournal.com

Unless you are secretly a superhero, your body requires sleep. But very often when bedtime comes at the end of a busy day, it’s hard to allow the body and mind to slow down. You check email, you scroll through social media, and you fall down the rabbit hole. Before you know it, it’s midnight, the blue light from your electronics has thrown off your circadian rhythm—the body’s biological clock that regulates the 24-hour cycle of each day—and you can no longer fall asleep properly.

According to Ayurveda, the hours between 10 pm and 2 am are governed by the Pitta dosha, which allows you to digest all things from food to information and emotions. Pitta helps to restore and renew all major systems of our body. When you skip sleep during this precious 4-hour window, you miss a vital opportunity to heal. A good night's rest affects how you relate to the world, thus decreasing depressionanxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure to name just few benefits. Proper sleep increases stress resilience, optimism, memory, metabolism, and even our ability to problem solve.

A helpful first step in shifting your relationship with sleep is turning off your phone an hour before bed and (this might be a stretch) getting under the covers before 11 p.m. If rest is not coming easy to you and support is needed, get in bed and try this restorative sequence. You’ll need two or three pillows and lots of slow, deep breaths. Try just one or all of the asanas. May your dreams be sweet and your sleep refreshingly deep!

See also A Nervous System–Settling Sequence (with Self-Reiki!) to Prepare for Sleep 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Rest your chest and belly on one or two stacked pillows with knees wide apart and big toes touching. Rest an ear on the pillow, eyes closed, and jaw and belly relaxed. Your arms can rest on the sides of the pillow or underneath. Focus your attention on the nostrils and enjoy the sensation of breath flowing in and out.

Anya Alvarez