A common complaint that I hear as a yoga teacher from my students is that they have trouble sleeping.
I am going to show you a proven yoga technique that has helped so many improve their ability to fall asleep as well as improve their quality of sleep. Keep reading to find out more.
Often the biggest reason for lack of sleep is that the mind struggles to rest. A mind that is busy or anxious can keep us awake and the physical body struggles to rest.
Sleep is particularly challenging during pregnancy. Not only are there physical challenges to sleeping well due to a growing belly and the common aches and pains around the body increase; the mind can often be busy working over-time processing the life change that lies ahead.
There are yoga techniques that can assist you to fall asleep quicker and have better quality sleep. Before I share these, firstly, have a think about your current bedtime routine.
Do you have a sleep routine that you follow every night?
Here are some healthy sleeping tips to consider:
1. Find a sleep schedule that works for you where you sleep and wake up at a similar time each day that helps to regulate your body clock
2. Find a relaxing bedtime ritual away from screen time, bright lights, stimulants like caffeine and energising activities.
3. Move your body daily (energising yoga sequences in the morning and then relaxing yoga postures at night to help induce deep sleep). A yoga pose to aid sleep will be explored below.
4. Ensure your bedroom is an optimal environment for sleep (comfortable temperature, no lights, no distracting sounds or noises)
So now think of your own bedtime routine…
- What do you currently do that works/isn’t working?
- What can you change to help improve your sleep?
Now that you have considered some habits around your sleep routine, let me share with you this simple, yet highly effective yoga posture that helps calm the mind and can allow you to drift off to sleep as well as improve the quality of your sleep.
The posture is called Viparita Karani which is translated as ‘Legs up the Wall’ pose and it helps reverse the blood flow towards the heart by raising the legs as a way to calm the nervous system.
To find out step by step details of this pose, watch the video here.
This video is of me explaining how to adopt a simple yoga ritual that can help calm the mind to rest and settle into deep sleep.
Legs up the wall pose increases blood circulation in the legs, as well as lymph circulation, and helps improve thyroid function.
It is important to note that lying flat on your back for long periods of time is contraindicated in pregnancy therefore it is important to elevate the hips with a cushion or pillow (as shown in the video) and it is also important not to stay in this pose for too long if you are more than 30 weeks pregnant (more than 5 minutes).
However, if your baby is in the breech position, this can be a great pose to encourage your baby to move to an optimal birth position; you may therefore like to do it a few times for short periods during the day.
This pose can be very beneficial during pregnancy as it can help with swollen feet and varicose veins. Elevating the legs allows blood to flow away from the legs and relieve swollen and tired feet.
Be sure to watch the video so you can safely get into the pose and hear all my useful tips.