Why is a good night's sleep so hard to come by? The hustle and bustle of our daily lives, our glowing screens, our messy rooms — it's hard to say. All we know is that people are sleeping less and having a harder time doing it.
Sleep should not be your enemy. Like food and water, it's a necessity for life and it should be welcomed. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.
Everybody has different ways of getting to sleep, and every blog and magazine seems to have another ten tips for getting a better night's sleep. It's hard to know where to begin and which advice to take.
Mothers and scientists agree: no electronics before bed and a healthy bedtime routine helps you get a good night's rest. Yoga and meditation can be incorporated into a bedtime routine that eases you into a restful sleep. This can become a consistent and enjoyable part of your practice.
Here are five yoga poses you can use to unwind and prepare for sleep. Remember to focus on your breath throughout these poses. Slowing your breath and releasing the tension you've build up over the course of the day feels great.
Assume a seated position on the floor. Bring your feet together in front of you so that the soles touch.
Without slouching or rounding the lower back, bring your feet as close to your pelvis as possible.
As you inhale, lengthen and straighten your spine. As you exhale lean forward, touching the ground with your hands. Feel a stretch. Hold this position and continue to watch your breath for five counts.
Repeat this for two minutes.
Remaining in an upright, seated position, cross your legs comfortably. Place your right hand on your left knee and your left hand behind you, around your tailbone. Look to the left and twist slightly, until you feel a stretch.
Breathe deeply for five counts, and bring yourself back to neutral. Repeat this on the other side. Use this time to bring the focus to your breath.
Lie on your back, bringing your knees close to your chest. Extend both arms outward, palms facing up.
As you exhale, allow your legs to fall slowly to the right side. Keep your knees together and bent comfortably. Place your right hand on top of your knee, and gently press down if you feel you need more of a stretch.
For a little extra stretch, look slightly to the left while your legs are on the right. Repeat this pose on the left side. Allow yourself to relax into this pose.
You may be familiar with this pose, it's often practiced at the end of a yoga class. Sit comfortably on your heels. Bend forwards, arms extended. Allow your forehead to rest on the bed or floor in front of you.
Lower the chest to the floor as far as you comfortably can. Inch your fingers forward slightly to feel a stretch. Hold this pose and breathe for two minutes.
Another pose that may be familiar to you is the Rock-a-Bye Roll. It's extremely relaxing and it feels great after a few stretches.
Lie on your back, hug your knees to your chest. Enjoy the self-love.
Cross your ankles and bring your knees in closer to your chest.
As you inhale, rock your body upwards. As you exhale, roll backwards a little bit. Do this slowly and focus on your breathing.
Do this for a minute, or as long as you need, and then roll backwards, extending your arms and legs outward. If you're doing this in bed, climb into the sheets and enjoy a nights rest.
Regular meditation and yoga can already do wonders for your sleep. If you begin to incorporate these poses into your bedtime routine — even just one or two of them — you'll notice an immediate difference.
Physically, your body will unwind quickly. Mentally, you'll have put yourself into a perfect headspace for sleep.