Want better sleep? You might want to try yoga!
A Harvard study on insomnia found that people who consistently practiced yoga for just eight weeks slept better and longer than those who didn't practice. If you're too busy to fit in some yoga (or maybe just too deep into a new Netflix series) - never fear. You can improve your sleep with just one pose: Legs-Up-The-Wall (Viparita Karani). If you don't speak yogi, let us break it down for you. This is a restorative, gentle pose and though it's usually practiced at the end of a yoga class, but it can be helpful on its own to relax the body (and from the comfort of your own carpet).
In general, this pose is known for it's effectiveness in improving homeostasis. This magical pose can do wonders - improve digestion, circulation, relieve headaches, muscle aches and pains, and most importantly, provide some relief from stress and anxiety, which is perhaps the most important benefit of this pose. This is because once you've wound down, it becomes easier to relax your mind, setting the scene for more restful, restorative sleep - which is what makes this pose so effective.
You can practice Legs-Up-The-Wall at night before getting into bed if you have trouble falling asleep, or in the middle of the night if you find yourself waking up often. Add in some gentle breathing and the effects are even better! This pose can be practiced by beginners and those well versed in yoga alike. So if you've been intimidated by yoga in the past, there's no need to stress. It's a pose so simple that anyone can master it! So, how do you do it, you may ask? It sounds simple, but much like trying to order a build-your-own poke bowl for the first time, it can become confusing on it's first attempt.
To start, set the scene in your bedroom: integrate this into your sleep ritual if you feel it's right for you, and make sure your surroundings are calm and relaxing. Start by setting up a cozy space around a wall- our personal favourite? Just lie in bed with your legs on your headboard if you can! Next, channel your inner Shakira and shimmy your hips as close to the wall as possible, then start walking your feet up the wall until your body is in a somewhat L-shaped position.
Make any adjustments to facilitate a more relaxing space - maybe place a pillow under your head, or let your arms rest on your belly or out to the sides. Remember, calm and slow breath is focal to the exercise at all times; so at this point, take some time to focus on your breath. Try elongating your breath, taking a deep, slow inhale through your nose and a deep, slow exhale through your nose. Try to stay in the pose for at least 5 minutes for optimal benefits.
Now that you've mastered your first amateur yoga pose, you might be wondering how else you can help yourself get a good night's rest. The good news is that we've done the leg work for you - in fact, you can find a range of Sleep Kits tailor made by The Goodnight Co. to address your own unique sleep issues here. Happy dreaming!