Home » Combating Insomnia Through Mindful Practice: Yoga’s Road to Better Sleep

Combating Insomnia Through Mindful Practice: Yoga’s Road to Better Sleep

by alina bozo
Yoga to Promote Better Sleep and Treat Insomnia

Adding yoga to a bedtime routine can help ease the mind and promote relaxation. It can also help lower stress levels and reduce anxiety which can contribute to insomnia.

Studies have shown that people who practice yoga experience better sleep. The practice focuses on breathwork, movement practices, and meditation techniques. It may also include a resting pose called Savasana at the end of a session.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises help promote sleep by calming the body, easing stress, and promoting relaxation. They can also reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Which are often elevated with stress. These techniques can be used alone or as part of a yoga routine that includes relaxing meditation or tai chi moves.

One of the first steps in this practice is finding a quiet place to sit or lie down, according to Buenaver. Then, start by taking a few slow, deep breaths in and out. Breathe in through the nose, allowing your rib cage to expand and your belly to rise. Exhale through the nose, letting your rib cage contract and your belly fall, making sure to make a whoosh sound with each breath. Repeat these breathing cycles a few times until you feel more calm and ready for bed.

Another deep breathing exercise is Kapalbhati pranayama, a powerful form of breathing that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Which promotes feelings of calm and encourages rest. This technique requires you to sit in Vajrasana or Sukhasana while holding your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed. You then breathe in through the left nostril for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7. Then forcefully exhale through the right nostril for a count of 8. Repeat this cycle 4 times, then gradually work up to 8 repetitions each night before you go to sleep.

Guided deep breathing exercises can help insomniacs get to sleep more easily and stay asleep through the night, Verywell Health reports. This is because these exercises help the mind relax, allowing it to stop racing and focus on falling asleep and staying asleep through the night. They may also interrupt the fight or flight response of the sympathetic nervous system and decrease anxiety symptoms. Which can contribute to insomnia.

Try a few guided deep breathing exercises at bedtime, including those offered by BetterSleep. The site features ten-minute guided breath work meditations that use a specific rhythm to tame the sympathetic nervous system. Which causes stress and improves wellness in general.


When done correctly, yoga’s a relaxing practice that can help to prepare the body for sleep. The calming postures and breathing techniques in yoga can help to reduce stress levels. Which may contribute to insomnia and poor sleep quality. Yoga can also increase melatonin production, which helps to improve the quality of sleep.

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When practicing yoga, it is important to create a calm and soothing environment for yourself. This can be achieved by dimming the lights, playing soothing music, or using calming essential oils. Yoga can also incorporate relaxation techniques, such as meditation and visualization. The goal of yoga’s to focus on the present moment and relax the mind.

A small study found that women with premenopausal CI who practiced yoga experienced improvements in their sleep quality, decreased anxiety and depression, and reduced fatigue. The study used home polysomnography and actigraphy, as well as self-reported questionnaires. In this study, participants were given a series of classes that included breathing exercises, postures, and relaxation techniques. Participants were also asked to complete a diary of their sleep patterns and anxiety levels. This was compared with their progress after the completion of the yoga classes. The results showed that the yoga class helped to improve a person’s sleep quality, as well as decrease their anxiety and depression levels.

Yoga can be a great way to prepare for sleep, but it is important to choose the right style of yoga to perform before bed. Hot yoga and vinyasa (flowing) yoga can get your heart rate up. Which is not what you want before you go to bed. Instead, try hatha or yoga nidra, which are more relaxing.

Other relaxing poses include reclined butterfly (supta buddha konasana), legs up the wall (viparita karani), and corpse pose (savasana). All of these are beneficial for improving sleep quality and should be practiced regularly.

Stress Management

If stress or worries keep you awake at night, the practice of Yoga can help to calm the mind and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Yoga Nidra is a form of deep relaxation that reduces the stress and tension that can contribute to insomnia. It also promotes mindfulness, which can help manage racing thoughts that can keep you awake at night.

In one study, patients who completed a 14-week Yoga program experienced improvements in subjective sleep quality and insomnia severity as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. The researchers found that patients who participated in the Yoga program experienced a decrease in arousal as measured by actigraphy and polysomnography, and improved their ability to fall asleep quickly.

However, the researchers point out that a single-group pre-post design and a small sample size may limit the validity of these findings. They also note that other qualitative data could have been incorporated to further investigate the impact of Yoga on sleep.

Regardless of the study’s limitations, the authors conclude that yoga’s an effective treatment for insomnia and can be an integral part of a holistic sleep disorder management plan. The best way to reap the benefits of sleep-enhancing yoga poses is to include them in a relaxing bedtime routine that signals your body it is time for rest.  Adding a guided meditation or soft instrumental music can further enhance your sleep environment.

Remember that not all yoga’s created equal, so it is important to choose a style that promotes relaxation. Avoid hot and vinyasa styles, as they will likely get your heart rate up, making it difficult to fall asleep. Try a gentler style of yoga, such as hatha yoga or yoga nidra.


A good night’s sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy body. When people don’t get enough sleep, they can experience a variety of issues like impaired concentration, suppressed immune system, weight gain, and more. Yoga can help promote healthy sleep by reducing stress levels and relaxing the body and mind.

yoga’s a mind-body practice that incorporates physical postures, breath control, meditation, and relaxation. Research has shown that it can improve sleep, especially in older adults and women during pregnancy and menopause. Stress is a common cause of insomnia, and yoga can help to reduce stress levels which may improve sleep quality.

For best results, people should try to incorporate it into their bedtime routine so that their body starts to associate it with the onset of sleep. They should also aim to practice it in a calm environment, such as by dimming the lights and playing soft music.  People should instead focus on relaxing forms such as hatha yoga and Yoga Nidra.

During these practices, individuals should aim to focus on their breathing and the sensations they are experiencing in the body. They can also focus on visualizations or calming mantras to help them relax.

Some of the most effective yoga poses for sleep include Child’s Pose, Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose, and Corpse Pose. Incorporating these into a daily routine can greatly benefit a person’s ability to fall asleep at night and stay asleep throughout the night. Aside from promoting better sleep, the practice of Yoga also encourages people to be more mindful of the problems they face regularly and helps them come up with solutions that decrease their worries.

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