Six yoga poses you can do in bed to help you sleep
As part of our #sleeptiptuesday series, bring you tips and tricks to help you sleep healthier, we wanted to focus on the exercise you can do without leaving your bed, and which, ultimately helps you drift off to a peaceful and good night’s sleep!
However, we are experts at making beautiful handcrafted metal beds, so we have teamed up with Ellie Murray, local Cornish certified Yoga Teacher to bring you expert advice on the best yoga poses to help you sleep and can you believe it - you can do them from the comfort of your bed!
Six yoga poses you can do in bed to help you sleep
By Ellie Murray
You don’t need to roll out your mat – or even out of your bed – to do yoga. Many poses can be practiced from the comfort of your mattress, and they have the extra benefit of helping you relax, unwind and nod off to sleep.
Here are six poses to try next time you’re in bed and having any trouble falling asleep. These poses can be done as together or separately but all have a calming and relaxing effect and will help you sleep soundly through the night.
Also known as “viparita karani” or “legs up the wall” pose, this inversion is a brilliant way to relieve lower back pain, unplug mentally and recharge your batteries after a long day. There are two variations.
Waterfall - Option 1.
The first one is more active – lie on your back and extend your legs up into the air, keeping them as straight as possible. You could place a cushion under your sacrum to support your lower back if you like. Try to keep your legs engaged and your feet flexed.
Waterfall - Option 2.
For a more relaxed version, prop your feet up against a wall. Stretch your arms out, palms facing up, to feel a stretch in the shoulders and chest. You can stay here as long as you like, but five to ten minutes is a good amount of time and should leave you feeling relaxed after a busy day.
Butterfly, or “baddha konasana”, is a lovely hip opener that also helps slow the heart rate and prepare you for sleep. It can be done either sitting up on your bed or lying down. Bring the soles of your feet together, and draw your heels towards your groin (the closer to the groin, the stronger the stretch, so don’t overdo it!) Place cushions under your knees for extra support – this will also help your muscles to relax, so your hips can open up more fully. If you’re sitting upright, keep your back as straight as possible, relax your shoulders, and play with edging forwards, folding over your feet to increase the stretch.
If you’re lying down, just close your eyes, placing your hands wide or on your belly to feel your breath rise and fall, and relax.
This pose gently opens the chest, relieving any pent-up tension in the shoulders after a day at the desk. It is a heart opener, so can feel quite energizing if held for a long time, so go easy or save this for the morning when you need some extra energy after waking up. Lie on your back and place your feet parallel and hip distance apart, close enough to your sit bones so you can touch your heels. As you inhale, lift your hips and walk your shoulders underneath you even more, clasping your hands beneath you. Take a few breaths here before slowly lowering back down.
4. Supine twist
Nothing feels quite as good as a lovely supine twist before bed! Hug your knees into your chest, then let them fall down to the left. Extend your arms out at shoulder height and turn your head to the right, gazing softly over your right shoulder. To intensify the stretch, place your left hand on top of your right knee. Repeat on the other side.
5. Happy baby
Try a happy baby pose to relieve back pain and stress, and gently stretch the hips and groin. Lie on your back with your feet in the air, and hold the outsides of your feet. Try to keep your feet parallel to the ceiling as you gently draw your knees down towards your armpits.
6. Supported child's pose
Child’s pose is an excellent posture to do before going to sleep – having your heart lower than your head has a grounding, calming effect that can help if you struggle with insomnia. From an all fours position, spread your knees wide, point your big toes towards each other and sit back on your heels. Allow your heart to melt down towards the mattress and rest your forehead down. You can place a cushion underneath your belly for extra support. Soften into your hips, let your body be heavy. Relax and – maybe – drift into sleep.
Do each pose for at least 2-3 minutes and focus on your breathing throughout, making sure you breathe through your nose and not through your mouth. You can do all these poses in a calming and relaxing bedtime routine, or pick one that you would like to start with and gradually add another pose if you feel comfortable. Listen to your body and find what works best for you and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Ellie Murray is a certified yoga teacher based in Cornwall. During COVID-19 lockdown, she is running regular classes, live-streamed on Zoom. To check out the schedule, and for updates, follow Ellie on Instagram and Facebook: