According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from a sleep or wakefulness disorder. And the consequences can be serious: Chronic lack of sleep may contribute to hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and cancer.
Along with the typical suggestions of avoiding large meals, nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime, yoga is a gentle and easy way to help body and mind shift into a more restful state. Just a few simple stretches can serve as a bridge between the busyness of your day and the complete surrender that’s required for sleep. As you do the poses that follow, let go of the events of the day and turn your attention toward the sensations in your body and the feeling of your breath.
From a seated position, bend your knees and press the soles of your feet together. Give yourself a lot of space by sliding your feet away from your hips. Hold your feet, exhale, and fold forward, allowing your upper back to round and your head to drop toward your arches.
Refine It: If you can’t reach your forehead to your feet without strain, try stacking your fists on top of each other or using a pillow.
Rest: Stay in the pose for at least eight breaths or up to several minutes.