You’ve spent all day in between yawns with tired eyes, just itching for your bed and yet the minute your head hits the pillow you’re suddenly wide awake. Sound familiar? If you’ve ever struggled with falling asleep at night you know exactly how frustrating the entire experience can be. While there are certain things you can try to help ease you into a deep sleep from listening to binaural beats to not looking at any screens an hour before bed, some exercise techniques can help too. If you find yourself counting sheep to try and get some shut-eye every night, these five exercises may be just what you need.
Viparita Karani Pose
This yoga pose, also more simply known as “Legs Up The Wall” pose can help to improve circulation throughout the body and calm your nervous system. Place a pillow right up to your bed’s headboard or a yoga mat on the floor up against the wall and lay on top of it so that your sit bones are up against the wall. Raise your legs up toward the ceiling so that they rest on the wall in front of you. Keep your heels over your hips and relax your shoulders and head into the bed or mattress. Relax your arms by your side with your palms facing upward. Remain still for 2-3 minutes while breathing deeply and slowly.
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Doing crunches an hour before bed at a slow pace can help you to fall asleep quicker. Light exercise increases body temperature and then brings it back down, which creates an ideal body temperature for sleep. Try doing between 50-100 crunches to start depending on your fitness level and adjust accordingly.
Lunges work one of the largest muscle groups in the body thereby increasing blood flow while also temporarily raising your bodies temperature. Try to do 3 sets of 12 walking lunges through your house an hour before bed.
Deep Breathing Exercise
Lay down on your back and take a slow, deep breath into the pit of your stomach so that it sticks out. Allow the breath to fill you up for 3 counts, from the stomach all the way up to your chest and throat with your lungs being the last to rise. Hold the breath for 2 counts, then release it slowly for 4 counts.
Supine Spinal Twist
Poor digestion can sometimes impede your sleeping patterns and a ‘Supine Spinal Twist’ can be helpful in easing digestion. Place a pillow in a vertical position and lay your head and back along it lengthwise. Bring your knees into your chest then gently release them to the left side. Lay with your arms by your side, your palms facing up and remain in this position for one-minute while breathing deeply. Bring your knees back up to center and then gently lower them to the right side. Once again hold for one-minute and then bring them back to center and lower your legs back down to the bed in front of you.
References: Daily Burn, Healthy Living, Mind Body Green, MSN