Many of us don’t get enough sleep at night
— and often end up starting each morning feeling groggy and sporting dark under eye circles.
In fact, more than 25% of the US population doesn’t get enough sleep, while 10% suffer from chronic insomnia, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Insufficient sleep puts us at risk of heart disease, obesity, depression and other chronic diseases and conditions.
Certain yoga moves can help you enter a restful state.
Laying flat with your legs on the wall can help bring a sense of calm, according to Budig. That’s because the pose reverses the blood flow in the legs.
“This is the perfect way to soothe overused legs that have been worked hard throughout the day,” the yoga expert said.
Budig recommends pairing this pose with breathing work, which tells the brain to enter into the parasympathetic mode — the body’s rest-and- digest response — and helps move you away from day’s most stressful moments.
“The key is the connection of breath with position and intention. It’s making the conscious decision to turn off your mind or calm down with a yoga posture that physically tells the body to slow down, combined with the breath, which helps to alleviate stress and anxiety,” Budig said.
The yoga star also suggests trying gentle seated forward bends, like Paschimottonasana and Janu Sirsasana A, and simple hip openers, such as thread-the-needle, to help relax and feel a sense of calm before bed.
But steer clear of a few moves that will actually wake you up.
When it comes to doing yoga to sleep, there’s one key rule you must follow, according to Budig.
“Stay away from backbends before sleep,” the yoga teacher warned. “They stimulate the central nervous system and release endorphins, which is great, but not what you’re looking for if you want to snuggle into a restful night of sleep.”
Rather than bending backwards, focus on bending forwards before bed. Hip openers, forward bends and mild inversions help relieve stress and tell the body to unwind, Budig noted.
So what does Budig before she goes to bed?
The yoga expert’s go-to pose before bed is legs-up-on-the-wall. She also makes it a point to do hip openers, since she travels regularly and tightens up easily.
But if she’s extremely tired, she’ll just swing her legs up on the headboard for about five minutes before sleep.
“Every bit helps,” Budig said.
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