When You Do Yoga Before Bed, This Is What Happens

Yoga has been popular in the United States for some time now. According to Statista, the number of people over the age of 6 practicing yoga in the U.S. amounted to more than 28 million between 2008-2018.

Yoga philosophy was first introduced in the U.S. in the late 1800s via the Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda. The wellness version of mainstream yoga practiced today began to come into being in the late 1930s. It is based on the traditional Indian postures of hatha yoga, or physical yoga, combined with more Westernized forms of physical exercise.

People often practice yoga during the day in a class or on their own as a way to improve strength and stability, deepen their breath, and get themselves in tune for the day. However, incorporating yoga into your nighttime routine can also support your well-being. In a 2012 study released by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 55% of participants who practiced yoga were able to improve their sleep.

The best yoga poses before bed

Bedtime yoga is designed to help you unwind and relax, so it's best to focus on certain poses, stretches, and slow, deep breathwork. Also, be sure to do your evening yoga right before you plan to go to sleep. "If you do it too early, there's a chance something happens to get you hyped back up," certified yoga therapist Judi Bar, told the Cleveland Clinic.

It is also important to prepare the room by dimming the lights and reducing any other distractions. This will signal to the mind that you are preparing to wind down. Bar suggests a series of 10 poses that have you start in a standing position on your mat in the foundation Mountain pose, or tadasana. "This brings us into the moment," Bar told the Cleveland Clinic. "We're feeling our feet on the floor and the strength in our body. We're beginning to separate from our day." She then recommends poses that lead you to a tabletop position for cat and cow poses to relax tension in the back. Bar suggests ending in a lying-down position, suggesting you focus on deep, slow belly breaths to let the body know that you're "getting ready to call it a night."

Practicing this routine or similar restorative poses should help you drift off to sleep easier. "We've hopefully let go of the tension that built up over the course of the day," Bar told the Cleveland Clinic.

Now, may your dreams be sweet.