Getting the proper amount of sleep every night can sometimes feel as impossible as reading with your eyes closed. And while, in a perfect world, fitting in a relaxing yoga flow every single night before bed would be ideal, many people just don't have the time for a full-on practice within their hectic schedules. However, if you're dying to catch some Zs, but can't seem to fall asleep for the life of you, the best yoga pose for sleep is actually an asana you can do when you're already snuggled up and cozy in your bed. Pretty convenient, right?
Before we get into the specifics of that one magical, snooze-inducing pose, let's talk about how yoga in general is an excellent way to help you relax in the evening. According to a 2004 study published in the journal Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, which looked at various treatments for people with chronic insomnia, yoga is a highly effective method for getting to sleep and staying asleep throughout the night. The participants of the study were instructed to consistently practice yoga for just eight weeks, and they were found to have a higher quality and length of nighttime slumber than those who didn't do yoga.
What's cool to note, though, is that yoga doesn't always have to entail a full, hour-long flow. Simply incorporating one pose, along with deep, expansive breathing before bed, can still help you sleep like a baby.
Legs-up-the-wall pose — or viparita karani, in Sanskrit — is essentially the only yoga pose you need if you constantly find yourself tossing and turning at night, and are looking for a way to quiet your mind.
That's right, people. All you have to do is throw your legs up the nearest wall, close your eyes, and let the power of your deep, steady breathing work its damn magic.
According to DoYouYoga, including inversions in your bedtime routine helps reverse the effects of gravity on your entire system, helps regulate your blood pressure, and improves your digestion, which is especially helpful if you've eaten a late dinner.
And yes, legs-up-the-wall pose is 100 percent considered an inversion, even though it's not as strenuous as, say, a full-on handstand. This restorative pose is actually a lot more calming than most inversions, because it requires essentially no effort on your part, so you can really allow your entire body to unwind and relax.
Additionally, Yoga Journal reports that viparita karani calms your nervous system, quiets any racing thoughts that might be clouding your mind, relieves any tension that built up in your muscles and joints throughout the day, and can even reduce the severity of menstrual symptoms, if that's what's keeping you from your beauty rest at night.
Combining a few minutes of legs-up-the-wall pose with some mindful, slow breathing can totally transform the quality of your slumber.
While you're lying down in viparita karani, close your eyes and focus on activating your ujjayi breathing, which essentially just means making your breath sound like the ocean. This type of deep abdominal breathing helps calm an overactive mind and releases mental tension, simply by taking full, expansive breaths into your belly, and long, drawn-out exhales through your nose.
It's important to remember that, as with any type of inversion, there are some precautions that might need to be taken. Though legs-up-the-wall feels amazing, and will definitely help prepare you for bed, if you have any serious eye, neck, or back problems, you should consult a doctor or an experienced yoga teacher before you incorporate it into your routine, just to make sure you don't hurt yourself.
However, once you're in the clear to start practicing this pose, you'll be smooth-sailing into the land of sweet dreams and glorious slumber. Sleep tight, little yogis!