Whole-Body Wellness Challenge: 5 Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
Use these gentle moves to prepare for a restful night’s sleep.
The Whole-Body Wellness Challenge is rooted in the understanding that health isn’t just about fitness. This month, we’re sharing fun and easy ways to bring everything you love about SilverSneakers classes and your time at the gym to other areas of your life. You’ll find workouts, tips, and activities to help you build strength, eat healthier, sleep sounder, and be more present in your life so you can feel good—body, mind, and spirit.
It’s a myth that you don’t need as much good, quality sleep as you age. In fact, it’s essential for a healthy, happy you.
During sleep, our brains are hard at work forming memories, cleaning out toxins, and fine-tuning concentration skills for the day ahead. Sleep also impacts other functions like your heart, metabolism, and immunity. Overtime, not getting enough shut-eye has even been shown to increase the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression.
So, what can you do to up your chances of getting the rest you need? One way is through exercise. Incorporating movement into your day has been shown to help folks fall asleep faster, and sleep better when they do. Need some inspiration? Try one of our classes, today.
Another key step: Relaxing before bed. If a busy brain or a tense body is making it hard for you to settle in for the night, yoga may help. “Practicing yoga is a great way to calm your body and mind and prepare for sleep,” says SilverSneakers instructor Shannon Thigpen.
Here, Shannon put together a simple sequence you can do before bed—or really anytime you need to hit restart on your day.
How to Use These Yoga Poses for Sleep
You’ll just need yourself and some open floor space. You can either practice these poses on the floor on a mat or other comfy surface, as Shannon does, or you can practice them on your bed. Shannon also suggests having pillows handy to use as props, if you need.
Ready to get started? Simply press play on the video above and follow along. Shannon will demonstrate these five poses you can do before bed: a forward fold, legs to the sky, knees to chest, reclining bound angle pose, and corpse pose.
When you practice these on your own, hold each pose for four to five breaths, or around 20 to 30 seconds each. Be mindful to only stretch as far as is comfortable. If you feel pressure or strain, carefully back out of the pose and readjust.
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As you hold each pose, aim to bring your awareness to your body and your breath. Let your worries of the day melt away into the floor (or bed) beneath you.
Remember: Safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
Bonus Challenge: Try a SilverSneakers BOOM Mind Class
SilverSneakers BOOM Mind is a 30 to 45-minute mind-body mat workout that combines the best of yoga, Pilates, and barre to build endurance, increase flexibility, and help you feel calm and centered. It’s offered both in-person at participating SilverSneakers fitness locations (review the gym’s schedule for exact times), or online with SilverSneakers LIVE. See the latest SilverSneakers LIVE schedule and RSVP for classes here.
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