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Relax, Sleep Deeply, and Awaken Refreshed

Updated on December 4, 2011

I can't sleep! Help me sleep! Relax for 3-5 minutes in each position with eyes closed, and breathe fully.

I can't sleep:  legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani) is a modified shoulder stand. Put a rolled blanket or bolster under hips if it feels good for you.  Do it before bed to fall asleep easily and sleep better.
I can't sleep: legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani) is a modified shoulder stand. Put a rolled blanket or bolster under hips if it feels good for you. Do it before bed to fall asleep easily and sleep better.
In gentle cobra, lift with your back not your arms.  Feel the bend between your shoulder blades more than in your lower back.  Reach forward and up with your heart.
In gentle cobra, lift with your back not your arms. Feel the bend between your shoulder blades more than in your lower back. Reach forward and up with your heart.
head-to-knees pose easy variation
head-to-knees pose easy variation
head-to-knees pose deep variation
head-to-knees pose deep variation
extended side stretch seated
extended side stretch seated
extended side stretch deeper variation
extended side stretch deeper variation
Support child pose with bolster, cushion or rolled blankets under thighs and ankles if needed.  Spending a few minutes in this position before bed is a natural sleep aid.
Support child pose with bolster, cushion or rolled blankets under thighs and ankles if needed. Spending a few minutes in this position before bed is a natural sleep aid.
One of the best-loved meditation techniques:  rest in savasana for five minutes with your eyes closed, and feel your body breathe.
One of the best-loved meditation techniques: rest in savasana for five minutes with your eyes closed, and feel your body breathe.

How will easy exercises before bedtime let me relax and help me sleep?


If you have insomnia and trouble sleeping at night, look at what is causing stress in your life. Once we understand that we are not victims of life, we see that we are in charge of the choices that structure our situation and our response to what happens. It is never too late to make changes that will make us happier. We alone are responsible for setting boundaries, controlling how we use our time, knowing our own life’s purpose and seeing that we fulfill it before we die. We can only find happiness within ourselves.

Sometimes our lives are out of balance because of our personal choices. In The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, one of the master yoga teachers of the 20th century, Vishnu-Devananda, taught that a balanced lifestyle includes 5 points:

  • Right exercise, including aerobic exercise and yoga postures
  • Right diet, including reducing or eliminating toxins like caffeine, sugar, alcohol, chemical-laden food and meat
  • Right relaxation, including conscious relaxation as well as sleep
  • Right attitude and positive thinking, including meditation
  • Right breathing, including yogic breathing or pranayama


Life is a brief impermanent incandescence that faces us with opportunity to learn and grow. At the heart of every breath is a new beginning that beckons us to know who we really are.

This flow of yoga postures before sleeping will help you quiet your mind, relax into deep restorative sleep and awaken refreshed.

  • Modified shoulder stand
  • Gentle cobra
  • Janu sirsana
  • Seated side stretch
  • Child pose
  • Svasana
  • Mental anuloma viloma--lying on your back in relaxation posture, picture your breath entering your left nostril, leaving your right nostril, then entering your right and leaving your left. Stay focussed on your breath. Feel it at your nostrils. Each time you exhale, switch nostrils. Count the start of a new cycle each time you inhale through the left. Do ten cycles. If you lose count and drift off, begin again.


Learn more about yoga from a qualified teacher at a studio near you.

This DVD for home practice has an easy yoga flow of seated and lying postures and an extended guided relaxation: Gentle Yoga for Seniors and Beginners.





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    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I don't usually have trouble falling asleep, but there are always those odd nights when it just doesn't come. Bookmarked and ready for use as needed; everything else you've provided has been spot on and I have little doubt that this is too. Thanks, Janis.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      5 years ago from UK

      How did I miss this one? Pinned, alongside all my other Janis Yoga Hubs :)

    • livingabroad profile image

      livingabroad 

      6 years ago from Wales, UK

      Good reading here. I tried some of the yoga stretches last night before bed. I slept like a baby! However I found it really difficult to wake up as I was in such a deep sleep! It must have worked, so will doing the same again tonight.

      Next is the list is diet...

      Up and useful :)

    • Janis Goad profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      Twins times 2, thanks for reading and commenting. I hope it helps you sleep well.

      Hi injured lamb, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Yoga is an amazing practice with many benefits.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 

      6 years ago

      Yes you are so right Janis, I feel relaxed and refreshed too after yoga, it really helps...thanks for the useful sharing, voted it useful...

    • twinstimes2 profile image

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      I enjoyed the read, Janis! Sometimes I have trouble unwinding after a long day. I will try some of your suggestions!

    • Janis Goad profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Leann. Many people feel relaxed and refreshed after yoga, and a quiet practice before sleep really helps. I hope you have a deep sleep tonight!

    • profile image

      leann2800 

      6 years ago

      Sleep has always been hard for me. But I have found by the end of my yoga class I was ready to sleep anywhere. I really found the pictures of poses in your hub helpful

    • Janis Goad profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      Hi Gracenduta! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      I was having trouble sleeping too, especially after the change of life. I would fall asleep and wake after two or three hours, then not be able to fall asleep again. Or I would doze and wake, doze and wake and not get a solid night's sleep. Yoga helps, and since I have been doing this program of nutritional cleansing I am really seeing a difference--sound sleep, waking refreshed, lots of energy, and losing weight.

      Email me to learn more.

    • Gracenduta profile image

      Gracenduta 

      6 years ago from Kenya

      I have been having sleep problems and it takes me about 3 hours to sleep. At times I stay awake in bed for almost 5 hours. I will try out the exercises. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Pamela Fry 

      7 years ago

      Hi Janis,

      Finally found a moment to myself and wanted to check out your stuff - this title caught my eye. I don't know if insomnia is my problem, but I spend much of the night reading. If the 5 lifestyle points you mention were on a test, I'd FAIL! I could give myself one mark for right breathing, but only because that's the single, solitary practical skill I learned in theater school. I'll try the poses (rookie version) and report in next week!

    working

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