3 Yoga Moves to Help You Fall Asleep Faster

You already know all of the good for you reasons to get a good night's sleep. But if you struggle to get zzz's, stress relieving yoga can be pretty helpful.

Before you start this 15-minute routine, dim or turn off the lights. You'll also need two props: something small and heavy like a large book, and a couple of folded towels or thick pillows. Keep this up nightly and you should see results in a week or two.

Move #1: Relaxed Diaphragm Breathing
Lie in a comfortable position on your back with your book (or other heavy object) on your belly. Notice your breath and see if you can gently lengthen it by breathing into your belly where the book it set. 

Use the pressure of the book to help you breathe more and more into your belly as you relax your neck, chest, and upper back. Continue for two to three minutes. This practice will help you learn to breathe from your diaphragm, which in turn will help decrease stress hormones by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Move #2: Reclined Butterfly Pose
Grab some towels, pillows, sweatshirt, or whatever you need to support you. Use them as a pillar behind your spine from your lower ribs up to support your head, but be sure that your head is slightly higher than your chest.

Bring the soles of your feet together and use more pillows as support for your thighs so they are equal in height. Relax with your hips and pelvis on the floor. Breathe naturally. Stay here for five to ten minutes. The key to this pose is help you completely relax and prepare your nervous system for sleep.

Move #3: Legs Up the Wall
All you need is a small spot at a wall for this one. Lie on your back and walk your hips close to the wall. Extend your legs up the wall and rest them there gently. If this is too difficult, move your hips a little further away from the wall.

Relax your neck, back, and hips. Notice the natural movement of your breath as you stay here for five to ten minutes. When you are done, bend your knees and roll onto one side. Slowly make your way straight to bed from there.

Tiffany Cruikshank is a health and wellness expert, author of Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life, and founder of Yoga Medicine.

Photos: Fluid Frame Photography

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