With 2020 being the year our sleep officially took a turn for the worse, it’s unsurprising so many of us are turning to Pinterest for sleep inspiration.
A 2021 trends predictions report from the social media site says there’s been a 90% increase in interest for sleep yoga, year on year, while interest for the phrase ‘before sleep workout’ has tripled.
“Sleep care is the new self-care,” reads the report. “Bedtime routines will be more luxurious than ever. From home goods just for sleep (diffuser blends) to bedtime exercise routines (sleep yoga), people will bring intention to more restful regimens.”
But is the so-called “sleep workout” a good idea? Sleep expert James Wilson, also known as The Sleep Geek, believes so.
“I think the likes of yoga, pilates, and mindful exercise are great before bed because they help us lower our heart rate and feel relaxed,” he tells HuffPost UK. “Stretching particularly, and those moves that open up the chest, are also useful to allow us to breathe slower and create the right physiological conditions for sleep.”
Wilson believes people are showing an interest in pre-bedtime yoga and ‘sleep workouts’ because poor sleepers are starting to understand they need to take a more personalised approach to getting better sleep, especially during the pandemic. “So they are looking for something pre-sleep that helps them feel relaxed but is something they enjoy,” he says.
A survey from the US found over 55% of yoga users report improved sleep and over 85% report reduced stress. That’s not to say any old workout before bed goes, however. Aerobic exercise right before bed might wake you up more, leaving you struggling to drift off.
If you do this type of exercise, you should aim to do it at least two hours before going to bed, suggests Charlene Gamaldo, medical director of Johns Hopkins Centre for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Maryland.
The type of yoga you do before bed is also important, notes Wilson – hot yoga, for instance, is unlikely to help you sleep. “It raises the heart rate too much, and the rise in core temperature will make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep,” he says.