Can't Sleep? This 5-Minute Calming Yoga Sequence Is Designed To Help

Wind down a busy mind with these low-impact restorative poses.

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As a nation, we’re pretty damn tired – but we’re also terrible at getting enough sleep.

Nearly two thirds of adults have experienced a decline in sleep quality during the pandemic, according to research by King’s College London. Many of us are now living with a “chronic sleep deficit”, with disruption to our daily routines, blurred work-life boundaries and increased stress and anxiety continuing to negatively impact our sleep.

To combat this, Sanchia Legister, who teaches yoga at Psycle, has created a yoga sequence designed to help you drift off with ease and optimise your sleep potential.

Spikes in our stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol make it hard for us to sleep, but exercise provides an instant stress relief, releasing mood-boosting endorphins. It also aids the production of the chemicals adenosine (promoting sleepiness) and melatonin (helping to control our sleep cycle). Additionally, exercise increases our levels of the hormone serotonin, involved in the sleep-wake cycle, enhancing the brain’s ability to help regulate sleep.

This low-impact, calming workout takes just five minutes to complete. Try it tonight before bed, then make it a regular part of your evening routine for the biggest benefits.

1. Balasana (child’s pose)

Sanchia Legister

Come to all fours with your knees wider than your feet, sink your bum back towards your heels and grab a thick cushion or bolster to put under your chest and head and let your body weight sink into the cushion.

Stay in this pose for 45 seconds.

2. Supported paschimottanasana (forward seated folded)

Sanchia Legister

Sit on the ground with your legs out long in front of you, hip width apart. Pull the flesh back from your sitting bones and place two blocks or books (at a good height for you) in front of your upper body. Slowly bow forward placing your forehead on the blocks and let your body relax, allowing all of your weight to sink into the ground and blocks underneath you.

Stay in this pose for 45 seconds.

3. Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angle pose)

Sanchia Legister

Lie down with a thick cushion or bolster under your back (make sure it’s comfortable). Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out towards the ground, placing some blocks or cushions under the outside edge of your thighs. Place your hands on your lower belly or by your sides and relax into your breath. Additionally, you can place a bolster under the back of your knees here too.

Stay in this pose for 45 seconds.

4. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (supported bridge pose)

Sanchia Legister

Lie down on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the ground (just shy or arms reach). Press into your feet to lift your hips up and then place a block or thick cushions underneath, so that your hips are elevated.

Stay in this pose for 45 seconds.

5. Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)

Viparita Karani

Sit with one hip close to the wall and then swing your legs up the wall with your bum as close as possible. Use your forearms to lie down on your back and let your legs be supported by the wall. Rest your arms in cactus position or place your hands on your belly.

Stay in this pose for 45 seconds.

6. Savasana (corpse pose)

Sanchia Legister

Lay down on your back with your legs out long, at least hip width apart. For additional comfort place a bolster or cushion under the back of your knees. Rest your hands by your sides with palms up to the ceiling, or on your lower belly.

Stay in this pose for at least one minute, relaxing into your breath and allowing your body to melt into the floor to release any tension.

Move celebrates exercise in all its forms, with accessible features encouraging you to add movement into your day – because it’s not just good for the body, but the mind, too. We get it: workouts can be a bit of a slog, but there are ways you can move more without dreading it. Whether you love hikes, bike rides, YouTube workouts or hula hoop routines, exercise should be something to enjoy.

HuffPost UK / Rebecca Zisser