Some say a glass of warm milk helps them fall asleep faster. Others swear by meditation. When it comes to your nighttime routine, finding what works best for you (and your Zs!) is key for your health.
Nearly 42% of American get an average of less than seven hours of sleep a night, according to a 2015 Gallup poll. And all this lack of rest can take a major toll on our bodies. Beyond just feeling lethargic and plagued by brain fog all day long, lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of weight gain, depression, colds and flu, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
If you’re struggling to log enough hours in bed, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your sleep naturally. For starters, you could pick up one of our favorite products to help you get to dreamland, such a silk pillowcase or a luxurious eye mask. Or there are always our go-to sleep tips, like turning off your phone at least an hour before bedtime, creating a tranquil environment in your bedroom, or being smart about eating sleep-promoting foods for dinner.
One of our favorite healthy ways to wind down? Yoga. In this video, Equinox trainer Noemi Henriquez will take you through a flow that’s meant to calm the nervous system, so your body is best prepared for bedtime. Who’s ready to feel sleepy?
Of course, some forms of yoga are anything but snore-inducing. Practices like Bikram yoga, which consists of a series of 26 poses done in a room that’s heated up to 105 degrees, are meant to increase strength and release toxins from the body, rather than send it to sleep. Vinyasa yoga, whereby yogis flow swiftly through a series of core-strengthening sun salutations, also tends to bring the heart rate up.
That said, there are certain yoga postures that are totally conducive to relaxation. Take those in the soothing flow featured in the video above, like child’s pose, downward dog, forward folds, and cat-cow stretches. Full of deep stretches and slow breathing, this practice is meant to free your mind of the day’s stresses and center your body before you settle into bed.
Want to see how you can use exercise to prepare your mind and body for bedtime? Watch the video above and follow along as Noemi shows you how to use yoga for better sleep. Namaste—and sweet dreams!