6 Yoga Poses for Sleep

woman tired from doing yoga

Written by Thy TranHoang

Yoga is a form of meditation that combines attentiveness and focused breathing with some form of light, physical exercise, and it can help you improve sleep. Yoga has been shown to be beneficial for overall health and effective in alleviating perimenopausal symptoms. One of these symptoms is sleep difficulties. Women in perimenopause begin to experience sleeping problems, the reasons are many from hot flashes to episodes of insomnia. An effective way to relax your body and improve your sleep is to engage in physical activity. Yoga is an excellent way to achieve that, it alleviates joint pain and improves your sleep.

There are a variety of yoga poses, and some have been described as serving a specific purpose—such as reducing stress, stabilizing heart rate, or improving sleep. This article will detail 6 yoga poses for sleep, these can be performed before bed to promote sleep.

For yoga, the sequence is not as important as the manner of approach. Stretches and breathing should be gentle, slow, and steady instead of ruched or labored.

The result is for you to feel comfortable, relaxed, and have a clear mind—which research indicated as the starting point to sleep. Simply 30 minutes of yoga before bed can make a difference. Some of these poses can even be performed right on the bed.

Pose 1: Sukhasana

a woman sitting on a rock practicing yoga sukhasana

This is the pose that people often associate with mediation. Sukhasana is ideal as a breathing exercise; it is simple and doesn’t require too much effort to perform.

Getting started with Sukhasana (3-5 minutes):

  • Sit with your back straight and legs folded in front of you by lifting one foot to rest on the opposite thigh. Sitting criss cross style is also an alternative.
  • Rest your hands on your knees and close your eyes, relaxing your body and focusing on your breathing.
  • Lift or lengthen your spine as you inhale, and lower your shoulders or ground your bottom onto the bed/mat as you exhale.

Pose 2: Janu Sirsasana

woman doing yoga
Photo by Cliff Booth on Pexels.com

Janu Sirsasana or head of the knee pose provides a great stretch for your legs, arms, and back. It also aids with the digestion process during sleep. 

Getting started with Janu Sirsasana (2 minutes):

  • Sit with one leg extended in front of you, while the opposite leg is bent with its sole against the inner thigh of the extended foot. 
  • Sit straight with your arms extended above your head. Slowly bring your body forward and reach toward the toes of the extended foot. 
  • Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Each time you exhale, try to extend your reach a bit further—do not exert yourself or over stretch.
  • Keep your back straight and spine lengthened as best as you can.
  • Hold the pose for one minute and then repeat with the bent leg now extended and the extended leg now bent. 

Pose 3: Paschimottanasana

woman practicing yoga

Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend is similar to Janu Sirsasana (Head of the Knee Pose), except both legs are now extended straight in front of you.

Getting started with Paschimottanasana (2 minutes):

  • Sit straight, with both legs extended in front of you. 
  • Extend your arms above your head and slowly bring your body forward to reach toward your toes.
  • Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Each time you exhale, try to extend your reach a bit further—do not exert yourself or over stretch.
  • Keep your back straight and spine lengthened as best as you can.
  • Optional: Lower your head between your arms.

Pose 4: Supta Baddha Konasana

woman practicing yoga to improve sleep
Image credit: theauric.com

Supta Baddha Konasana or reclining bound angle pose can be done lying completely flat, or with a pillow under your head.

Getting started with Supta Baddha Konasana (3-5 minutes):

  • Relax your legs, arms, shoulders, and neck. Your legs should be straight and flat against the bed/mat. Your arms should be along your sides and flat against the bed/mat (most people have their palms faced up). Shoulders are also flat against the bed/mat.
  • Take 10-15 slow, deep breaths.
  • Slowly bend your knees and draw your legs together so that the soles are touching each other (think of it like you’re doing a high five with your soles). Don’t worry if your knees or legs are not flat against the bed/mat during this point.
  • Gradually move your feet toward you, with the soles still connected, so that your heels are as close to your groin as possible.
  • At this point, try to lay your knees as flat against the bed/mat as you can. However, it is completely fine if your knees are not completely flat—do not exert yourself or over stretch.
  • Your arms and shoulders continue to be flat against the bed/mat with palms faced up.
  • Some may find it easier if they position their feet while sitting first, then lower themselves onto their back.

Pose 5: Supta Padangusthasana

calm young asian woman doing supine hand to big toe yoga asana

Supta Padangusthasana or reclining big toe pose can be done lying completely flat, or with a pillow under your head.

Getting started with Supta Padangusthasana (2 minutes):

  • Lie flat on your back with legs straight and flat against the bed/mat, arms to your sides and flat against the bed/mat, and shoulders flat against the bed/mat.
  • Lift one leg straight in the air.
  • Reach the arm on the same side as the leg that’s lifted and reach towards your toes without lifting your back off the bed/mat. You do not have to touch your toes if you can’t reach them. 
  • Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
  • Hold the pose for 1 minute and then repeat with the other leg. 

Pose 6: Savasana (Corpse Pose)

woman relaxing in yoga mat to improve sleep

Savasana or corpse pose is recommended is often the last pose done during yoga because it is physically the easiest and most relaxed pose that allows all the work you’ve done from the beginning to set in. Savasana can also be seen as the ultimate sleep pose!

Getting started with Savasana (5 minutes or more):

  • This pose can be done lying completely flat, or with a pillow under your head.
  • Lie flat on your back with legs straight, hip distance apart, and flat against the bed/mat 
  • Arms are to your sides with palms faced up and flat against the bed/mat
  • Let the weight of your body sink against the bed/mat and focus your attention on your breathing. 
  • You can inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, or simply breathe normally.

Pose 7 (Bonus): Viparita Karani

a woman doing yoga for sleep

Viparita Karani or legs up the wall pose requires a wall and can be a bit more challenging for some. This pose can help improve circulation because it is inverted—the heart is lower than the feet.

Getting started with Viparita Karani (1-3 minutes)

  • Lie on your back with the sole of your feet facing a wall.
  • Lift your legs straight up so that it is parallel with the wall. 
  • Start inching your buttocks toward the wall until the back of your legs are against the wall.
  • Place your arms along your side or straight out like a cross with palms facing up.
  • Your legs should be relaxed against the wall and not feel like they are being held up. You may bend your knees and add a pillow under your hips if that is more comfortable.
  • You can also experiment without the use of a wall and simply raise your legs straight up.

Adding Yoga to Your Daily Routine

Yoga is a great addition to your sleep routine. You are likely already on your bed or in your bedroom when performing these poses. These poses not only relax your body, but also psychologically prepare you for sleep. This includes falling asleep faster and potentially greater quality sleep.


At It’sFetch.co we strive to provide valuable and reliable health information through our blog. We believe in empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. However, it is important to understand that the content on our blog is not intended to replace the advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified medical professional. 


Harris, K. (2023). 14 Yoga poses for better sleep. Sleep Advisor. https://www.sleepadvisor.org/yoga-for-sleep/

Johns Hopkins University (n.d.) Yoga for sleep. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/yoga-for-sleep 

Manchester, J. & Yoga Journal Editors (2023). 15 yoga poses for sleep. Yoga Journal. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/yoga-by-benefit/insomnia/15-poses-help-sleep-better/

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