Too Stressed to Sleep?

Too Stressed to Sleep?

Here's What You Can Do Without Getting Out of Bed

Written by Tuck Sleep Foundation

Your bed is the last place you want to feel stress. But unfortunately, anxiety, stress, and worry often come to a head when you're trying to get to sleep.

If you're finding it difficult to settle down and rest at night, you can practice yoga and meditation. Although yoga and meditation can be practiced during the day, there are practices and poses that you can do in bed to help you relax on the spot and drift off to sleep.

Practicing Meditation in Bed

Meditation can calm your mind and body and make it easier for you to fall asleep. Mindfulness meditation is particularly easy to do in bed, so you can use it when you're having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep at night. Meditation practices can be combined with the corpse pose.

  • Mindful breathing: Just before bed, mindful breathing can act like a tranquilizer for your nervous system. Practice the 4-7-8 method of mindful breathing, as you inhale through your nose for a count of four, hold for a count of eight, then exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat several times as you relax and drift off to sleep.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: As you're lying down in bed, tense and relax your muscles to relieve tension. Lay flat on your back and starting with one muscle group at a time, tense each muscle group for five seconds, then relax for 30 seconds, moving progressively up or down your body.

Practicing Yoga in Bed

Relaxing yoga poses can help you wind down and get ready for a good night's sleep. Try these yoga poses that can be done on most beds. Keep in mind that your mattress matters, as it can be more difficult to do yoga poses on a foam mattress that may sink too much, or an innerspring mattress that may be too bouncy. A hybrid mattress is likely to be a good fit for yoga in bed, offering a surface that's not too bouncy and doesn't sink uncomfortably far down into the foam.

  • Legs up the wall: Practice this calming pose as you place your legs upward on your headboard, using your hands for balance. Rest your head and shoulders on your mattress and breathe through the pose.

  • Knees to chest: This pose can reduce pain in your lower back while relieving high blood pressure and anxiety. Draw both knees to your chest while lying on your back. Clasp your hands around your knees, keeping your back flat on the mattress. Extend your legs onto the mattress as you exhale and release the pose.

  • Reclined spinal twist: Squeeze out the anxiety of your day and alleviate pain along your spine as you lie flat on your back. Bend your knees, extend your arms to the side, and keep your feet flat. Turn your head to the right and drop your knees to the left, continuing to press your shoulder blades into the mattress as you hold the pose for several breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.

Tuck Sleep Foundation is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web. 

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