3 yoga poses to do before bed: relaxing poses to help you drop off

Learn how to calm your nervous system for a better night’s sleep

Group of people doing reclined butterfly pose
(Image credit: Getty)

Practising yoga before bed can give us a really good night’s sleep but it’s something we can easily overlook and not make time for. This is why we’re showing you three simple yoga poses you can do in bed so there’s really no excuse!

All you’ll need to give these postures a go is a clear wall, your bed and some pillows, although if you've invested in one the best yoga mats, that might make things a little comfier.

Trying a few yoga postures before bed helps to calm our nervous systems and rest the muscles. Throughout the day, our nervous system is stimulated and can become overwhelmed. We might not think much of it but all of the tasks we complete, the thoughts in our heads, the conversations we have and the environments we are in all impact our nervous system. We can become swamped internally in our nervous system but appear and feel OK on the outside. Therefore, it’s really important we take a few minutes each day to decompress and allow ourselves time to relax. Our body really does need it. 

#1. Legs up the wall

Woman lying on her back with legs up a wall

(Image credit: Getty)

Legs up the wall is a super easy posture to do before climbing into bed. All you need is a clear wall space (or even the edge of your bed) and a cushion under your bum. Sit one of your hips close to the wall, so you’re side on to it. Leave a small gap between your hip and the wall. You can place the cushion underneath you at this point. Begin to lean back, swivel round and lift your legs up against the wall, lying your back down onto the floor as you do so. 

Let your heels lift slightly to elongate the legs and stretch the hamstrings. It’s fine to also keep the knees a little soft here to avoid straining the legs. If you’re using the edge of your bed, you can bend at your knees and allow your calf muscles to rest on the mattress.

Why is it good for relaxing?

This yoga posture is one of the most calming you can practice before sleep because of its rejuvenating effect on the body. When we invert the body in this way, the carotid arteries located in the neck become flooded with blood. As this happens, a mechanism in our body called the baroreceptors, recognises the increase in blood. As it does this, the body reacts by beginning to slow the blood flow therefore lowering your blood pressure.

#2. Reclined butterfly

Group of people doing reclined butterfly pose

(Image credit: Getty)

Once you’ve climbed into bed, lie on your back and bring the soles of the feet together, allowing your knees to relax out to the side. If it feels too strong to have the knees dangling, then grab some extra pillows and pop them under your outer thighs, towards the hips, for some extra support. You can rest your hands on your belly or out to the side. Rest here for a couple of minutes, breathing deeply but softly. 

Why is it good for relaxing?

Reclined butterfly is great for releasing tight hips, lower back and inner thighs. It helps the legs unwind ready for a good night’s rest and brings a deep sense of calm to the body and mind. This one can be particularly helpful if you suffer with restless legs. As we hold this posture, we learn to deal with anything that comes up for us. For example, if you find you want to move your legs as soon as you’ve come into this posture, try holding it and see what happens. It can help us learn to deal with sensations of restlessness, whether that’s a physical or mental thing.

#3. Supine twist

Woman doing supine twist

(Image credit: Getty)

This is another yoga pose you can do while lying in bed. Bring your knees into your chest and your arms out into a T-shape. As you exhale, take your knees down to the left and look to your right. Stay for a minute and then on an inhale, bring the knees back into the chest. As you exhale this time, bring them down to the right and look to your left. 

Why is it good for relaxing?

Twists are a great way to let go of the day. It’s a myth that they detoxify the physical body but there is something about them that helps us sigh out all of our tension. They’re also wonderful for opening the chest and releasing shoulder tension.

Kat Bayly

Kat has five years teaching experience with further training in supporting injured students. She is qualified to teach Hormone Yoga Therapy and currently studying to become a Yoga Therapy Practitioner.