Not getting enough sleep is an all-too-common problem in modern society. Even if you head to bed early to get the 7-9 hours you need, there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually be able to stay asleep all night long. There are plenty of factors that come into play when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions too!
Why Can’t I Sleep?
One of the most common reasons why you’re not getting enough shut-eye is simple: stress.
When you feel stressed all day at work, you’re likely to take that feeling home with you. You might get a break while making dinner or enjoying a good book in the evening, but when those distractions are gone, you’re likely to start worrying about your next day at work.
In this case, practicing yoga before bed can be a great way to calm your mind and banish stressful thoughts.
Another common problem is suffering from night time back aches, which make it difficult to get comfortable and drift into sleep. Some people may even experience back pain that wakes them up in the middle of the night (1).
Since your back muscles are sore after a long day spent sitting at your desk, it’s important to loosen up before hitting the sack. This habit helps relieve tension and stretch out and loosen up overused muscles.
To amplify the effects of the back pain relief poses below, drink some calming tea two hours before bedtime, take a soothing bath, and avoid electronic devices at least 90 minutes before bedtime.
4 Back Pain Relief Tricks for a Good Night’s Sleep
You don’t need a yoga mat to do these poses, just use your bed!
1. Wind-Relieving Pose
This pose is commonly used to treat gas pain and poor digestion but has many other benefits. In fact, this pose can actually boost blood circulation in the hip joints, strengthen the back and core, and eases tension in the lower back (2).
Here’s how to do it:
- Lie on your back, and relax your whole body.
- Bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are touching the ground (or your mattress).
- Reach towards the ceiling, bring your knees into your chest, and wrap your arms around them.
- Exhale and bring your knees further into your chest. With every breath, inhale and move your legs away from your torso, bringing them closer to you on the exhale.
- Hold the position for 8-10 breaths.
2. Feet on the Wall
Viparita Karani, or feet on the wall, is a great alternative to bending over to stretch out your legs and back. “When you put your legs up the wall with your pelvis elevated on a folded blanket, lymph and other fluids that can lead to swollen ankles, tired knees, and congested pelvic organs flow into the lower belly; this refreshes the legs and the reproductive area,” explains Yoga Journal (3).
Here’s how to do it:
- Place a folded pillow next to the wall or headboard.
- Lie down on the ground or on your bed with your buttocks against the wall, and prop your feet and legs on the wall.
- Spread your arms out to the sides to open your chest.
- Hold the pose for a few minutes, breathing deeply throughout.
3. Wave Exercises
This exercise gets into the deep muscles in your back to relieve pain and tension.
- To start, lie on your back with a small rolled towels under your waist and neck.
- Stay relaxed and sway your feet from side to side. Loosen up your neck by slowly shaking it from side to side. Make sure not to strain your neck or back as you do so.
- Change direction and continue swaying from side to side for a few breaths.
- Roll over onto your stomach, moving the towel under your forehead. Rest your toes on the bed with your arms and legs spread comfortably.
- Shake your feet from side to side as if your body was being moved by waves. Let your whole body relax. Change directions and continue for a few deep breaths.
Shavasana, also known as corpse pose, is often used at the end of a yoga session to release stress and transition into a relaxed state. It also works to relieve back pain as well as shoulder and neck pain caused by sitting at a desk all day (4).
Here’s how to do it:
- Lie down on your back, slightly spreading your legs and arms. Place your palms facing up.
- Support your neck with a folded towel to let your neck fully relax.
- Breathe deeply and slowly relax every muscle in your body, starting with your toes and ending with your head.
- Let your breaths get longer and deeper as time goes on.
- Relax as much as you can and slowly come back into your body and out of the pose. You can also use this pose to drift into sleep.
Practice these four exercises every night for complete back pain relief. You’ll be glad you tried it!