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restorative yoga pose

How Yoga Can Become Your Ultimate Sleep Aid

A handful of easy yoga poses and breathing techniques before bed can help you achieve deeper, more restful sleep.

By Team PelotonMarch 29, 2023


If you’ve ever experienced insomnia, or even a few nights in a row of poor sleep, you know that you’ll try anything to get better rest, from counting sheep to sleep aids. And sadly, you’re not alone in your sleep woes. There’s a global problem of insufficient sleep happening all around us, leading to a host of adverse medical and mental dysfunctions

In addition to causing a host of other issues in your body, sleep deprivation might also be keeping you from achieving your health and fitness goals. There’s nothing worse than waking up early after a restless night and trying to find the energy to complete a workout. And even though most adults are supposed to be getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, there’s no magic switch that will make you stop tossing and turning. 

In order to get your sleep habits under control and your fitness routine back on track, it’s crucial that you cut down on stress at bedtime. It’s no secret that yoga has been proven to offer many health benefits—including better sleep—but have you ever tried to incorporate the practice of yoga into your actual nighttime routine? A huge part of relaxing the body involves relaxing the mind, and yoga before bed could be the key to getting better sleep. 

This article will review the benefits of adding yoga to your nightly routine and suggest some breathing and bedtime yoga poses to help you wind down before lights out. 

What Effects Does Yoga Have on Sleep?

Sure yoga can help relieve stress, but is it actually going to help you sleep better? All signs point to yes, especially if you’re choosing the right poses. By moving your body through a restorative, relaxing flow, you’ll be able to help it pause and rest, and calm your spirit from whatever stress or tension you’ve been carrying from the day. You don’t have to go through a full-body flow either! You can spend just a few minutes going through some soothing movements and focusing on deep breathing to signal to your nervous system that your body is out of hustle-mode and it’s time to power down. And since you’re lowering your heart rate (ideally to somewhere around 40-50 bpm) by slowing your body down, not only will you be telling your body that it’s time to relax, but the quality of your sleep should be better and deeper. Anything to help you hit that REM cycle, right? 

Which Form of Yoga is Ideal Before Bed?

The best type of yoga before bed is a restorative yoga class or poses. If slightly before bed, you may also enjoy a slow flow. Both restorative yoga and evening slow flow are offered on the Peloton App. The bedtime yoga movements you should be incorporating into your pre-sleep routine should be deeply restorative, with the only goal being relaxation of body and mind. The goal here is not to push your body in any way. If you feel the movements straining your body in any way, then it’s not right for your sleep routine. Be gentle and go easy on yourself. (Looking for something that's best when you're tired, but not right before bed? You can also reference this list for some recommended routines to do after a long day.)

Breathing Exercises to Aid With Sleep 

To begin, you should do a few breathing exercises to steady your heart rate and trigger your body’s cues to relax. Sit comfortably, either in bed or on the floor (you can also try a sleep meditation.) Sit on or against a pillow—whatever helps you sink into a posture of comfort. Close your eyes and begin breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. A good way to help your breathing regulate and deepen is to inhale for five counts, hold for five counts, and then exhale for five counts. See if you can do this breathing technique for a few minutes before moving on to your bedtime yoga practice.

Bedtime Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep Better

yoga poses for sleep

Peloton instructor Aditi Shah says, “Restorative yoga really aims to create the conditions for you to be able to truly rest.” The goal here is to kick your body into rest mode so that it can slip into deep, restorative sleep. You should find that these recommended poses are easy and relaxing. You may want to lay out a yoga mat, but all poses can be done on the floor or even on your bed. 

1. Child's Pose

Begin by sitting on your knees, with the tops of your toes pressed down to your mat. Open your knees so they are about hip-width apart, and shift your weight back onto your heels. Exhale and fold forward, walking your finger tips toward the top of your mat to deepen the stretch. Tuck your chin in slightly to deepen the stretch in your neck. Breathe deeply, allowing your torso to melt into the mat and your shoulders to relax.

2. Bridge Pose

Lie on your back and bend your knees, keeping the soles of your feet on the mat and your arms at your sides, palms down. Inhale, pressing into your feet to slowly lift your hips. Press your heels down to keep your hips lifted and your core stable. Stay here for a few breaths and then slowly lower yourself back down.

3. Happy Baby

Lying flat on your back, bend your knees toward your chest and position the soles of your feet toward the ceiling. Reach forward and grab the soles of your feet, spreading your knees apart and pulling them toward your armpits. Gently rock from side to side, inhaling and exhaling deeply.

4. Legs Up The Wall

Lie flat on your back, gently wiggling your body against the wall until your sit bones are against the wall and your legs are above you, pushed straight against the wall. Work on keeping your spine flat on the ground as you keep your legs straight and elevated for a few minutes.

5. Savasana

This should be your final resting pose before lights out. Lie flat on your back, with your palms facing upward. If you need to place a pillow under your knees, do so. Slowly begin to breathe deeply, allowing your whole body to relax and feel heavy, from the soles of your feet to the top of your head. See if you can stay present here for about five minutes. 

Wrapping Up: Bedtime Yoga Routine 

restorative yoga poses

It only takes committing a few extra minutes in your bedtime routine to see if a bedtime yoga routine helps promote more restful sleep for you. 

If you’re interested in finding some more restorative flows, check the Peloton App to find a class that’s right for you. You can also try the Power of Sleep program to test the benefits of combining sleep meditation with your nighttime flow. 

However you begin to incorporate yoga into your sleep routine, remember to stay consistent. The more you practice, the more your body will start to recognize your new relaxation cues as you build a habit of better sleep. 

This content is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute individualized advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician for questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. If you are having a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.


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