If you've ever spent a groggy day at work nodding off at your desk because you couldn't fall asleep the night before, you are not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, some 40 million Americans aren't getting enough rest at night.
While too much caffeine, poor sleep habits or underlying health conditions can all lead to a restless night, health experts at the National Institute of Health and Centers for Disease Control agree that stress and anxiety play a major role in preventing a good night's sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that "nearly half of all those who have experienced insomnia blame the problem on stress and worry."
So what do you do if worries about your job, family, or health have you tossing and turning at night?
Research suggests that yoga and other forms of contemplative movement can provide some relief and help you get some quality Zs. A 2010 lit review, conducted at the University of Sao Paulo, states that "self-reported sleep was improved by all mind-body treatments, among them yoga, relaxation, Tai Chi and music." The lit review, which focused on 12 separate studies, showed that mind-body interventions have been able to improve not only sleep quality but overall sleep duration as well. In some cases, researchers even found that mind-body practices can "reduce the use of hypnotic drugs in those who are dependent on these drugs."
Yoga is more popular than ever, and you may be able to find a teacher or a studio near you trained in guided relaxation practices and other mindful movement disciplines. But if you're ready to get started right now, then practice this set of six postures at home for total relaxation and a better night's rest.