10 Bedtime Yoga Benefits for Busy Professionals

Bedtime yoga benefits abound. In current, particularly Western, cultures, we tend to equate the ancient practice of yoga with a 90-minute power workout. It is much more than that. Yoga is a way of life, including guidance on how to speak, think, behave, and contemplate.

But, for many of us, the physical practice is our way into yoga. The idea of rigorous practice, though, can be off-putting for the complete yoga beginner. Even more so when we discover that yoga “should” be practiced in the very early hours of the morning.

Though the ancient texts on yoga hold much wisdom, it is necessary to consider their application to modern contexts and adapt accordingly.

Understanding the benefits of yoga at bedtime is one way to do that. A regular yoga practice before bed is a great way to establish consistent restful sleep, for example. A few minutes of yoga before bed can result in several hours of sleep that serve to revitalize the body and mind.

This post will look at ten benefits of bedtime yoga applicable especially to busy professionals looking to start a yoga practice.

Jump ahead to…

The benefits of a bedtime yoga routine

We tend to think of a yoga practice as needing to be moving vigorously on the yoga mat for at least an hour. The good news is that a few gentle yoga poses paired with some breathing exercises are just as beneficial at the end of a busy day.

Read on to discover ten wonderful bedtime yoga benefits.

1. Calm the mind

Mental health is at the forefront of our minds (pun intended), perhaps more so thanks to the pandemic. One of the best (in my opinion) and perhaps most easily ascertainable health benefits of bedtime yoga is the impact it has on calming the mind.

Over time, this ability to stay in the present moment on the mat works its way into life off the mat greatly improving our overall quality of life.

2. Improved sleep

Sleep disorders like Insomnia or disturbances caused by sleep apnea have a large impact on both our mental and physical health. Improved sleep means improved immune function.

A well-rounded bedtime yoga class will help to slow down the mind and the body through asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing techniques) so that over time you will begin to feel like you’re getting enough sleep each night.

3. Reduced stress

Bedtime yoga works to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the body’s relaxation response and is necessary to bring the body out of a stress response.

A long-held restorative pose or two after a long day will serve to slow down the heart rate and breathing rate, ensuring you stay relaxed and calm. Over time, you might notice your stress levels reduce gradually.

4. Better flexibility

At the end of the day, our body’s muscles have been sufficiently warmed up, meaning those forward folds (including child’s pose) and sun salutations feel a little more comfortable than they do first thing in the morning.

Bedtime yoga is therefore an effective way to gently increase flexibility, which improves our mobility overall.

5. Better self-care

Perhaps an often-overlooked bedtime yoga benefit is the impact it has on other aspects of our self-care. When we practice yoga we tune into our body’s needs on a level that perhaps we haven’t done so throughout the day. We start to pay attention to what feels good, and what doesn’t.

And we carry those lessons with us off the mat into the rest of our evening. This might look different for different people. For example, you might be more inclined to snuggle down into bed a little earlier, turn off the screens a little sooner, or pair the practice with a skin-care routine that you’ve long been trying to establish.

A woman with a white towel wrapped around her head is applying face cream using a cotton wool pad.

6. Solidified bedtime routine

Similar to a bedtime yoga practice informing your self-care, it might also start to guide your nightly routine. We often hear about the benefits of a morning routine, but a nighttime routine is perhaps just as important. As much as a morning routine is a way of revving us up for the day, the same is true for the end of the day.

We are telling ourselves it’s time to slow down. Including some gentle yoga as part of your nighttime routine helps with that, and we might be more inclined to pair it with other parts of the evening’s activities to help train us to slow down before bed.

7. Improved circulation

The strengthening and stretching that yoga asana (poses) provides means we are increasing blood flow to our muscles, supplying them with more oxygen to keep them healthy.

Pairing movement with deep breathing helps to get the blood flowing again, especially if we have particularly sedentary work days.

8. Improved breathing

Breathing is the most important part of yoga asana. The breath guides the movement, so mindful breathing on the mat followed by a series of bedtime yoga-approved breathing techniques is paramount.

Inhaling and exhaling throughout the nose will over time help to strengthen the tissues and muscles inside the nasal passage. This reduces the occurrence of sleep apnea meaning you will experience fewer episodes of disturbed sleep and thus better sleep quality. Breathing in yoga also helps to increase our lung capacity and strengthen our lungs and diaphragm.

This means that we begin to take longer and deeper breaths, which stimulates the relaxed response. For more information on the science of breathing, check out this post.

9. Lower back pain relief

Bedtime yoga benefits impact the physical body in tangible ways. For example, lower back pain relief. Bedtime yoga utilizes restorative yoga poses including “easy poses” such as child’s pose that serve to release tension in the lower back built up throughout the day. (Child’s pose is not easy for many, hence the quotation marks).

10. Soothed sore muscles

Similar to point 9, muscle tension and joint pain can often be aided through restorative yoga as it doesn’t ask you to over-exert the muscles and joints. Instead, it prepares you to relax, mentally and physically.

One of the best bedtime yoga benefits I can think of is that you don’t have to be sweating it out on the mat to be productive. Being propped up on numerous cushions and pillows to help soothe sore muscles and prepare you for the next day is just as productive in my opinion.

A man in a white tee shirt is sleeping on his side in bed.

A couple of precautions

As always, there are some things to take into account when considering starting a bedtime yoga routine. It its important to be aware of these so that you reap all the bedtime yoga benefits listed above.

1. Choose a slower practice

​When searching for a bedtime yoga class, opt for something that is slow and simple.

You don’t need to do more than a few basic poses to get a good night’s rest. Opting for something intense or vigorous may be counterproductive.

2. Reduce invigorating postures

Some postures in yoga asana stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) which is counterintuitive to better rest.

Avoid doing anything too powerful like deep back bends or intense hip openers. Instead, opt for something slower and more restorative.

The main takeaways

​Bedtime yoga benefits are bountiful. Incorporating a few minutes of yoga into your nightly routine will bring with it numerous positive impacts such as better breathing, better sleep, happier muscles and joints, and healthier self-care choices, among others.

Avoid going all out before bed, and instead focus on slowing down and tuning in. Then, look forward to a good night’s rest. Well deserved, I think.

Until next week, much love

Ellie xx