Tossing and turning? Fall asleep faster with these 3 stretches

Are you a sound sleeper? We’ve all experienced the agony of a sleepless night. Rather than setting sail for your scheduled destination of La-la Land, you spend the entire evening tossing and turning in a sea of sweltering hot sheets, trying to calm your overactive brain.

Many Americans struggle with some form of a sleep disorder, making it nearly impossible to achieve the recommended eight hours of rest each night. This is a health hazard because without sufficient slumber, the body cannot function properly.

If counting sheep isn’t working, don’t cry yourself to sleep. Try these yoga-inspired, sleep-inducing exercises instead. All you need is your mattress and two pillows.  (Practice the following stretches within an hour of your bedtime.)

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose

  • Place your pillow against the headboard.

  • Carefully lie down on the pillow, positioning your hips and upper thighs on the cushion. Extend the legs up onto the wall so the feet are aligned above the hips. Allow your arms to rest comfortably at your sides, palms up.

  • Take a deep breath through the nostrils, filling the abdomen with air. Hold for two counts then exhale fully. When you are ready to leave this position simply bring the knees in toward the chest and roll over to the side.

Supported Reclining Twist

  • Begin in a supine position with a pillow propped behind your head and the knees bent at a 90 degree angle.

  • Place a pillow between your legs so the knees are supported and slowly rotate at the hips to lower the legs to the right side of the body.

  • Extend your arms out to shoulder height, relax your hands palm side up and gently turn your head to the left until you feel a slight stretch in your neck. Remain in this position for as long as you’d like. When ready, repeat these steps on the opposite side.

Wind-Relieving Pose

  • Remain on your back with your legs and arms extended straight.

  • Press your lower back into the mattress as you slowly bend at the right knee, lacing your fingers around your shin and pulling the leg in toward the right side of the chest, close to the armpit. Keep the left leg fully extended. For those with lower back discomfort and flexibility limitations, support the spine by bending the left leg so the left foot is flat against the mattress.

  • Breathe deeply. Let the abdomen rise fully on your inhale and hollow out completely on the exhale. When ready, perform this stretch on the left leg.

With the right set of stretches, you can finally put yourself to sleep.

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