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5 Yoga Poses for The Ultimate Night's Sleep

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News flash: we all love coffee, but there's a difference between casually enjoying a cup of Joe with breakfast in the morning and sprinting to Starbucks because you're certain you won't make it through the day without an immediate caffeine fix.

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Don't let the latter be a regular habit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain and obesity as well as chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardio vascular disease and depression.

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Of course, everyone experiences trouble sleeping on occasion and sometimes your schedule might prevent you from getting the 7-9 hours of quality sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation, but missing that mark on a regular basis puts your overall health and wellbeing at risk.

Because quality sleep is such an important part of maintaining good health, it should be treated as a necessity (like food and water) rather than an indulgence. Your body repairs, re-charges and rejuvenates while you're sleeping; muscles are mended, tissues grow and important hormones are released. When you sleep enough to allow all these processes complete, you'll wake up feeling well-rested.

Struggles with achieving quality sleep on a regular basis aren't uncommon. The CDC says that a quarter of the U.S. population admits to occasionally not getting enough sleep and a recent survey by Gallup revealed that nearly 40% of Americans get less than seven hours a night.

Yet getting to bed on time and sleeping well through the night could be as simple as practicing before bed habits, like yoga, that will relax both the body and mind.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends engaging in calming activities each night before bed and a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who modified their nighttime rituals by including relaxation techniques improved their sleep more than participants who took drugs.

Essentially, it's all about winding down, and several studies have shown that yoga is an extremely effective tool for decreasing stress and anxiety. Not to mention, according to the International Association of Yoga Therapists other health benefits of yoga include increased energy levels, a stronger immune system, and improved mood, just to name a few.

Ready for a better night's sleep? Practice the following 8 poses each night before bed to help melt the day's stress away and ease into a peaceful slumber.

-Katie Rosenbrock, The Active Times

More Content from The Active Times:
13 Tips for Getting a Better Night's Sleep
9 Yoga Poses That Make You Smarter
8 Before Bed Habits for a Better Night's Sleep

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