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Early morning yoga is energizing, refreshing, and sets the tone for a well-centered day. It can help motivate you to get out of bed and help you work out any stiffness that may have developed in your sleep. Plus, you can get it done early so you don’t have to worry about squeezing in a yoga routine if the day gets away from you.
However, an early morning yoga routine can be difficult to get up for if you’re not getting enough sleep at night. While yoga at any time of day can be beneficial for sleep, you shouldn’t sacrifice sleep so that you can do yoga. Adequate sleep is necessary for health and well being, and no yoga practice can make up for missing a good night’s sleep.
Although it can be tough to get up early for yoga, early morning yoga practice can be done without sacrificing sleep. Making sleep a priority, practicing good sleep hygiene, and planning ahead can help you get the rest you need while giving yourself time to enjoy an early morning yoga session.
Maintain a healthy bedtime routine. A good morning starts with a good night. Healthy sleep hygiene includes maintaining a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine, and avoiding pitfalls that can interfere with sleep. You should avoid screen time before bed, as well as caffeine, alcohol, and intense exercise in the hours before you go to sleep.
Start yoga in bed. Early morning yoga doesn’t have to mean getting out of bed. Yoga can be practiced in the morning as you’re waking up and preparing to get out of bed. Consider simple poses that can be done in bed (and consider how movements might disturb sleeping partners if you have a mattress that’s prone to movement). You can continue when you get up out of bed if you’d like.
Give yourself enough time to sleep. Make bedtime a priority. If you know you want to wake up early for yoga, that means you’ll need to get to bed early, too. Prioritize sleep time so that you’ll be well rested and prepared for an early morning yoga session, rather than struggling to wake up and get going with your exercise.
Prepare to practice yoga the night before. Save time in the morning by packing your bag or setting out your mat so there’s one thing less to do in the morning before you get started. Preparing the night before can also help you get in the mindset that you need to go to sleep on time so you’ll be able to practice in the morning.
Do it even if you’re tired. Yoga can be energizing, and if you do it in the morning it may help you feel better after a night when you don’t get enough sleep. Making yoga a part of your morning routine even when you’re tired promotes consistency, although you shouldn’t make it a habit if you’re chronically unable to wake up on time. Try a softer style of yoga practice on mornings when you may be short on sleep so you’re not pushing yourself or risking injury.
Alicia Sanchez is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com with a specialty in health and wellness. A Nashville native, Alicia finds the sound of summer storms so soothing that she still sleeps with recorded rain on her white noise machine.