When it comes to a good night’s rest, we often reach for over the counter medication and herbal teas to try and lull ourselves to sleep. However, this is not the only option. Stretching before bed has been found to have a relaxing effect and can have you in dreamland in no time.
So, why does stretching have such a positive effect on your sleep pattern? Well, for starters, you focus on your breathing and stretching your body. This promotes mindfulness which in turn promotes better sleep.
In addition to this, there are also the physical benefits that come with stretching. Stretching can relieve muscle tension and reduce cramping while sleeping. It’s important to stick to simple stretches and not intense workouts, as this will have the opposite effect.
Five stretches for a better night’s sleep
We have found a few simple stretches to try before bed. You can alter them to suit the needs of your body or leave them out completely if it causes discomfort. This new bedtime process is aimed at relaxing you and not overexerting yourself by performing strenuous exercises.
Bear Hug: Standing upright, inhale deeply and as you do open your arms out. Exhale and then cross your arms in front of you, as if you’re hugging yourself. Hold for 30 seconds and then release.
Kneeling Lat Stretch: Kneel in front of your bed or a chair. Slowly bend forward and rest your forearms on the bed or chair, palms facing one another. Hold for 30 seconds and then release. Repeat if necessary.
Child’s Pose: Begin in a kneeling posture with your bum resting on your heels. Slowly bend forward and let your forehead touch the floor. Place your arms out before you and focus on your breathing. Hold for 5 minutes and then release.
Low Lunge: Step forwards with your left leg and as you do bring your right knee to the floor. Keep your arms alongside you with hands touching the floor if possible. Hold for five breaths and then release. Repeat on the opposite side.
Legs-up-the-wall: Sorry, mom, feet will be going on the wall for this one! Position yourself against the wall so that your back is on the ground while your bum and legs are pushed firmly against the wall. Hold for 10 minutes and then release.
You will notice that these stretches are based on holding in a relaxed position for an increased amount of time as opposed to completing reps. This is because your body needs to be calmed and your mind quieted. These stretches act like meditation to still all the stressors keeping you up at night.
When performing these stretches, be sure to find a quiet, open space that gives you the freedom to relax and find a sense of calm. While this is not always possible, it will assist in relaxing you and getting your ready for a good night’s rest.
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