Stretching is often an overlooked but essential activity before bed. Known to reduce the amount of tossing and turning by helping you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality, it’s also known to slow down the signs of aging, resulting in you looking younger for longer.
If you find yourself falling victim to long days of inactivity by sitting at a desk all day and carrying stress with you to bed, static stretching may be for you. Holding muscles where you experience discomfort and paying attention to your breath forces you in a state of relaxation.
Once your body is in a state of relaxation, you will experience several health benefits. In fact, regular practice shows the body will manage stress well and other positive results to overall health. Here are five simple stretches that will help you improve your sleep.
Start by taking a deep breath in as you open your arms wide. Wrap yourself as if you are hugging yourself and hold the pose for 30 seconds. Exhaling, repeat the movement by switching arms with the opposite arm on top and hold the pose for another 30 seconds.
The bear stretch is terrific for mental self-care and targets the upper back muscles by working with the rhomboids and trapezius. It also reduces any discomfort on the shoulder blades and aches experienced by poor posture or bursitis around the shoulder area.
Starting on your knees, take a seat back on your heels. Ensure your knees are hip-width apart and extend your arms to the front till they lay flat on the ground. Relax your forehead to the ground and hold this position for an extended time, taking deep breaths in and out.
Child’s pose is a resting stretch that relaxes the body and helps get in touch with the breath that is linked to reducing stress. The stretch is useful in soothing pain in the muscles and excellent for relieving tension in the shoulders, neck, and even stretching your back.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Begin by sitting on the floor and bringing the soles of the feet together. Leaning back on your hands, slowly place your head to the ground. Place your arms in any position that feels comfortable and focus on breathing deeply, drawing attention to relaxing the hips and thighs.
The stretch is perfect for those who experience a lot of inactivity in their day, spending most of their time sitting. Reclining bound angle pose acts as a hip opener by reducing any tension in the muscles experienced around the hips and groin area.
In a standing position, place one leg in front of the other, coming into a low lunge. Bring your hands to the ground underneath your shoulders, knee, or facing the ceiling. Breath deeply, focusing on keeping your chest open and spine straight. Repeat on the opposite side.
Opening the chest reduces tension in the shoulders and back. The stretch is perfect for runners or those who sit all day. This pose stretches the hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes. Ensure you do not push yourself too hard while doing this stretch and try to remain relaxed.
Legs up the wall
Begin by placing either side of your body being against a wall. Roll onto your back slowly and lift your legs to extend up against the wall. Using a comfortable distance, place your hips against the wall and breath. You can also set a pillow under the hips for extra support.
Ensure to hold this pose for a longer time as that is when it is most effective. The stretch is restorative; therefore, perfect to end the routine by improving circulation in aching or tired legs, aiding in digestive issues while promoting relaxation.