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4 simple stretching exercises for better sleep

Improve your sleep with 4 simple stretches before bed

In today's fast-paced world, it seems like getting enough sleep is more elusive than ever. From work-related stress to excessive screen time, various factors can affect your sleep quality. Luckily, you can add a few simple stretches to your nightly routine to relax your body, calm your mind, and prepare for a night of restful, soothing sleep.

How does stretching before bed help?

Research suggests that doing some stretching exercises before bed can have a positive impact on sleep quality. Gentle stretching before bed helps relieve physical tension that has accumulated throughout the day. This physical relaxation, combined with focused breathing and mindful movements, signals your body that it is time to relax and prepare for sleep. Stretching also helps reduce stress, promote blood circulation, and relieve muscle stiffness or discomfort, all of which can contribute to a restful sleep.

The benefits of stretching before bed

  • Calms the mind: Bedtime stretches that incorporate deep breathing and mindfulness can help calm racing thoughts, reduce stress, and promote relaxation.
  • Promotes Muscle Relaxation: Stretching before bed helps relieve tension from tight muscles, promotes relaxation and reduces muscle soreness that could disrupt your sleep.
  • Improves Flexibility: Regular stretching improves flexibility and helps increase your range of motion, especially in your joints, which can reduce the risk of stiffness in the morning and promote joint health over time.

1. Child's Pose (Balasana)


Child's Pose, also known as Balasana, is a calming and restorative yoga position that gently stretches the back, hips, and shoulders, promoting relaxation and relieving tension in these areas. By incorporating Child's Pose into your nighttime routine, you can focus on your breathing, reduce stress, and create a sense of calm.

This is how you do this stretch:

  • Start on your hands and knees with your knees wider apart than hip-width.
  • Sit on your heels as you extend your arms forward and lower your forehead to the floor.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply and focus on relaxing your body. Hold the position for 1-2 minutes.

2. Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)


Cat Pose and Cow Pose, also known as Marjaryasana and Bitilasana, are two interrelated positions that can effectively relieve tension in the neck, shoulders and back, especially those caused by sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time during the day. When combined, cat-cow poses can help release tension and relieve muscle stiffness, helping you relax and recover as you prepare for bed.

This is how you do this stretch:

  • Begin cat pose by kneeling on the floor and placing your hands shoulder-width apart, reaching forward.
  • Press into your hands and anchor yourself to the floor.
  • Begin by arching your back upward, pulling your head between your shoulders and creating a gentle stretch in your spine.
  • Continue arching your back as you draw in your stomach and lengthen your entire spine.
  • Gradually lower your back to return your spine to a neutral position while maintaining a relaxed and comfortable posture.
  • Press into your hands and slowly and controlledly roll your shoulders up and back, lowering your stomach to create a scoop-like shape in your spine.
  • As your spine tilts into cow pose, gently lift your neck and head and stretch the front of your neck.
  • Slowly lift your back to return your spine to a neutral position, maintaining a feeling of lightness and relaxation.

3. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)


The standing forward bend, also known as Uttanasana, can be a valuable addition to your nighttime routine as it promotes relaxation and helps calm your mind. This gentle forward bend relaxes your back, thighs, and neck, preparing your body for deep, restful sleep.

This is how you do this stretch:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly bend forward from your hips.
  • Let your upper body hang loosely while your hands reach the floor or grasp each other.
  • Relax your neck and let your head hang heavily. Take a deep breath and hold the position for 1-2 minutes.

4. Seated Back Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)


The seated supine twist, or Ardha Matsyendrasana, can be extremely beneficial for promoting relaxation and preparing your mind and body for bed. This gentle twist helps relieve tension in the spine, hips, and shoulders, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation that can contribute to a restful sleep.

This is how you do this stretch:

  • Sit on the edge of your bed with your legs stretched out.
  • Bend your right knee and cross it over your left leg, placing your foot on the floor.
  • Rotate your torso to the right and place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee.
  • Gently turn your head to look over your right shoulder.
  • Take a deep breath and feel the stretch in your spine. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat on the other side.

Sweet dreams

Incorporating these bedtime stretches into your nightly routine can have a profound impact on your sleep quality. By devoting a few minutes each day to these gentle stretches, you can relieve tension, promote relaxation, and prepare your body and mind for a restful sleep.

Need music for yoga stretches before bed for your nightly routine? Check out this " Relaxation Music Gorilla Healthy " video from Gorilla Healthy to prepare your mind and body for sleep!

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