Stretches to Do Before Bed for Restful Sleep
By Alexis Mills
Along with drinking chamomile tea or diffusing essential oils before bed, there is another simple act you can do to improve your quality of sleep: stretching. By focusing on stretching your body mindfully before bed, you are putting your focus on your body and breath. Doing stretches every night before bed relieves muscle tension to create a more restful sleep. Here are a collection of light stretches to ease your body and mind into sleep.
Wrap your arms around yourself with your hands on your back shoulder as if you are actually giving yourself a hug. While you stand or sit straight, inhale as you open your arms wide and exhale as you cross arms to give yourself the hug. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds while breathing deeply. Once done, do it again with the opposite arm on top. This stretch mainly helps to alleviate shoulder blade pain and discomfort.
To help relieve tension held in your neck, head, and shoulder, try a few different simple neck stretches. First bring your left ear to your left shoulder and hold the position for several breaths before switching to the other side. Another is dropping the chin to your chest slowly to really get a full stretch of the back of your head to the upper spine.
If you have done yoga, then you are familiar with child's pose as a resting stretch that is perfect for relaxing the breath and body. Start by coming down on your knees, then sit back on your heels. Then fold forward, rest your forehead on the floor and reach your hands flat out in front of you; breathe deeply while holding the pose for a few minutes. This stretch relaxes the body while also relieving any tension in back, shoulders, and neck.
You can choose to do a forward fold either seated with your legs out in front of you or while standing and reaching for your toes. Both of these stretched help with the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and lower back.
Legs Up the Wall Pose
This restorative yoga pose is a common position people do while in meditation because it promotes relaxation. Find an open, flat wall and sit on the ground. Scoot your hips to the wall, lay back on the floor with your arms laying at your sides, and swing your legs up against the wall. Your hips don't have to be directly lined up against the wall, start with what feels comfortable to you. For extra support, you can place a pillow under your hips for more elevation. Now relax your body and breathe deeply for up to 10 minutes.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
This is another yoga pose that is a relaxing hip opener to really help your body if you are sitting most of your day. First, sit on the floor and bring your soles together. Then lean back slowly with the support of your arms to fully lay back.
Try any of these relaxing and restorative stretches before bed to give you a more restful sleep and support your body heal itself. Remember for all the stretches to incorporate deep full breaths for full relaxation and effect.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Davie, Fla.