A good stretch as part of your bed time routine can help you sleep better. Stretching can help relieve tension that builds up in your muscles throughout the day and improve circulation. Stretching can be very effective during times of tension and stress where you can, carry the stress in your muscles and often end up in positions of poor posture for extended periods adding to muscle tension. All of this can make for disturbed sleep, less effective circulation to your muscles at a time when they should be undergoing repair and need blood with all its nutrients.
So here are some stretches to try before you go to bed, we’re aiming to stretch the whole body and relax the mind here.
NOTE: Remember to focus on deep slow breaths while doing these poses. Make the movements slow and controlled and you will find your mind will slow as you breathe slower. Deep slow breaths are also a cue for the body to relax. You will likely feel some stretching sensations in your muscles and around some joints. Do not push the stretches to the point where you feel pain. If you do feel pain release the stretch to a point where you do not feel pain or stop the stretch entirely. If the pain persists seek medical advice.
These stretches are meant for relaxation and stress relief. Over stretching will likely create a pain response in your muscles and body, creating more tension, not less.
- Child’s Pose
Modifier for beginners: rest your torso on your thighs
- Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit back on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
- Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs.
- Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and relax the front of your shoulders toward the floor. You should feel the back of shoulders open up.
- Inhale as you come up out of the pose, lifting your torso to sitting back on your feet.
- Low Lunge
Hold: 1 min each side
Modifier for beginners: use a block or some other support to raise the level your rest your hands at.
- From sanding position, bend forward from hips, placing hands on the ground in front of your feet, slowly walk them forward (bending knees slightly if needed).
- Bring your left foot forward, between your hands, lower your right knee to the ground.
- Slowly move back to position at the end of step 1. Repeat on the other side.
- Locust Pose
Hold: 1 min
- Lay flat on the floor, on your belly.
- Clasp your hands behind your back. Exhale and root the tops of your feet into the floor.
- Inhale as you lift your chest and arms. Gaze forward.
- To come out, gently release your hands and exhale, lowering your chest to the floor.
- Bound Angle
Hold: 1 – 5 mins
Modifier for beginners: place a folded blanket under the hip bones or under the knees if tight in the hips.
Caution: if you have knee problems or have had knee surgery, do no do this stretch
- Sit with your legs straight out in front of you, raising your pelvis on a blanket if your hips or groins are tight.
- Exhale, bend your knees, pull your heels toward you on the ground. Drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together. Never force your knees down.
- Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as you comfortably can.
- Keep the outer edges of the feet firmly on the floor. With each hand, hold the same side ankle.
- Reach the crown of the head up toward the ceiling. Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest towards the front. Press the knees down towards the floor to open the hips.
- Keeping the back flat and the chest open, exhale and gently pull your torso forward.
- Corpse Pose
Hold: 4 mins
- Lie on your back, letting your legs and arms relax.
- Bring your attention to your breath.
- To come out of the pose, draw your knees in toward your chest. Roll on to you side and get up slowly.