Sleep Health

Bedtime Stretching and Relaxation Exercises

Bedtime Stretching and Relaxation Exercises

There are many natural sleep remedies like reading, listening to music, and drinking chamomile tea. Among all these natural ways to induce sleep, we often forget the benefits of bedtime exercises to sleep quickly. Stretching before bedtime winds up your body, helps you to sleep faster, and improves sleep quality.

Sleep Science researchers released a study in 2016, according to which there’s a significant link between meditative movements such as stretching/yoga and better sleep quality. Sleep quality is, in turn, connected with improved physical and mental health for long-lasting life. 

But how does a bedtime stretch routine help in overcoming sleep problems? It’s a mix of things. For example, stretching before bed helps you get in touch with your body by focusing on breathing. It also helps to forget the stresses you’ve been through all day and calms the mind. Your mind becomes aware and concentrates solely on the task at hand, which promotes better sleep. 

Along with promoting better quality and longer sleep, relaxing stretches have many physical benefits too. It helps in relieving muscles tension and preventing cramps that disturb sleep. However, it’s essential to stick with simple stretches before bed and not heavy workouts. Stretching before bed can help to sleep better, but heavy workouts can have the opposite effect. 

Below are some simple stretches to make you sleepy.

  • Bear hug

A bear hug is a simple stretch for your upper back body muscles known as rhomboids and trapezius. The stretch is helpful to alleviate discomfort from the shoulder blades. It also elevates the pain from bursitis, frozen shoulder, or poor posture. 

Steps to do a bear hug stretch:

  1. Stand straight, open your arms wide, and inhale.
  2. Now cross your arms in a position where you hug yourself and exhale. Your left hand should be on your right and your right hand on your left.
  3. Inhale deeply while pulling your shoulder forward using your hands.
  4. Try to hold the stretch in the same position for about 30 seconds.
  5. Inhale deep while opening your arms.

Repeat the process a few more times more as long as you feel comfortable. 

  • Child’s pose

This stretch is one of the most relaxing exercises to promote sleep. A child’s pose is one of the most beneficial stretches in distressing the body after a long day. It also helps to focus on breathing and relaxation of the body. The pose relieves tension and pain from the back, neck, and shoulders.

Steps to do a child’s pose stretch:

  1. Get down to your knees and sit back on your heels.
  2. Get comfortable on your hips, fold your upper body, and stretch your forehead to rest on the floor.
  3. Keep hands on the side of your body on sides or extend them beyond the forehead to support the neck. You can also use a pillow for the knees or forehead to get extra comfort during the stretch.
  4. Try to hold this pose for about 5 minutes for a good stretch. 

However, if you don’t feel like doing it for 5 minutes straight, you can do this stretch in the middle of different stretches to relax your muscles and body. 

  • Neck stretches

Most of us find it difficult to sleep because of our neck positions during sleep. Many US citizens regularly complain about not getting a good sleep because of neck sprains and pain. This is where a neck stretch can help you relieve tension from the head, shoulder, and neck.

Steps to do a neck stretch:

  1. Get into a comfortable chair bringing your right hand near your left ear or at the top of your head.
  2. Now, get your right shoulder near your right ear but be gentle. Keep doing the pose for five deep breaths.
  3. Repeat the same process on the opposite side.
  4. While doing, try to look over the right shoulder, but do not let your body turn.
  5. Hold this pose also for about five deep breaths.
  6. Keep repeating till you feel the tension relieved from your upper body. 

Another way to do a neck stretch is by dropping your chin downwards for five breaths. Get back to the neutral position after five breaths and gently drop again for five deep breaths. 

  • Kneeling lat stretch

Kneeling lat stretch is similar to a child’s pose, but a chair is used instead of leaning forward towards the floor. A kneeling lat stretch helps in relieving pressure, discomfort, and pain from the shoulder and back. 

Step to do kneeling lat stretch:

  1. Get on your knees in front of a chair, low table, or couch.
  2. Make sure that your knees are resting correctly on your hips. For extra comfort, you can rest your knees on a pillow or blanket.
  3. Hinge your hips by lengthening the spine folding forward, and resting your forearms on the chair.
  4. Continue the stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

Repeat the process one to five times while breathing deeply. 

  • Low lunge

A low lunge helps to stretch your hip, groin, and thighs. While stretching, opening your chest also relieves tension and pain from the back and shoulders. Be careful while doing this stretch; keep your body relaxed and push the body beyond its limit.

Steps to do low lunge stretch:

  1. Start by getting into the position with the right knee above the right foot and the left leg extended back with the knee on the floor.
  2. Stretch your hands towards the floor in line with your shoulder or up in the air towards the ceiling.
  3. Take deep breaths when in position and focus on opening your chest and lengthening the spine.
  4. It is easy to understand if you’re doing the stretch right by feeling the energy moving through the crown of your head.
  5. Keep holding the stretch for about five deep breaths.

Repeat the same process with the left leg on the front and right on the back. 

Is It Okay to do Sleep Exercises in Bed?

Most bedtime stretches are performed in bed. For example, you can perform the child’s pose, bear hug, and neck stretch in bed. However, it’s better to perform the low lunge on the floor for better balance. No matter which stretches you’re thinking to do before bed. It’s essential to make sure the mattress supports your body well. 

If you’re not sure whether the mattress in your bedroom is compatible, visit a mattress store like Mancini’s Sleepworld. With so many mattress options available, now you can easily find the perfect mattress. Also, with SleepMatch, finding a mattress is now easier than ever. SleepMatch is a technology that calculates thousands of parameters and provides the ideal companion for you in the form of a mattress. The results are scientific and not humane, making it an advantageous mattress finding option. 

September 27, 2021