It’s something many of us probably overlook and forget to do, but stretching before bed is a simple and easy way to promote a good night’s rest.
“Stretching before bed offers great benefits for sleep, as it can help relax your body and relieve muscle tension,” says Chris Brantner, Certified Sleep Science Coach at SleepZoo.com.
Brantner explains adding stretching to your bedtime routine can help calm you if you focus on your breathing while you do it, thus making it easier to fall asleep.
“[When stretching,] make sure to focus on areas where you hold tension,” Brantner advises. Common areas we hold tension are the neck and shoulders.
“One good stretch to do is the seated side bend,” he says. “Simply sit cross-legged on the floor or your bed, extending your right arm up by your ear. Now lean over to the left, keeping your rear on the floor. Hold this for 10 breaths, then repeat to the other side.”
Wellness professional and yoga instructor Sherrell Moore-Tucker says she always encourages people to stretch before bed if possible.
“Many people lose sleep due to some type of physical discomfort or emotional [or] mental stress, and stretching helps the body to open up and relaxes the mind,” she says. “In just five minutes you can stretch and feel ready for a good night's rest.”
Moore-Tucker suggests this sequence of stretches as a simple way to relax and relieve tension before bed:
- Do neck circles in both directions for 30 seconds.
- Do shoulder rolls forward and back for 30 seconds.
- Do arm circles forward and back for 30 seconds.
- Do hip circles in both directions for 30 seconds.
- Put your hands on your hips and bend forward, side to side, and a gentle bend backwards for one minute.
- Then lay on your back and use a yoga strap or belt to loop around the ball of your foot and straighten your leg, flexing your foot up towards the ceiling while holding onto the strap. Do both sides for 30 seconds each.
- Lastly, lying on your back, begin with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Let both knees fall to the right for a gentle spinal twist, with your arms in a T position as you look in the opposite direction. Then bring your knees back to the centre and let them fall to the left.
Happy stretching! We hope you sleep well!