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Do These Simple Stretches Before Bed and Fall Asleep Faster

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Simple Stretches

Here at UpWellness, we talk a lot about how “medicine” does not always come in a bottle that you pick up at the pharmacy. Movement is medicine. Sleep is medicine. And today’s article from my team at UpWellness all about how doing the right movements before bed can actually improve your sleep. That’s the kind of “medication interaction” that we can all support!

-JL

There are a number of natural remedies for insomnia including drinking a warm cup of tea, spritzing your sheets with lavender, taking a warm Epsom salt bath and journaling before bedtime. There is one super simple activity that you can do each evening that will help you fall asleep faster and improve the overall quality of your sleep.

In a 2016 review of numerous studies, researchers found a strong link between meditative movements, including tai chi and yoga and improved sleep. Furthermore, this improved sleep quality was connected to a better overall quality of life.

Why do stretching movements improve sleep?

There are a number of reasons why stretching has a positive impact on sleep quality. First, just the simple act of getting in touch with your body by stretching allows you to focus on your breathing and not the stressors of your day. Being aware of your body helps you to develop mindfulness, which has been shown to encourage better sleep.

Gentle stretching also has physical benefits like helping to ease tension in muscles and prevent cramps that may disrupt sleep.

Top bedtime stretches

Try these gentle movements before bed and sleep like a baby.

Bear Hug

Work the rhomboids and trapezius muscles located in the upper back with this stretch. It helps to reduce shoulder blade discomfort resulting from poor posture, bursitis, and even frozen shoulder.

How to do it

  1. Stand up tall and inhale as you open your arms wide.
  2. Exhale and cross your arms, placing your right arm over your left and your left over your right, giving yourself a big hug.
  3. Use your hands to bring your shoulders forward, breathing deeply.
  4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  5. Inhale, opening your arms back open to release.
  6. Exhale and switch to the left arm on top.

Neck Stretches

A lot of times we carry tension in our necks to bed. Perform these easy movements to let go of this stress.

Tilt and Turn

How to do it

  1. Sitting in a comfortable chair, place your right hand on top of your head.
  2. Slowly bring your right ear towards your right shoulder, hold the position for a count of 5.
  3. Repeat on the opposite side.
  4. Turn to look over your right shoulder keeping the rest of your body facing forward.
  5. Hold for a slow count of 5 and repeat on the other side.

Chin Drop

How to do it

  1. Drop your chin down to your chest and hold for a slow 5 count.
  2. Put back to a neutral position and allow your head to fall back for a slow 5 count
  3. Repeat three times.

Kneeling Lat Stretch

This stretch is a great way to release tension in your muscles, back, and shoulders.

How to do it

  1. Kneel in front of a chair, couch, or low table.
  2. Make sure that your knees are directly under your hips. Put a blanket or cushion for extra support under your knees.
  3. Elongate your spine and hinge at the hips, folding forward, resting your forearms on the surface with your palms facing together.
  4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 3 times.

Child’s Pose

This pose is a resting stretch that’s very similar to a kneeling lat stretch, but a bit more relaxed. This movement also helps to ease tension in your back, shoulders and neck area.

How to do it

  1. Kneel and sit back on your heels.
  2. Hinge forward on your hips to fold forward, resting your forehead on the floor.
  3. Extend your arms out alongside your body. Place a pillow under your thighs or forehead for additional support.
  4. Breathe in deeply
  5. Breathe in deeply while holding the pose.
  6. Hold for about 5 minutes.

Seated Forward Bend

This stretch will loosen up your spine, shoulders, and hamstrings. It is also a great movement to release tension in the lower back.

How to do it

  1. Sit down and place your legs out in front of you.
  2. Lengthen your spine and press your bones into the floor.
  3. Hinge over at the hips, folding forward and reach your arms out in front of you.
  4. Relax your head and tuck your chin down into your chest.
  5. Hold this position for 5 minutes.

Legs on the Wall

This pose will reduce tension in the back, shoulders, and neck while reducing whole body stress.


How to do it

  1. Sit with the right side of your body against a wall.
  2. Lie down on your back and swing your legs into the air and against the wall.
  3. Place your hips against the wall or a few inches away, whichever feels most comfortable. You can also place a cushion under your hips for support and some elevation.
  4. Rest your arms in any comfortable way.
  5. Stay in this pose for up to 10 minutes.

 

Doing these gentle stretches each night before bed will set you up for great slumber!

-The Well Daily Team

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