A good night’s sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. But if you often toss and turn in bed before finally dozing off, stretching may solve your problems. Performing certain stretches before bed can help promote relaxation and better sleep quality by relieving tension throughout your body, allowing it to relax into a deep slumber more easily.
Here are some of the best stretches you should perform before bedtime for maximum benefit.
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8 Best Stretches to Do Before Bed
By incorporating stretches into your nighttime ritual, you can unlock your physical and mental tensions, helping to dramatically lower stress levels. These exercises will aid in restful sleep, and when done before bedtime, they’ll help ensure that you awaken feeling reenergized and prepared for the day ahead! Here are eight simple stretches to add to your end-of-day routine:
Knee to Chest Stretch
This stretch can help you unlock your lower back and become conscious of any pain or unease in your body so that you can release it.
Follow these easy steps to perform this stretch:
- First, lie flat on your back with your head pointing up.
- Take both hands and firmly bring one knee to the top of your chest, embracing tightly for a stretch in the lower back region.
- Keep the other leg leveled out and loose during this exercise.
- Hold for 30 seconds before alternating legs and repeating these steps.
This stretch helps to stretch the spine, loosening up any built-up tension.
- To do this stretch, get onto your hands and knees with your head facing down, back arched, and buttocks tucked in.
- Next, take a deep breath in a while, arching your back upwards like a cat, followed by an exhale while dropping your stomach towards the ground like a cow.
- Continue alternating between these two positions for 1 minute or until you feel relaxed.
This stretch is one of the most calming and soothing, allowing for complete relaxation.
To do the child’s pose:
- Kneel on the ground with your feet spread apart.
- Lower your upper body towards the ground while reaching both hands forward.
- Rest here for 30-60 seconds or until you feel relaxed and tension free.
Standing Quad Stretch
This stretch is great for relieving any leg tension after a long day.
To perform this stretch:
- Stand tall and bring one foot up to your backside, with the knee pointing towards the ground.
- Grasp onto your ankle and gently pull it closer to your body until you feel a slight stretch in the quad region.
- Hold for 30 seconds before alternating sides and repeating this stretch.
This relaxation exercise helps open the hips and ease residue stress or tension.
To do this stretch:
- Lie on your back, positioning yourself close to a wall with your feet flat against it.
- Raise your legs, so they are pointed directly up, and rest here for 10-15 minutes.
This pose helps to stretch the inner thighs and increase flexibility.
To do this pose:
- Sit on the ground with your legs outstretched in front of you.
- Bring both feet together, so they are touching, then place your hands on top of them and press down lightly to intensify the stretch.
- Hold for 30 seconds or until you feel relaxed.
This stretch helps to loosen up the back, hips, and spine muscles.
To do this pose:
- Lie on your back with both knees pointed towards the ceiling.
- Gently drop one leg across the other, twisting them as far as possible without forcing any movement or pain.
- Hold for 30 seconds before switching legs and repeating this exercise.
This exercise helps to stretch and release any tension in the neck.
To do this stretch:
- Sit tall or lie flat on your back with your head facing up.
- Slowly bring one ear towards your shoulder, feeling a gentle stretch in the side of the neck.
- Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides and repeating this stretch.
The Benefits of Stretching Before Bed
Several benefits come with stretching before bed. Let’s explore a few of them here:
Combats Muscle Stiffness
Before you catch some Z’s, take a few moments to stretch and lengthen muscles that were tightened or stressed from the day. An International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy article found that when muscle parts are too tight, it can imbalance your flexibility. To combat this issue, stretching is recommended, as the tension will be evenly distributed throughout joints and other structures.
Reduced Stress Levels
Stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, disrupting your sleep cycle. Taking the time to stretch before bed can help combat this issue by reducing the mental stress your body carries. In addition, stretching is beneficial for those who struggle with anxiety as it alleviates symptoms of distress.
Promotes Blood Circulation
Stretching is an effective technique to improve blood flow in your body. According to a survey, stretching allows for efficient blood circulation and significantly reduces cardiac workload and overall pressure levels among the younger generations. In addition, another research involving rats found that regular stretching increases muscle-related blood flow – particularly beneficial for elderly individuals who don’t often engage in aerobic activities.
Addresses Insomnia Symptoms
Are you struggling to drift off into a peaceful sleep due to insomnia? Then, it’s time for some stretching! Research has shown that incorporating regular stretches can help ease your uncomfortable insomnia symptoms, enabling you to slip into restful nights with much more comfort. Quality slumber is no longer out of reach with the right stretches each night.
Improves REM Sleep
Regular stretching can be an effective antidote to reduce stress and discomfort, leading your body into a peaceful state of relaxation. Research suggests that even simple stretches improve sleep quality for menopausal women who are physically inactive and those practicing yoga and meditative movement. With increased calm comes enhanced restfulness.
Stretching before bed can provide various positive benefits, from reducing stress to helping you drift off into peaceful slumber. However, it’s important to note that stretching should never cause pain or be done too quickly. Instead, make sure your movements are gentle and controlled – slow and steady wins the race! So don’t forget to take a few moments each night to unwind with some stretches; your body will thank you.