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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Get Better Sleep by Stretching

By Jen Gage, StretchLab Franchise Owner


If you struggle to fall asleep, you’re not alone. Approximately 50-70 million Americans suffer from insomnia. In today’s fast-paced world, winding down before bed has become increasingly difficult but is essential for a restful night’s sleep.

While many people opt for activities like reading or soaking in a warm bath, another effective way to relax and reduce stress is through gentle stretching. Stress can disrupt sleep by increasing cortisol, making it more difficult to fall and stay asleep throughout the night. As you unwind from a busy day, stretching can also alleviate muscle tension, providing relief from aches and pains that might disrupt your sleep. It also improves blood flow, ensuring vital nutrients and oxygen reach your muscles and joints. This increased circulation aids in muscle recovery. 

Adding the following stretches into your nighttime routine can help you fall asleep faster, improve sleep quality, and avoid sleep-related pain. Remember to go slow and be gentle with your body.


Child’s Pose

This stretch helps you relax while easing tension in your neck and back. To assume this pose, start on your knees and sit back on your heels. Fold your body forward so your forehead is resting on the floor. Reach your arms out in front of you and hold the pose while breathing deeply for a few minutes.

 

Thoracic Cat/Cow Stretch

This stretch can help alleviate tightness in your back. Begin with your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Inhale deeply while arching your back and lifting your chest toward the ceiling. Then, as you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling and tuck your chin to your chest. Repeat this fluid movement for eight to 10 breaths. 

 

Neck Stretch

This stretch can improve stiffness in the neck and can help prevent waking up with soreness. Sit down and take your right hand to the top of your head or to your left ear. Bring your right ear towards your right shoulder, holding this position. Then, repeat on the opposite side.

 

Reclining Bound Angle Pose

This is a hip-opening stretch that can relieve tension in your hips and groin. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together. Lay back so that your back is pressed to the floor and your feet remain in the same position. Hold this pose while breathing deeply for a few minutes.

Incorporating a few gentle stretches into your bedtime routine can help you relax and prepare your body for sleep. These stretches target key muscle groups that commonly hold tension. Spending just a few minutes on gentle stretching before bedtime can help release the tension accumulated throughout the day. This practice not only soothes your mind but also alleviates physical discomfort, which in turn can enhance sleep quality.

So, before you settle in for the night, take a moment to stretch and welcome the tranquility that awaits you.

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