Stretches for better sleep – CNN

If you’re having trouble sleeping due to mental stress or physical stiffness, a nightly stretching routine is the perfect way to relax and unwind. These stretches are great whether you’re working at a desk all day or are more active.

As a yoga instructor and personal trainer, I’ve combined a few stretches that you might remember from PE class as a kid and might have come across in a yoga class as well. (A regular yoga practice, according to the Sleep Foundation, helps people with insomnia sleep longer, fall back to sleep faster in the middle of the night, and fall asleep faster.)
Each evening stretch will be done with deep breathing. Take a deep breath through your nose. Then exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat this breathing pattern to help you relax and lower your heart rate.

These five simple stretches address different body parts and movements to loosen tight muscles. Each stretch will help calm your nervous system and bring your mind and body into a more restful state. Do each of these exercises for one minute each night before bed.

Important note: Before starting any new exercise program, consult your doctor. Stop immediately if you experience pain.

1. Child’s pose

Soothe a stiff lower back and focus on your breath in this relaxing pose.

On your hands and knees, gently move your hips back so your buttocks reach your heels. Stretch your arms forward and relax your shoulders.

Rest your forehead on the mat or bed and breathe slowly.

2. Seated Forward Fold

Release tension with this stretch that helps relax your upper back, lower back, and hamstrings.

Sit comfortably on your bed or yoga mat with your legs in front of you. Bring your legs together and flex your feet.

Raise your arms towards the ceiling.

Then gently bend forward at the waist and reach your hands toward your feet.

Relax your shoulders and drop your chin toward your chest. Feel a stretch in the back of your legs and in your lower and upper back.

3. Bear hug

This stretch loosens your upper back and reduces pain around your shoulder blades caused by poor posture.

Sitting upright, open your arms to the sides.

Then give yourself a big hug with your right arm over your left. Draw your shoulders forward.

Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with your left arm on top of your right arm.

4. Figure four

This pose helps loosen your hips and outer glutes and reduces tightness in your lower back.

Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the bed or mat.

Cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Reach your arms through your legs to grab the left hamstring.

Pull your legs in toward your chest and flex your right foot.

Repeat on the other side.

5. Twist

Loosen your lower back and reduce uncomfortable bloating in your stomach with this stretch.

Lying on your back, hug your knees to your chest. Then extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height.

Bring your knees to the right and drop them toward the bed or mat. Turn your head to look over your left shoulder. Repeat on the other side.

The best alarm clocks of 2021 (CNN Underlined)

Soothe aches and pains and increase your overall sense of relaxation before falling into a deep sleep by performing this stretching routine. Your mind and body will thank you in the morning!

Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up With Steph” on PBS, is a health and wellness journalist and consultant and weight loss coach for women.

Leave a Comment