8 Stretches to help you sleep better
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep is essential for a person's health and well-being. If you are not getting enough sleep, bedtime stretching can help you.
Do you often have trouble sleeping and end up having restless nights followed by sleepy days, day after day? Such a state of existence can do more damage than you think – studies confirm that sleeping troubles lead to health problems such as anxiety, depression, diabetes and congestive heart failure. Therefore, a few stretches can have a calming effect on you and help you sleep better.
Sit cross-legged, place your right hand on your left knee and exhale. Your left hand should be on the bed around the base of the spinal cord. Now gently twist your torso to the left while looking over your left shoulder. Take a deep breath and return to the centre. Repeat the motion on the right side. Do the stretch for 2 minutes.
Sit up on your heels. Bring your upper body forward to rest on the bed in front of knees. Now extend your arms in front of you and hold the pose for 5 seconds and breathe. Go back to the initial position. Do 10 reps.
Lie back and extend your legs up the wall and let your arms rest by your sides. Palms must face up and breathe gently. You will feel the stretch at the back of your legs.
You will need a pillow for sleeping swan stretch which targets neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs. Sit on the floor with the pillow placed in front of you. Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot towards the right inner thigh. Now lift your butt and extend the right leg behind you. Stay centred, hinge slightly forward from the hips and place your head on pillow. With your elbows slightly bent, extend arms forward. Switch legs; repeat.
Happy baby stretch targets the muscles of the back, hips and hamstrings. To do this stretch, you have to lie faceup and your knees should be bent towards chest. Hold the edges of your feet inside with your hands; the palms must be held out. Bring your knees out to either sides and lower them towards the armpits. Keep your heels above the knees and the feet flexed. Hold this position for 7-8 breaths, gently rocking from side to side.
Bridge stretches hips and legs. You have to lie faceup with your knees bent and feet flat. Arms have to be extended out with the palms facing up. With the shoulders down, engage abs and press into heels to lift hips. Hold for 7-8 breaths.
Seated side bend targets neck, shoulders, back and obliques. Sit in a cross-legged position, placing left hand on floor to the side of your hip and slightly bending the left elbow. Lean towards your left but keep your butt on the floor and your shoulders down. Hold this position for 8 to 10 breaths and switch sides. Repeat the motion for a minute.
Rag doll targets neck, shoulders, back and hips. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Keep right hand on your left elbow and left hand on your right elbow. Bend over to bring the upper body down and let your arms and head hang down. Hold this position for 7-8 breaths before rolling back up.
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