Even if you work out daily, you must do stretching before bed to reap additional benefits. Here are some simple stretches that you can try.
There is no specific time for workouts as it is a personal choice. Some people like to workout in the morning while some prefer evening workouts. There is also a third category who likes to work out at night. But even if you have worked out, you must do some simple stretches before bed. This is particularly for people who don’t exercise regularly. This is not just for physical health but also for mental well-being. Bedtime stretching exercises also improve the quality of sleep. So, if you are dealing with sleep troubles, you must try these easy and effective stretches before going to bed.
Is workout before bed good?
This is a myth that you shouldn’t exercise before bed. In fact, experts believe that late workouts help in getting a sound sleep while allowing ample rest time for the body. This not only maintains your circadian rhythm but also increases productivity. Stretching exercises, in particular, makes the mind and body awareness of various situations and conditions. It boosts focus, attention and awareness. This stretching also helps combat physical stressors like muscle tension, cramps, insomnia, to name but a few. Thus, stretching in the night before bed promotes holistic health.
Top 8 Stretches
We have listed down eight stretches for you to do before sleeping.
This is the easiest exercise on this list. Bear hug alleviates shoulder pain by working on trapezius and rhomboids muscles located at the upper back. If you experience shoulder pain due to poor posture or frozen shoulder, you must try this.
- Sit with your back erect and open your arms.
- Cross your arms such that your right arm is placed on the back of your left shoulder and your left arm on the right.
- This would look like you are hugging yourself.
- Try to stretch your arms as much as you can.
- Hold for 30 seconds and then release your arms.
After a tiring day, your neck suffers the most. In order to relieve tension and reduce neck pain, this neck stretching can help. Besides, it also helps with shoulder muscles.
- Sit comfortably on a chair with your spine erect. Bring your left hand over your head and right ear.
- Try to bring your left ear towards the left shoulder.
- Stay in this position for 10 seconds.
- Repeat these steps with the right hand.
- Now, keeping the body facing forward, turn towards your left shoulder.
- Bring your chin down and try to touch your chest with your chin.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds before returning to the neutral position.
Kneeling lat stretch
If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your shoulders and back, doing this stretch would loosen up the muscles. Follow these steps:
- Get into the kneeling position either in front of a chair or low table or a couch.
- Your position should be such that your knees are below your hips. If needed, you can put your knees on a cushion or blanket for support.
- Inhale and lengthen your spine and then rest your forearms on the ground such that your palms are facing each other.
- Stay in this position for a minute and then repeat 2-3 times.
This is a popular yoga asana named balasana. This is a resting stretch which is great to reduce stress and relax the body. This is a relaxing stretch which releases tension from the neck, shoulder and back. It alleviates pain in these areas.
- Kneel down and sit on your heels.
- Bend on your hips in the hinging position and place your forehead on the ground.
- Open your arms and bring them alongside to provide support to your neck.
- For extra support, you can keep a cushion or pillow under your forehead or thighs for additional support.
- Now inhale and hold the pose.
- Feel any tightness or discomfort in your back, neck or shoulders.
- Stay in this posture for 4-5 minutes. This pose is good to provide rest to your body.
This lunge exercise stretches your thighs, hips and groin area. While opening the chest, this stretch releases pain and muscular tension from the shoulders and back. If you cannot do the full stretch, don’t push your body. Just try to do as much as you can easily. Here is how to do this stretch:
- Get into the low lunge position with your left foot under the left knee and extending the right leg backward with your left knee on the ground.
- Place your hands on the ground under the shoulders and your knees should be facing towards the ceiling.
- Take a deep breath open your chest and lengthen your spine.
- Hold this pose for 10 seconds.
- Do the same steps from the opposite side.
Seated forward bend
This is another stretch that would loosen the shoulders, spine and hamstrings. This seated forward bend would also stretch the lower back. Here is the step-by-step process to do this stretch:
- Sit straight with your legs stretched forward.
- Ensure to engage your abdomen and try to lengthen the spine.
- Press your sit bones into the floor and fold forward while hinging at your hips.
- Try to reach out your arms that are extended in front.
- Now, relax your head and press your chin to your chest.
- Stay in this position for 5-6 minutes and repeat 2-3 times.
This is another easy and interesting stretching exercise that helps in restoring muscle strength while releasing tension from the neck, back and shoulders.
- Sit against a wall and keep your spine straight.
- Now, lie down on your back and extend your legs upwards against the wall.
- You can either sit a few inches away from the wall or be up against the wall for support.
- You should be comfortable in the position that you are sitting in.
- If required, you can place a cushion or blanket under your hips.
- Ensure that your hips shouldn’t feel burdened.
- Rest your arms such that you are comfortable.
- Stay in this position for 5-10 minutes.
Reclining bound angle pose
This stretch is a hip-opening exercise that can release the tension in muscles in your groin and hips. This is particularly great for people who have a sitting job. This causes strain in their hips which can be relieved with stretching. Follow these steps to do this stretch:
- Sit on the bed or ground with a straight spine.
- Join the soles of your feet.
- Lean on your hands and try to bring your head, neck and back to the floor.
- If you are feeling discomfort, you can place a pillow under your head and knees for support.
- Breathe in and relax your thighs and hips.
- Stay in this pose for 8-10 minutes.
If you are in a sitting job or doing work from home, you must make it a habit to do these stretching exercises before bed. These help in releasing strain & tension from the muscles. Just 30 minutes of stretching before sleeping can aid most physical and mental issues.
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