Stretch before sleep: 8 must-do stretches before going to bed

Published on: 15 February 2022, 19:00 pm IST

If you feel absolutely tired and sore by the end of a workday, improve your quality of sleep by doing these stretches.

stretching exercises
Stretching your body before hitting the sack promises several benefits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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How many times have you felt your body sore after a long day at work? Almost always, right? Do you think it impacts your quality of sleep in some way or the other? Of course, it does. That’s why it is important to shake up your body, get the blood flowing, and relax. Only then will you truly de-stress and get a good night’s sleep!

Unfortunately, most of us do not realize the importance of stretching. Stretching your body includes various benefits — it prevents injury, slows down aging, and improves circulation. A 2015 study that included 16 men found that a 4-week static stretching program improved their blood vessel function.

And guess what doing it before bed also yields fantastic results! As per a 2014 study that included 20 young adult males, static stretching helps to activate the
the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your body’s rest and digestive functions.

Here are some stretching exercises that can help improve your quality of sleep:

1. Bear hug

This stretch helps to relax your upper back, and at the same time, improves posture, and alleviates conditions like frozen shoulder.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Stand straight, and inhale, as you open your arms out wide.
2. Exhale as you cross your arms.
3. Put your right arm over your left, and your left one over your right, as if you are giving yourself a hug.
4. Take in a deep breath, as you use your hands to draw your shoulders forward.
5. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
6. Release by inhaling and open your arms towards the back.
7. Exhale and repeat.

2. Neck stretches

We end up sitting on our desks for far too long. These neck stretches will help to alleviate any stress that is caused by such postures.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Sit in a comfortable chair. Take your right hand to the top of your head or to your left ear.
2. Next, bring your right ear towards the shoulder on the same side, and try to hold this position.
3. Do the same on the opposite side.
4. Look over your right shoulder, and make sure the rest of the body faces forward.
5. Hold this position for a while.

neck stretch
A neck stretch is most relaxing! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Kneeling lat stretch

This stretch is particularly helpful for those who experience any discomfort in their back or shoulders, and it gets affected by quality of sleep.

Here’s how to do it:
1. First, get into a kneeling position, and make sure your knees are under your hips.
2. Stretch your spine, as you hinge at the hips. Come forward, and rest your forearms on the surface, making sure your palms are facing together.
3. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
4. Repeat a few times.

4. Child’s pose

This child’s pose stretch helps to relax your body, and releases tension in your back, shoulders, and neck.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Kneel on the floor, and sit back on your heels.
2. With the help of your hips, come forward and rest your forehead on the floor.
3. Extend your arms in front of you, so as to support your neck.
4. Inhale deeply, while holding the pose.
5. Hold this pose for about 5 minutes.

5. Low lunge

As the name suggests, this stretch helps to eliminate any discomfort in your hips, thighs, and the groin.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Come into a low lunge, in a way that your right foot is below your right knee and your left leg is extended back.
2. Bring your hands to the floor, making sure they are beneath your shoulders, on your knees, or up toward the ceiling.
3. Take a deep breath and focus on stretching your spine, and opening your chest.
4. Hold this pose for five breaths, and then start over on the opposite side.
6. Seated forward bend
This stretch helps to relieve tension from your spine, shoulders, and hamstrings.
Here’s how to do the stretch:
1. Sit down with your legs extended in front of you.
2. Engage your abdominal area and lengthen your spine.
3. Hinge at your hips to fold forward, reaching out your arms in front of you.
4. Relax your head.
5. Hold this pose for up to 5 minutes.

Leg up the wall
Put your legs up on the wall, and sleep better later. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. Legs up the wall pose

This legs up the wall pose is a one-of-a-kind, and helps to loosen the back, shoulder and neck muscles.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Sit on your right side against a wall.
2. Lie on your back, and swing your legs up against a wall.
3. Rest your arms in any comfortable position.
4. Stay in this position for 10 minutes.

8. Reclining bound angle pose

This stretch helps to open up your hips, and relieves tension in your hips and groin.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together.
2. Using your hands, lean back and bring your back, neck, and head to the floor.
3. Your arms can be in any position that’s comfortable for you.
4. Relax your hips and thighs, as you breathe deeply.
5. Stay in this pose for up to 10 minutes.

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.

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