Sometimes, small life changes can make a huge difference in your life. For instance, if you have problems falling asleep or poor sleep quality, doing a few simple stretches, before bed can make a big difference in both. When you improve your sleep, you also improve your overall health. If you don’t experience the complete sleep cycle, it can affect your heart and increase the risk for other health issues.
Start with stretches that relax your shoulders and neck.
A lot of people hold tension in their shoulders, neck and jaw. That tension can interfere with falling asleep or getting good sleep. Stretch those muscles by sitting in a chair with your left hand over your head, touching the right jaw. Gently pull on your head as you bring your left ear closer to your shoulders. Take six slow deep breaths as you do. Repeat on the other side using your right arm to pull your head to the right. Keep your shoulders straight and turn your head to look over first the left shoulder, then the right. Relax and drop your head forward toward your chest and hold, then lift it and lower your head backward.
Relax the lower muscles.
Next relax the shoulders and upper back. Kneel in front of a coffee table or any object that height that allows you to stretch your arms in front. With your hips directly under your hips, place your forearms on the table as you lengthen your spine. You’ll bend at the hips, while you lean forward. Hold your stretched position for a few seconds and then go back to kneeling position with your body upright. Repeat until you feel your back relax.
Achy legs can keep you awake.
This stretch is similar to a low lunge, but you’re using it to relax, so don’t push yourself, but do it slowly and feel each muscle stretch. Start with your hands on the floor directly behind your shoulders, one leg bent with the foot directly below the knee and the other leg extended behind you with the knee touching the floor. Feel the muscles stretch as you breathe deeply, then switch sides, extending the other leg and holding. If you want to stretch the upper body more, raise your hands toward the ceiling while you do it.
- Besides stretching you can improve your sleep by drinking chamomile tea that relaxes you or eat a banana, the minerals like magnesium and other nutrients like tryptophan can help you sleep better.
- Yoga poses can bring relief from tight muscles. The child’s pose is excellent. Kneel on the floor with feet behind you and the tops of the feet on the floor. Sit back with your butt on your calves and bend forward with your belly touching your thighs and hands out in front of you.
- Stretching your back can relax and bring relief from aches and pains. Sit with feet outstretched in a V. Lean forward with your arms reaching toward your toes. If you don’t touch them, don’t push it. You’re doing it to stretch and feel good. It’s not a competition.
- Lay on your back with feet flat on the floor behind your bottom and knees forming an inverted V. As you keep your back to the floor, slowly drop your knees to one side, pause as you breathe deeply, bringing them back to starting position. Then repeat, dropping them to the other side.
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