Are you struggling to unwind and relax before bed? You’re not alone.
Studies show that chronic sleep difficulties can cause daytime functional impairment, which will leave you feeling sluggish, drowsy, and ultimately tired throughout the day.
But, did you know that stretching before bed can help you to sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day? Stretching before bed helps to release the tension that builds up in your muscles throughout the day. Focused, gentle stretching combined with controlled breathing techniques can clear your head, slow your heart rate, and prepare you physically and mentally for sleep.
How Do I Fall Asleep Quickly?
A short yoga routine consisting of stretches before bed can relieve tension, boost your circulation, and make it easier for you to doze off. And, don’t worry—you don’t have to be flexible to try yoga. The benefits of yoga extend beyond just sleep.
Consistent Yoga Practice Can:
- Enhance Your Muscle Tone and Core Strength
- Boost Your Cardio and Circulatory Health
- Improve Your Digestion and Metabolism
- Prevent Injuries
- Reduce Stress
Simple Stretches Before Bed to Add to Your Nightly Routine
Start your bedtime routine with some simple stretches that will loosen stiff joints and get you mentally prepared for bed. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and follow the same routine, so that your mind associates the stretches with bedtime, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
Some Effective Stretches Before Bed Include:
Knee to Chest
Lay flat on your back, bend one leg up, and cup your hands on your knee. Bring your knee up towards your chest as far as you can. Hold for a count of ten and then release. Repeat the stretch with the other leg. This stretch is great if you have a tight lower back or if you suffer from restless legs and struggle to sleep as a result.
Sit cross-legged, extend one arm up above your head. Put the other hand on the floor and lean over to that side while keeping your arm raised. Imagine you are bending sideways to make the letter ‘c’ with your arms. You should feel this stretch in your spine and your obliques. As you feel the tension in your core melt away, you should find it easier to drift off to dreamland.
Sit down with your legs out in front of you. Bring the soles of your feet together and pull your feet in to your body as close as you can. Try to keep an upright posture while doing this stretch. To deepen the stretch, flare your knees outwards as if you’re trying to push them to the floor. The longer you spend in this pose, the deeper you’ll be able to go with the stretch. Sitting in quiet contemplation in this yogi pose is a good way to reflect on the day, mentally plan for the following day, and prepare yourself to sleep. If you’re someone who tends to worry a lot before bed, use this time to “put your worries to rest.” As your body relaxes, your mind will too.
Lay flat on your back with your arms stretched out away from your sides. Bend one leg and cross it over your body, allowing the inside of your knee to touch the floor. If you’re able to do so, turn your head to the opposite side for a deeper stretch. Hold for a count of ten, then repeat using the other leg. This stretch is perfect if you spend a lot of time hunched over your keyboard. It is common for office workers to experience tension in their neck and shoulders, leading to headaches, stress, aches, and pains. Releasing that tension will make it easier to get comfortable and get a good night’s sleep.
Lay down on your side with your legs against the nearest wall, and then roll onto your back so that your legs are pointing up towards the sky. Relax and let the tension flow out of your body. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes. If you find that it’s uncomfortable laying on the floor, put a pillow under your hips for comfort. Try to breathe deeply and let the tension flow out of your mind and body. As your heart rate slows and your body relaxes, you should find that you feel ready to fall asleep.
Kneel on your hands and knees. From there, sit back onto your heels and extend your arms. Your knees should be around hip-width apart. Reach your hands forward until you’re almost completely flat on the floor, and relax until your head touches the floor. If you feel that your shoulders are tight, relax and put your arms to your sides instead. This should be a gentle movement and not one that involves stretching to the point of pain.
This is a classic yoga pose that is good for elongating the spine, promoting deep breathing, and releasing tension. It’s a relaxing, gentle movement that gets you into the right frame of mind to fall asleep.
Following a regular routine of bedtime stretches can help you quickly and easily fall asleep. Taking 15 minutes out of your evening to stretch can extend your sleep period, lead to productive sleep, and improve your productivity during the day.
Try incorporating these stretches before bed to your nighttime routine, and let us know how your sleep quality has improved.
Taylor has seen sleep apnea treatment first-hand and has learned the ins and outs through formal training in CPAP machines, masks, and equipment. She strives to make learning about sleep apnea and sleep apnea therapies a breeze. Interested in sharing your story or have a topic you’d like CPAP.com to investigate? Contact us!