Why should I stretch before bed?
Stretching eases muscle tension, improves circulation and prevents muscle stiffness by keeping your muscles flexible. Stretching can assist your transition to sleep by relieving tension and stress. It is especially beneficial for stiffness and soreness caused from sitting at work for prolonged periods of time, vigorous workouts and other normal activities of daily life which lead to wear and tear of the body. By setting aside 5 to 10 minutes each day to stretch before you sleep, you are helping your mind and body prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Standing Forward Fold
Instructions: Stand with your feet slightly shorter than hip distance apart. From the hips, fold forward and reach towards the ground. You can also hold onto your opposite elbows if this is more comfortable than reaching for the ground. Let your head relax and fall forward. You can sway slightly by rocking your body back and forth to relieve tension. Hold for approximately 15 seconds. This stretch should relieve tension in your back and neck.
Up The Wall
Instructions: Begin in a seated position facing the wall. Move your buttocks as close to the wall as possible while lifting your legs up and pressing them against the wall. Your legs should be perpendicular to the ground. This stretch will relieve tension in your glutes and hamstrings.
Seated Forward Fold
Instructions: Sit on the ground with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Keep your feet flexed. Bend forward from your hips and reach for your toes with your hands. Hold for at least 15 seconds. Relieves tension in the hamstrings and calves.
Instructions: Lie on your back. Bend your knees and lift your legs while keeping your feet flexed towards the ceiling. Grab the outside of both feet and continue bending your knees towards your armpits. Rock your body from the left to right to massage the spine. Hold for at least 20 seconds. Relieves tension in the spine, groin and hips.
Instructions: Lie on your back with your legs extended in front of you. Raise your left leg up towards the ceiling. Bend your right leg, knee facing outwards and rest your ankle along the left quad. Place your hands behind the left knee and pull the left leg towards your body. Hold for at least 15 seconds and alternate legs. Relieves tension in hips, glutes and lower back.
Instructions: Lie down, legs spaced hip distance apart. Rest your arms at your sides with your palms facing up. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Try and take deep, full, slow breaths. Hold in this position for as long as you like.
Images from: http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/7-yoga-stretches-help-you-fall-asleep-fast
Author: Claire Ford, BA (Hons)
Clinical Receptionist | Social Media Rep | Toronto Health & Fitness Advocate