In today’s busy and demanding world, many people feel stressed, restless, and physically exhausted at the end of the day. It’s then important to find a balance between work, family, and personal commitments and make self-care a priority to relax before bedtime.
While there are many ways to achieve a good night’s sleep, one often overlooked but important practice is stretching before bed. By including a stretching activity in your evening routine, you can relieve muscle tension, increase flexibility, promote relaxation, improve sleep quality, and enhance overall physical and mental well-being.
This article explores the significance of bedtime stretches, highlighting their benefits, and offering simple and effective stretching exercises to help you unwind and prepare for a rejuvenating night’s sleep.
10 Types of Stretches to Do Before Bedtime
Putting our well-being above everything else, it is important to consider getting a good night’s sleep because it determines how healthy and alert we can be. This not only revitalizes our physical and mental states but also prepares us for the challenges of the upcoming day.
Stretching before bedtime is a highly effective way to enhance the quality of our sleep. In other words, pre-sleep stretches can do a whole lot of good for our overall health.
To optimize your sleep, here are 10 recommended stretches to perform before going to bed. By the way, we just wrote extensively on the importance of stretches before and after workouts. You may want to check it out.
1. Neck stretches: Gently tilt your head towards each shoulder, bringing your ear closer to it. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds on each side. This simple stretch effectively relieves tension in the neck and upper back while enhancing flexibility in the neck muscles.
2. Shoulder Stretches: To perform shoulder stretches, start by clasping your hands behind your back and gently lifting your arms upwards. Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds. This stretching routine helps alleviate tension in the shoulders and upper back.
3. Chest Stretches: To enhance posture and expand the chest, maintain an upright stance and interlock your fingers behind your back. Extend your arms and lift them outward, away from your body. Sustain this position for 15-30 seconds.
4. Spinal Twist Stretches: To perform spinal twist stretches, start by lying on your back and bringing your knees towards your chest. Slowly lower your legs to one side, making sure to keep your shoulders in contact with the surface. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds before switching to the other side. This exercise helps alleviate lower back tension and improves spinal flexibility.
5. Hamstrings Stretches; To improve flexibility in your hamstrings, and lower back and also improve your quality of sleep, you can engage in hamstring stretches. Start by sitting on the edge of your bed and extending one leg forward. Gradually lean forward, aiming to touch your toes. Maintain this position for 15 to 30 seconds before switching legs.
6. Give these hip stretches a try: Start by lying on your back and crossing one ankle over the knee of the opposite leg. Gently use your hands to pull the uncrossed leg towards your chest. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, then switch legs. This stretching routine is great for alleviating tightness in the hips and glute muscles.
7. Calf Stretches: To effectively stretch your calf muscles, stand facing a wall and use it for support. Take a step back with one foot and firmly press its heel onto the floor, making sure to keep the leg straight. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds before switching to the other leg. This stretching routine is great for improving flexibility in both your calves and ankles.
8. Quad Stretches: To effectively do quad stretches, keep your body upright and firmly grasp one ankle with your hand. Slowly bring your heel closer to your buttocks, while ensuring your knees stay close together. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds before switching to the other leg. This stretching routine helps alleviate tension in your quadriceps.
9. Butterfly Stretch: To start the butterfly stretch, position yourself at the edge of your bed. Join the soles of your feet together and grasp your ankles. Gradually exert pressure on your knees, directing them towards the floor. Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds to release tension in the hips and groin area.
10. Child’s Pose: To do the Child’s Pose, begin by kneeling on the bed with your knees apart and toes touching. Slowly lean forward, stretching your arms out in front of you, and place your forehead on the bed. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds. The Child’s Pose helps to relax the body and promotes a sense of calmness.
Try including these stretches into your bedtime routine to experience improved sleep quality and overall well-being. Don’t hesitate to give them a try and see the benefits for yourself.
Remember though to perform them gently and with control, never forcing your body into discomfort or pain. Take slow, deep breaths while stretching to enhance relaxation and promote a calm state of mind.
These stretches simply and effectively prime your body for a restful night’s sleep, guaranteeing you wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
The Best Time to Do Stretches Before Going to Bed
Do you find it difficult to fall asleep at night? Are you frequently restless and unable to find a comfortable position? If these problems resonate with you, doing stretches before going to bed could potentially enhance your sleep quality and overall well-being.
That said, let’s look at the best time options to do stretches before bedtime.
Option1: Immediately before bedtime
Performing your stretching routine right before going to bed is a viable option. This allows you to fully embrace the relaxation and stress-relief benefits of stretching, smoothly transitioning from your stretching routine to your bedtime routine. It is crucial to stick to a gentle stretching activity and steer clear of any intense or stimulating movements that could disrupt your sleep.
As we have outlined above types of stretches that improve sleep quality, engage in stretches that target significant muscle groups like the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs. By performing deliberate and gradual movements that aim to elongate and alleviate tension in these regions, you can effectively relax your body and promote a tranquil night’s rest.
Option2: One to two hours before bedtime
You may also want to think about planning your stretching routine one to two hours before you plan to go to sleep. This gap in time allows your body to relax and your mind to settle, resulting in a night of more restful sleep.
Furthermore, by giving yourself some time between stretching and bedtime, you can participate in other calming activities such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing mindfulness meditation.
If you feel energized by stretching or if you prefer a longer routine before going to bed, this approach can offer significant benefits. Allowing yourself enough time between stretching and going to sleep ensures that your body can gradually unwind and naturally reach a state of relaxation.
Option3: Experiment with both options
Ultimately, choosing the ideal time to do stretches before bedtime is subjective. Every person possesses distinct preferences and responds differently to various routines. If you are unsure about the most suitable option for yourself, it would be advantageous to experiment with both and determine which approach yields favorable results.
You can start by performing a calming stretching routine before going to sleep for a week and observing how it affects your sleep quality. Pay attention to any changes in your ability to fall asleep easily, the duration of your sleep, and your overall satisfaction with it. After that, for another week, try scheduling your stretching sessions one to two hours before bedtime and compare the results you experience.
Do not forget that consistency is key. No matter which option you choose, it is critical to establish a routine and stick to it for a substantial period. This is necessary to effectively assess its effects on your sleep. Observe your body closely and take note of how different durations of stretching affect your sleep patterns. With dedication and effort, you will eventually discover the ideal routine that promotes a night of peaceful and rejuvenating sleep.
Stretches indeed play a very vital role in getting a very good night’s sleep. If you are the type that finds it difficult to fall asleep easily or does not get a refreshing good night’s sleep, then it is about time to consider engaging in the aforementioned types of stretches.