After a full day of meetings, running around after kids, and after-hour activities, sleep should come naturally right?
In between deadlines, organising a busy household, and countless cups of coffee, we’re usually more than ready to slip under the covers and sink into a blissful slumber come 10 P.M.
But when it's finally time to hit the sack, why does it become impossible to switch off and relax? Well, your stiff and aching muscles might be the cause of your sleeping woes. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution: stretching.
Besides being a satisfying post-workout ritual, stretching is the perfect way to unwind. Not only does stretching increase flexibility and soothe your neuromuscular system, but it also prepares your body for quality sleep. And as we’ve said before, sleep is the ultimate beauty remedy.
Read on for five sleep-inducing stretches to add to your nightly routine.
Start on your hands and knees, and spread your knees far apart while keeping your big toes touching. Gently fall back until you’re resting on heels. Bring your arms forward with your palms facing down, let your forehead drop to the ground and inhale deeply.
Focus your attention towards lengthening and softening your back and allow the tension in your body to drain away. Hold this pose for a minute or so, breathing softly.
To start this detoxifying pose, lie down and pull your knees close to your chest. Extend your left leg out and your right arm out at shoulder height. Draw your right knee over to the left until your right hip is stacked directly over your left hip. Make sure your right upper thigh is in line with your hip.
Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
This stretch is perfect for opening up your chest, which helps to relieve tension and prepare your body for dreamland. During the pose, try to stay relaxed and avoid pushing yourself too far.
Begin on your hands and knees. Step your right foot outside of your right hand and slide your left foot back into a low lunge, until you feel a comfortable stretch. Breathe deeply and lift your chest up. Hold this stretch for a minute and switch sides.
It might sound a little odd, but this simple stretch is a great way to drain tension from your entire body and promote a deep sense of relaxation.
For this stretch, bring along a comfy blanket or yoga mat and place it close to the wall. Make sure the wall you’re planning to use is clean and clutter-free. Gently lie down and extend your legs straight up the wall. If you need extra support or elevation, feel free to place a blanket underneath your lower back.
Rest your arms in a comfortable position and hold this pose for a few minutes or longer.
This isn’t exactly a typical stretch per se, but it’s an essential bedtime ritual for anyone seeking to de-stress and relax their muscles before sleep.
Also known as the Corpse Pose, begin this stretch by setting a timer for two or five minutes (make sure it’s not your usual morning drill alarm) and lie flat on your back with your limbs comfortably stretched out. Then, rest. By lying on your back, you give your muscles the chance to release the long-held tension they’ve been carrying throughout your day.
There are so many beneficial reasons to take up nightly stretching, but the best thing of all? You don’t have to devote an entire evening to it. In fact, all it takes is a few minutes of intentional movement to help soothe your racing mind, promote relaxation and prepare your body for a great night’s sleep. Allowing you to wake up feeling fresher (and more limber) than ever before!