When it comes to natural sleep remedies, there are almost too many to count. From dropping lavender essential oil under your pillow to engaging in 4-7-8 breathing, the remedies to lull you asleep never end. People are so focused on drinking chamomile tea or taking CBD drops that they often forget one of the simplest solutions: stretching.
As you well know, there’s nothing like a good stretch. At the end of a long sedentary day, you have to elongate those muscles to help release built-up tension. If you don’t do that, one of the most common symptoms is restlessness or an inability to relax. The reason this happens is because your muscles have not received proper circulation or activation throughout the day. That makes it difficult for the body to get comfortable and fall asleep, no matter how tired you may be.
That’s why it’s beneficial to stretch before you hit the hay. In fact, a 2016 review of studies linked meditative stretching movements to better sleep quality. When you are able to improve your sleep, the body functions better overall. Engage in the following stretches before bed to promote mindfulness and healthier sleep.
Lying “T” Twist
Beneficial for the thoracic spine, or upper back, this stretch helps to open up the spine and elongate the gluteus muscles. Anyone with tight hips or tight low back can benefit. Simply lie on your right side with your legs bent and knees stacked on top of each other. Extend your arms out and stack them on top of each other. Open your left arm across the body and rotate the upper body and head to the left as you open. Hold this “T” position for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat five times and then switch sides.
Thread The Needle
This stretch helps to lengthen the deltoid muscle and works to stretch the lats. Start on all fours in a tabletop position, shoulder stacked above your hands and hips above your knees. In a fluid motion, reach your right arm across the body and under your left arm, bringing your right temple to the floor. You should feel a stretch in the rear shoulder and lat as you perform this stretch. Remain here for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Single Knee To Chest
People hold a lot of tension in their hips, which triggers low back pain. Release that tension with this simple stretch. Lie on your back with your legs fully extended. Bend your right leg and draw your knee to your chest, keeping your left leg straight. Grab the right knee to pull it towards your chest, but keep the lower back on the floor. If you can’t bring the knee all the way to your chest without lifting the lower back, that’s completely fine. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.
When the obliques are tight, it can be difficult to get comfortable when it’s time to go to sleep. This stretch can help you stretch your sides, which don’t typically receive a lot of attention. Sit down in a cross-legged position and keep your back straight. Extend your left arm above your head and lean to your right side, placing your right hand on the ground for support. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
The hip flexors are often the most neglected areas of the body when it comes to stretching. If you sit for eight hours a day, chances are that you carry a lot of tension in those hip flexors (the front of your hips). To do this stretch, stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart. Step your right foot forward and bend your knees to drop into a low lunge. Place your hands on either side of your right foot and drop your left knee to the ground. Breathe deeply and keep your hips in line with the floor; you don’t want to be twisted in this position. Feel the stretch in the front of the left hip and quadricep. If you feel so inclined, straighten your back and lift your hands overhead, or simply remain here for five deep breaths before repeating on the opposite leg.