Are you waking up tired, sore, and stiff in the morning? Do you slowly hobble to the kitchen to make your coffee in the morning?
Believe it or not, you may benefit from doing simple stretches before bed. They can relax your muscles, release that tight feeling in your body, improve your sleep quality, and help unwind your mind so you can fall asleep faster.
Knowing which stretches do the most good is crucial. If you only have time for a few, not for a full-on yoga session, this list will help you narrow down the most beneficial exercises before bed.
Benefits of Stretching
Wondering why you should cram even more into your busy bedtime routine by beginning a stretching routine? Stretching is known to help with your range of motion. If you tend to wake up super stiff in the morning, giving those joints some gentle stretching before bed may help lessen that pain you experience upon taking your first few steps in the morning.
But there are other benefits besides the stiffness you’re trying to ward off. Bedtime stretches can also help:
- You sleep better at night: It can be hard to sleep when your body feels tight to begin with. If you often feel achy and tight as you’re heading to bed, consider doing some stretches to help you sleep. Your body will feel looser after a few minutes. You may find yourself waking up fewer times during the night to constantly reposition your pillow for neck pain.
- Cut down on stress: Stretching is a great way to relax your body and fight stress. It feels so good for your body and mind and can stop you from carrying all that tension in your shoulders and elsewhere. Releasing that tension through stretching can help you feel relaxed and balanced as you climb into bed. You can put on your eucalyptus eye mask and drift off into sleep.
- It feels good: Do we need more motivation to stretch than that? If something so simple that costs you absolutely nothing to do makes your body feel better, then you should make time for it.
Stretches to Do Before Bed
There’s no reason to make your new stretching routine long and drawn out. It should be helping you sleep -- not taking up all your time so you can get to bed. These six simple stretches will only take a short amount of time, but they’ll pay off big time when it comes to your overall well-being.
1. Butterfly Stretch
This stretch is a cinch to do, and it’s great for loosening up your lower body, especially your hips, inner thighs, and groin area.
To do it, you’ll sit on the floor with both of your legs straight. You’ll bring your feet together in front of you, with your knees bent and pointing outward. Gently, bring your heels to your body, getting them as close as possible without forcing the movement to the point where you feel pain.
When they are as close as they can get comfortably, you’ll lean forward slightly while keeping your back straight. Don’t push it too far if it gets uncomfortable. Hold that pose for 30 seconds with no bouncing.
Relax the pose and repeat one more time.
2. Side Bends
For a refreshing spine stretch, try doing side bends. To do them, you’ll put your feet and legs together while standing up. Stretch both of your arms straight over your head while taking a deep breath in.
Bending your body to the right, you’ll drop your right arm to your right side. You’ll also reach your left hand and arm toward your right side over your head as you exhale.
You’ll repeat on the other side, doing the stretch as many times as you’d like.
3. Knee to Chest
For this stretch, you’ll lie flat on your back on the floor, making sure to bend the knee. You’ll grab your lower left knee with your hands and slowly pull your knee up to your chest until you can comfortably go no further.
Then you’ll put that leg back on the ground and do the same motion with your other knee. You can stretch your knees to your chest several times each if you want, or you can do it only once for each leg.
4. Leg Raises
This stretch will loosen you up while also building your core muscles. For this one, you’ll lie down with your back on the floor. Your legs will be flat on the ground and placed together. Keeping your legs straight and together, you’ll lift them up toward the ceiling, stopping when your bottom comes off the floor.
Then, you’ll slowly drop your legs down until they almost touch the floor. When they reach that position, raise them back up. You can shoot for 10 or 20 of these per night, depending upon how many you want to do.
5. Child’s Pose
To do this feel-good stretch, you’ll get into a kneeling position on the floor. Your big toes should be touching. Then you’ll lower your bottom until you are sitting on your heels. Your knees should be spread apart, nearly as wide as your hips.
Letting out your breath, drop your torso down to your thighs. Reach your arms in front of you, stretching them as far as they can go while you drop your forehead to the ground. Continue breathing fully and maintain the position for as long as you want.
6. Spine Twist
For this one, you’ll sit down on the floor with your legs sitting straight in front of you. Your hands will be resting palms down on top of your thighs. You’ll bend your right knee and then cross that leg over the thigh on your left leg. Then, you’ll bend the left knee, tucking your ankle almost under your right glute.
Finally, you’ll reach behind your body with your right arm, putting your fingertips on the ground. As you do that, you’ll slowly twist your upper body to your right while raising your left arm to the sky. When you’re done, you’ll do the stretch on your other side.
Enjoy This Quiet Time
You can do these stretches in total silence or you can play some soothing music in the background. Either way, by incorporating these stretches into your nightly routine, you’ll be taking a simple step that might make you feel better physically and mentally.