3 Stretches for a Deep Sleep
by Lucy Miller
A Fitness and Nutrition Expert
How annoying is it, when you’ve had a busy day, have another one ahead but just can’t switch off? It’s so frustrating! So if you have a tough time falling asleep or you toss and turn in the middle of the night then its time to take action and that doesn’t mean popping a pill. Instead, I advise you to create a bedtime routine that includes stretching your limbs. Nearly all of us are guilty of not stretching – me included, so instead I’ve started to take ten minutes to do this quick routine before bed. Not only does it make me more relaxed, but it also helps to keep my muscles flexible, so I’m less likely to experience discomfort or workout-related injuries. I also find that it makes me put my iPad down, which can stimulate your brain and keep you awake at night. I know, it’s so hard to switch off these days!
To get the most out of these stretches, take a ten-minute warm bath or shower and slip into your PJs. Not only will they help ease any pains that prevent you from sleeping but they will increase your muscles' strength and flexibility and relax your body. Let’s get going:
Here's one of my favorite stretches that will target your lower back.
- Lie on your back and lift your right knee into your chest, and then cross it over to the left side of your body.
- Extend your right arm in T-position, palm facing down. Bring your left hand to your right hip, and gently press your hip to the left to increase the stretch, and then turn your head to the right.
- Stay like this for 30 seconds or more, feeling your spine lengthen and twist.
- Repeat on the other side and then hug both knees into your chest to release your lower back.
A variation of the Pigeon stretch that will stretch your hips.
- Stand in front of your bed and lift your right knee up. Place your lower right leg on top of the bed and if you can, adjust your shin so that it's parallel with the edge of the bed.
- Stay here for 30 seconds before folding your torso over your right leg and holding for another 30 seconds.
- Lift your torso up slowly, and then switch legs.
This calming pose will open your hips and stretch your lower back.
- Begin lying flat on your back, then bend both knees and hold the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.
- Gently use your upper body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest, but keep everything relaxed. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Lack of sleep not only affects your mood and concentration, but also lack of sleep means lack of energy, which probably means lack of gym time. In fact, research has shown that sleep deprivation is one of the main reasons why people are inactive, so lets make a conscious effort to go to bed at near enough at the same time every time (your body likes consistency) and sleep for around seven to eight hours every night, especially with the winter coming, when all your good exercising habits can get thrown out the window! Night night!
Lucy MillerLucy Miller is a fitness and nutrition advisor, and Fitness Editor at Health & Fitness Magazine (www.womensfitness.co.uk). She holds fitness qualifications from NASM Training and Premier Training International.
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