Evening stretches for better sleep 

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So, you’ve started stretching in the morning, and you’re reaping the benefits? Fantastic! But what about incorporating some gentle movement into your bedtime routine? Stretching before bed is a great natural way to improve the duration and quality of your sleep – meaning you can wake up in the morning energised and ready for the day.  

The importance of evening stretches 

Gentle stretches can help increase mobility and flexibility and reduce body pain.  

If you sit for long periods during the day, stretching before bed can assist with alleviating the muscle tension that can build up through long periods of inactivity. Conversely, if you’re standing a lot or engaged in repetitive movement at work, bedtime stretches can help palliate any muscle or joint pain that has developed during the day.  

Stretching at night can reduce tension, increase blood flow, reduce the likelihood of overnight leg cramps and prepare your body for deep, restorative sleep. 

Evening stretches for mental health 

As well as being great for your muscles and joints, stretching before bedtime can positively impact your mental well-being. Gentle exercise and stretching relieve stress and reduce anxiety and depression.  

Mindful stretching can work to stimulate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which assists with rest, digestion, and healing. This ‘winding down’ effect helps to quieten the mind before bed and allows your body to enter a relaxed state, which should help you fall asleep more quickly. 

Stretches for beginners 

Stretching in the evening should be a wind-down, not a wake-up, so keep things simple, quiet, and gentle. Focus on your breathing and movements, aiming to breathe slowly and deeply, preferably both in and out through your nose.  

Remember that you can make nighttime stretching even more comfortable with pillows, bolsters, blankets, or blocks.  

Make your evening stretching routine a pampering reward for getting through the day! 

Following are three simple evening stretches to get you started, but search YouTube for things like ‘stretching exercises for bedtime’ or ‘easy stretches for sleep’, and you’ll have a wealth of options for visual guidance. 

‘Cat and cow’ pose 

Begin your stretching with some gentle movement by relaxing and extending the spine from ‘cat pose’ to ‘cow pose’. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. As you inhale, drop your belly towards the floor as you lift your head and tailbone toward the ceiling (arching like a cat). As you exhale, reverse the movement, round your spine and tuck your chin towards your chest. Move slowly from one pose to the other, aiming for at least five of each. 

Supine twist 

Lie on your back and extend both arms out from your sides so your body forms a T shape. Slowly cross your left leg over the right side of your body and allow it to fall naturally towards the floor. For a deeper twist, turn your head gently to the left. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. 

Child’s pose 

This classic yoga pose is wonderful for soothing the nervous system. Start on all fours, then bring your knees wide apart, keeping your big toes touching. Walk your hands forward, gently lowering your torso down until your forehead can rest on the floor. Try to lengthen through your spine and hold this stretch for at least 60 seconds. 

Contact a Northcote Chiropractor for more help getting to sleep 

Just like stretching in the evening, Chiropractic care has been shown to assist with improving various aspects of sleep. Chiropractic treatments help to remove tension from the body, alleviate pain, encourage blood flow, and assist with muscle relaxation. As well as the treatments themselves, your chiropractor can also provide advice on better sleeping positions, offer further postural stretches and exercises, and talk you through mattress support and ergonomic pillow options.  

For great – natural – sleep, make an appointment with a Northcote Health and Wellness chiropractor today. Bookings can be made via our simple online booking system, or give us a call on (03) 8899 6370 if you have any questions. 

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