A Quick Stretching Routine to Improve Your Sleep

We all have busy lives and sometimes it’s hard to relax and shut down at the end of the day. Stretching is one way to feel more relaxed and keep your muscles strong and flexible, while helping prevent discomfort and injuries. These simple stretches can be done just about anywhere and will help you get ready for some quality sleep.

Seated Spinal Twist

Sit and cross your legs in front of you at the shins. If your hips are tight, you can sit on a pillow or yoga block as a bolster. While sitting tall, align your head, neck, and spine, and balance your weight evenly across your sit bones. Try to lengthen your spine, but soften your neck. Relax your feet and thighs. Place one hand on the outside of the opposite knee and the other hand on your thigh or on the floor behind you. Gently twist, inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to twist deeper. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and repeat on the opposite side.

Childs Pose

Begin in a kneeling position. Keep your knees together or open them a little wider than your hips. Keeping the knees together provides more support and is recommended for people with less flexibility. Lower your hips back and try to sit back onto your heels.  Extending your arms in front of you, palms down and lower your torso as much as possible, rest your forehead on the mat. Facing your palms up with your arms stretched forward will intensify the stretch in your shoulders. Breathe deep and slowly, hold for 30 seconds to one minute.

Knees to Chest

Lying flat on your back, hug both knees into your chest by placing your hands behind the knees. Holding your legs this way will prevent any pressure on the knee joint versus placing your hands on the top of the shins. This is a great stretch for releasing the tension in the lower back. Breathe deep and slowly, hold for 30 seconds to one minute.

Lying-down Body Twist

Lying flat on your back, twist your lower back to bring one leg and knee across your body. The lower leg can be bent or straight—try to keep your shoulders flat on the ground. For a deeper stretch, you can hold the upper leg and knee down with the hand on the same side. You should feel a nice stretch through your hip and your back. Breathe deep and slowly, hold for 30 seconds to one minute, and repeat on the opposite side.

Lying Full-body Stretch

Lying flat on your back, extend your arm above your head and point your toes. Try to stretch your fingers and toes away from each other. Feel the stretch through your spine, shoulders, elbows, and wrists toward your fingers; and through your hips, knees, and ankles toward your toes. Inhale to lengthen, holding as long as possible. Exhale to release and relax. Repeat as many times as you like.

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About the Author

Noreen Lange

Noreen Lange

Noreen Lange has a BS in kinesiology with a minor in fitness, nutrition and health. With over 10 years combined experience as a certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and nutrition and wellness consultant, Noreen has worked with celebrities, high profile athletes, and professional sports teams including Tony Gwynn and the San Diego Padres. Comments

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