Do These 4 Stretches Before Bed To Help You Fall Asleep

meHave you ever noticed that as soon as you slip under the covers at night, your body suddenly seems so uncomfortable, maybe it’s a throbbing hip, lower back pain, a stiff neck, or just a vague feeling of physical unhappiness, that you can’t fall asleep. Know that while it’s not normal, it’s common to feel increased aches and pains at night due to your circadian rhythms, according to sleep expert Carleara Weiss, PhD, RN.

Circadian rhythms are the natural biological rhythms that regulate our physical, behavioral, and psychological functions in cycles that last approximately 24 hours. Although most people only associate circadian rhythms with the sleep-wake cycle, Dr. Weiss says they play a critical role in hormone regulation, immune function, and pain regulation. “The circadian rhythm of pain interacts with the pain modulatory, endocrine, and immune systems,” he explains. “Recent research demonstrates increased responsiveness in these combined systems at night.”

Both pain and physical discomfort are considered major sleep disruptors, and Dr. Weiss says the less sleep you get, the more severe both feel. This is because lack of sleep increases the perception of pain. This, in turn, can make you more sensitive to your physical discomfort.

Whether you’re in significant physical pain or just don’t seem physically comfortable, exercise, among other things, can help. Pain permitting, Dr. Weiss recommends taking a slow walk before bed, also saying that while there is limited scientific evidence that stretching before bed can reduce pain and improve sleep, sleep professionals often they prescribe certain movements for this exact purpose. “From a clinical standpoint,” she says, “we recommend back stretches based on empirical evidence and patient reports.” Below are four that she suggests people add to their nightly routines for more comfortable, quality zzzs.

4 bedtime stretches to try when you can’t fall asleep

1. cat-cow

Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. As you exhale, tuck your tailbone in, round your spine toward the ceiling, and look down at your thighs. This is your cat position. Then inhale, arch your back, and let your belly drop toward the floor as you lift your head and tailbone toward the ceiling. This is the position of the cow. Complete 10 to 15 rounds.

child’s posture

Begin kneeling on your bed with your big toes together, knees apart, and buttocks resting on your heels. Walk your hands forward and lower your chest until your forehead rests on the mattress or a pillow, allowing your arms to reach far out in front of you, bringing your biceps closer to your ears. Inhale for a count of 4 to 6 and exhale for a count of 6 to 8. Continue for 30 to 60 seconds.

3. Butterfly stretch

Start sitting with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Allow your knees to spread out like a book and bring the soles of your feet together, close to your pelvis. To deepen the stretch, hold onto your feet and use your elbows to gently press your knees down as you rotate your hips to lean forward or bend forward. To decrease the intensity, place pillows or blankets under your knees. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.

4. Puppy pose

Begin kneeling on all fours. Keep your hips on your knees as you walk your hands forward and lower your chest until the front rests on the mattress or a pillow. Your arms remain straight and your biceps should be at ear level, feeling a stretch through your entire spine, upper back, and shoulders. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Exercise to relieve sleep disturbances

While Dr. Weiss says there aren’t many studies to show that exercises done in bed at times when you can’t sleep will be immediately beneficial in relieving your discomfort and lulling you to sleep, she says there is strong scientific evidence for the exercise out of bed. bed be able to do just that. She suggests strength training, Pilates, core exercises, yoga, tai chi, passive and active stretching, and bodyweight exercises that increase strength, flexibility, and mobility.

“Exercise is an excellent alternative to achieve a healthier life and better sleep for everyone (with or without pain) and in different age groups,” he says. “It improves the quality and duration of sleep and can help you sleep more soundly.” But if you experience chronic pain, see your health care provider for treatment.

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