One in every three US adults does not get enough sleep. A weekly gym visit, enhancing blood flow and building muscles may simply be not enough to prevent medical conditions such as diabetes, Hypertension, and excess body fat. In most cases, these practices will stress the muscles, leading to soreness.
When it’s simply impossible to catch those z’s, yoga stretches will help you get rid of that soreness so commonly associated with being stationary, aka standing or sitting from dusk till dawn.
A good rule of the thumb is to strive for symmetry by ensuring that muscle groups on either side of your body are well-balanced, and get enough stretching. Since every one of us is different, muscle flexibility will also vary. Thus, a gradual start is recommended. To make it easier for you, below we have included some of the most efficient yoga-inspired exercises dedicate to improving your bedtime routine.
1. Resting Crescent Moon
This is a simple exercise that you can do while standing next to your bed. It was specifically created to release tension and to help you get rid of stress. In the upright position, spread your legs, one leg in front of the other, and slowly descend while letting your torso sink down.
Let the knee of the back-leg rest on the ground while you step on your front leg. Keep your arms on either side of the front leg and stretch the legs as far as you can.
You’ll know it’s the right move if your torso reaches your thigh. If that does not happen, this could be a sign of lower back tightness. A quick fix would be to use a pillow to seal the gap between your torso and the front thigh.
Don’t forget to wash the pillow after each workout. To find out more about how to sanitize any kind of pillow, you could always do a little online research.
In time and with enough practice, the tightness felt when performing this posture should fade away, provided that you use the right kind of pillow.
Stay in that position and count to 10 then switch the positions of your legs. From this stretch, you can climb on your bed and perform other exercises, or sleep. Find out more poses below. This yoga pose was popularized by Jennifer Lopez as seen on her Instagram page.
2. Sitting on the Calves
This is perhaps the most common yoga pose. It helps you stretch your legs and arms muscles while still working out the back muscles. To perform this pose, tuck your feet under your body and sit on your calves. You might feel a slight discomfort in your knees and thighs. To fix that, simply use a pillow, which should be placed between the rear and the calves.
Rest your arms on your knees and keep the torso straight. Stay in this position as you take ten slow breaths. By so doing, you will have had relaxed your whole body. This respite releases tension in your front thighs calms your mind and can help you stretch your feet.
Moreover, this exercise will greatly help you improve your posture, by relaxing the tendons that hold the muscles to bones. Katy Perry has posted photos on Instagram doing this pose.
3. Floating Stretch
If you need to relax your leg muscles and get enough rest at night, this is one of the best stretches. While sitting on the floor or any flat surface, stretch your legs out and jiggle them lightly. You can add a pillow under your rear to increase comfort during the exercise.
In that position, slowly bend your knees up as your feet slowly slide toward you. Bring the soles of your feet to face each other, or let them touch if you are flexible enough.
When the soles are touching, or in the closest distance to each other, the knees will fall out on either side. This pose relaxes your muscles, and as such, you need to stick to what makes you feel comfortable.
This pose will work out your thighs and pelvis muscles, tendons, and joints and it’s recommended for stress and releasing that extra tension in your muscles. It will also help you relax for a cool seven hours of bedtime. Adam Levine and his wife Behati Prinsloo have posted photos of them doing this yoga pose on social media.
4. Falling Stretch
This stretch is similar to the Floating Stretch above. When in the floating stretch position, focus your eyes on your legs while bending your torso slightly. The bend should start from the front of your hip, but if you cannot curve from the hips, allow your spine to bend a little.
You can use a pillow while in this position, for extra comfort. In some instances, the pain you may be experiencing in your lower back might be originating from your calves and your back thighs. This stretch will help you release the tension built up in the back of your legs.
Moreover, this exercise relaxes the muscles of your legs and eases the stiffness in your back. If you do this every day, ensure you stretch a little more to increase your body’s flexibility.
When you bend your spine or torso slightly, you relax the muscles of your torso. This is recommended for those who sit behind a computer screen all day. Granted, it might feel uncomfortable at first, but when done each night, it will feel like a breeze. This pose has become popular following the photos posted by Beyonce all over her social media accounts.
5. Bent-Knee Stretch
This pose requires you to sit upright with one leg extended in front of you. Bend the other leg to the side. Ensure that the straight leg feels stiff. While in that position, calm your mind and let your muscles relax.
Reach out to the toes of the straightened leg and allow your hands to settle where they feel comfortable. Lower your torso along the stretched-out leg. This simple exercise will help you unwind before bed, thus increasing the quality of your sleep.
Shift the positions of your legs and start again for a few minutes. Julia Roberts takes this pose as her meditating stretch. The bent-knee pose is great for relaxing the calf muscles and the thighs. It also keeps your back correctly aligned and relaxes your torso. Moreover, it will also increase blood flow to the legs and hips and releases tension on these muscles too.
With a good stretch, your musculature and the nervous system open up, leading to better circulation and an even better mood. So, as you would imagine, the more poses you’ll try out, the better you’ll sleep. What’s even better is that these poses were solely conceived to ease the muscular tension.
Other benefits included, an increase blood flow to the muscle and feel revitalized and relaxed after a good session. Keep in mind, though that some of these poses might feel uncomfortable at first but with enough time and dedication your body will grow accustomed to them.
About the Guest Author:
Alex Moore is a freelance writer and guest blogger with a long-lasting fascination for everything related to sleep. After becoming a father for the second time, Alex took up yoga to relax and unwind, but soon discovered another hidden passion; writing.