Five stretches that will help you sleep better

These 5 stretches will definitely help you sleep better

We all need a good night’s sleep to revitalise our bodies and minds. Rest is super important in maintaining great health and ensuring we get that balance between being active and recovering from a long day.

One important factor contributing to a good night’s sleep is getting your body and mind to ‘switch off.’

With the use of mobile phones and devices, it’s become more and common for people to find what should be the most relaxing part of the day, the most difficult.

To help yourself fall to sleep with ease, get off mobile devices at least an hour before bed. Instead, try reading (a paper book!) or meditating with your eyes closed, focusing on slow deep breaths.

Another great way to help you fall asleep is to do some slow, flowing movement and stretching. Try these and if you’re feeling ovewhelmed? Something is better than nothing.

1. Cat stretch for better sleep

How to do:

1. Go onto hands and knees, hands under shoulders, knees under hips

2. Take a deep breath in

3. As you exhale, draw your tummy in and round your back tucking hips under and chin towards chest

4. Inhale, reverse your body to open chest and arch back gently the opposite way

5. Repeat 10 to 15 times

This mobilises the spine, stretches the back, relieves tension in the torso muscles and slows breathing.

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2. Pyramid

How to do:

1. Hands and knees (hands under shoulders, knees under hips)

2. Move knees back a few inches from hips

3. Inhale, exhale and lift knees off floor raising tailbone towards ceiling

4. Aim for flat back, heels can be off floor, allow neck to relax

5. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat three times

This stretches the backs of your legs, the back and slightly inverts the body, which helps relax and ground your body and mind.

3. Lower back rotation

How to do:

1. Lay on back

2. Reach arms to sides pushing them down firmly out from shoulders

3. Inhale, exhale stretch both legs straight down to floor and squeeze them together

4. On next exhale, gently pull right knee to hip height placing left hand onto knee.

5. Keeping left knee grounded, hook right foot behind left knee and gently push down on right knee with your left hand (like a gently twist). Ensure you keep shoulders on floor

6. Hold for 10 seconds on each side, and repeat each side twice

This stretches the lower and upper back, grounds the body by pressing it to the floor and releases tension in the chest and spinal muscles after long day.

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4. Rest position

How to do:

1. Kneel with feet touching, knees slightly apart

2. Inhale, as you exhale walk hands forward reaching them out in front of you on the floor

3. Sit hips back into heels, keeping shoulder blades down and in

4. Rest your forehead down to floor and stay in this position for 1 to 2 minutes

5. You can also move hands to each side for a few seconds to change the angle

This stretches the spine and brings your awareness back to your breath.

5. Legs up the wall

How to do:

1. Roll up towel or get small pillow (optional)

2. Sit near a wall or chair so your side is facing the wall or chair, move close so your hips are near it

3. Bring knees in towards chest

4. Roll yourself onto your side and raise legs straight up the wall, placing pillow or towel under your hips for slight elevation of lower back

5. You will be laying on back with legs straight up the wall or relaxing over chair

6. Open arms to side, palms up, getting comfortable

7. Hold for up to 10 minutes

The inversion of the legs helps circulation and can help alleviate aching legs which have been in a sedentary position all day. It also stretches the back of the neck, and front of the chest, and will calm your whole body down.

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