The nightly struggle with insomnia is a real challenge for many of us, but popping a pill isn’t always the best solution! Rather than spending an hour or two tossing and turning, we recommend these quick stretches to help your body relax and sink into sleep. Stretching is a fantastic way to help your brain and body wind down after a hectic day, so before you settle in for the night, try stretching out those muscles!
1. The Ragdoll: Bend at your hips and allow your upper body to fold over your legs. Slowly shake your head from side to side, releasing any excess tension in your neck. If you want to increase the stretch, grab your elbows with opposing hands and carefully twist from side to side.
2. Piriformis Stretch: Begin on your back with both feet on the floor. Bring one leg up and cross your ankle over the thigh of your other leg. Wrap your hands around the inside and outside of the grounded leg and slowly pull that leg towards you, pressing the opposing knee away from you. Click here for more directions.
3. Spinal Twist: Start out lying on the floor with your right knee pulled to your chest. Carefully push your right knee over to the left as you twist your upper body to the right. Keep your right shoulder pressed to the ground as you press further into the twist.
4. Cat to Cow Pose: This yoga classic will really help stretch the spine. Pull your shoulders back and down as you press your chest forward. Hold for a few seconds and then reverse the position by hunching the shoulders forward, sucking in your stomach, and rounding your spine. See how it’s done here.
5. Side Stretch: Begin on the floor with your legs spread into a wide V in front of you. Reach up and over, stretching to reach as far down one leg as you can, as you keep your back straight and eyes ahead. Be sure to keep your torso as open as possible, and avoid hunching your back.
6. Splits: Right before you climb into bed is the perfect way to test the limits of your flexibility! Start in a hamstring stretch, with one leg out in front of you and the other leg bent behind you. Slowly try to straighten the front leg by sliding your ankle forward. Remember not to push yourself too hard! Relaxation is the ultimate goal here. You can also stretch your way to splits by trying these 3 poses.
7. Lying Butterfly Opener: Begin on your back with your knees bent and feet together. Press your hips into the ground as you carefully drop your knees to the sides and place the bottoms of your feet together. For more instructions, click here.
As you move through these stretches, concentrate on slowing your breath. This will help you calm your mind. Hopefully, you’ll feel ready to hit the hay in no time! For more information, check out our sources here: Clementine Daily and Fitness Magazine.