Home > Overcoming Problems > Pre-Sleep Stretches

Pre-Sleep Stretches

By: Wendy Jacob - Updated: 25 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Stretching For Sleep Relaxation And

Watch a baby or small child start to feel sleepy and they will naturally stretch and yawn. Babies, children and animals stretch their muscles before sleep and upon waking. For some reason, most adults seem to have lost this natural inclination that helps relax the body and prepare the mind for sleep.

How we live and look after ourselves during the day affects how well we sleep at night. Our level of fitness affects the quality of our sleep. Pain, discomfort and illness will all influence how easily we fall asleep. Poor diet, alcohol, too much caffeine and anxiety or depression will contribute towards insomnia and other sleep problems. Lack of sleep will cause fatigue during the day and may make you feel too tired to exercise and reliant on coffee and other stimulants to get through the day. This vicious circle is hard to break.

Flexibility is important to physical fitness. Many people overlook this as they try to improve their shape or increase strength and endurance. Maintaining flexibility is important as it helps protect joints and mobility. It also helps reduce stress and relax the mind and body. It encourages muscles to relax and the removal of toxins from the body. The benefits to the body and mind are visible in the prevention of injury, recovery from soreness after exercise and the feeling of relaxation and enjoyment.

Stretch to Sleep

Aerobic and heavy exercise should be taken during the day. Exercise is stimulating to the mind and body and interferes with the body's need to calm down before sleep. Stretching helps the body relax tense muscles and bring warmth to the joints and surrounding tissues. It restores balance to the body after a day responding to the affects of gravity and other postural challenges.

Flexibility and Age

Flexibility is usually determined by adolescence and starts to diminish as part of the normal aging process after the age of 25. Stretching helps prevent tissue damage and the natural wear and tear around joints.

Stretching the Mind

Stretching is an ideal way to relax the body before sleep. Slow stretching combined with breathing techniques that help calm the mind, are an enjoyable way end the day.

Developing a Routine

Stretching is nature's way of relieving tension. It requires little more than a desire to spend a few moments being aware of the body and its ability to lengthen and release.

A programme of stretches can be designed to take care of specific conditions such as arthritis and back pain. Yoga is an ideal way to learn how to create harmony between the mind and body. Most fitness classes will include stretching and there are books and CDs available that will show how stretching can be used to improve fitness.

Stretching for Sleep

Stretching before bed can be done safely lying down. This allows the body to stretch without the pull of gravity and the risk of injury.

  • Start by lying down in a warm place - either on the floor or on a firm bed. Bend the knees and place the feet on the floor. Allow the back to relax and lengthen. When the back is comfortable stretch the legs away from the body. Stretch into the heels and lengthen the legs. Point and stretch each foot and try and separate the toes.

  • Lengthen the arms towards the feet and feel the shoulder blades move towards the waist. Stretch into fingers and feel energy move throughout the body.

  • Raise the arms towards the ceiling reaching as high as possible. Slowly lower the arms behind the head and rest them on the floor.

  • Stretch all along the right side of the body from the little finger through to the right heel. Feel the body lengthen and the movement in the hips and shoulder.

  • Repeat on the left side.

  • Stretch both sides equally.

  • Screw up all the muscles in the face. Then the right side and the left. Make a 'silent scream' by opening the mouth and eyes as wide as possible.

  • Return by inhaling and drawing the arms back by the side.

  • Exhale and relax all the muscles in the face and the body. Spend a few moments in this position and allow the breath to slow down and the mind to relax.

Morning Stretch

Stretching in the morning helps lengthen the body and improve circulation.

Carefully get out of bed and stand with the feet comfortably apart. Plant the feet into the floor and lift the arms to the ceiling. Look to the ceiling and lift the chest on an inhalation. Alternatively stretch both sides of the body before opening the arms to the side on an inhalation. Release the arms to the side and bend the knees. Release the head towards the chest and allow the shoulders and upper back to release forward. Unroll and straighten the legs.

You are ready to face the day - and the night!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Insomniacs
    Re: What Happens at a Sleep Lab?
    Sleepless in Stockpo - Your Question:I have an 8 month old who I cosleep with and since becoming a mum am struggling with…
    7 December 2017
  • Sleepless in Stockpo
    Re: What Happens at a Sleep Lab?
    I have an 8 month old who I cosleep with and since becoming a mum am struggling with insomnia. I feel like I've tried everything!…
    6 December 2017
  • Ruggero
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    Causality here can easily trick our minds. An inverse association between thirst and insomnia is known. This does not necessarily mean…
    28 October 2017
  • Lizzy Lu
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    I suffer from pulmonary aspiration and can only handle about a cup of liquids per day. I have been chronically dehydrated since March,…
    28 July 2017
  • princess baby saedie
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    At night I can't sleep. I look up somuch stuff to help. I just got out of a brace about a week ago from spraining my ankle. I've…
    27 July 2017
  • Joiseyg
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    Being dehydrated makes me feel exhausted so I usually drink water when I'm at that point. I drink 40-60 oz a day and have had a hard…
    10 September 2016
  • Insomniacs
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    Mary - Your Question:I was diagnosed with an Auto Immune disease in 2005 and was placed on large doses of…
    7 September 2016
  • Mary
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    I was diagnosed with an Auto Immune disease in 2005 and was placed on large doses of Prednisone, along with other…
    7 September 2016
  • Insomniacs
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    Twisty - Your Question:I have been taking zoplicone for almost. 3 yrs and want to stop how do withdraw from the…
    23 August 2016
  • Twisty
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    I have been taking zoplicone for almost. 3 yrs and want to stop how do withdraw from the pills in a safe and…
    22 August 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the Insomniacs website. Please read our Disclaimer.