Gentle Stretching Before Bed – A Solution To Insomnia

Many people have insomnia and sometimes chronic insomnia.

Portrait of an insomniac man trying to sleep in his bed

They either can’t fall asleep even if they are very tired, or they wake up not long after they do fall asleep, and can’t get back to sleep.

Sleep is when your body tunes up all your organs, muscles, and other body tissues.

A “good” night’s sleep was important when your were little and will always be important throughout your entire life.

good nights sleep

Maybe you’ve tried drinking chamomile tea, or you’ve used an essential oil.  Maybe you go for a long walk just before bedtime in hopes that you will really be tired once you hit the mattress.

Maybe you were so desperate that you visited your family doctor, and you were given sleeping pills.


A Gentle Stretch Routine Can Help You Sleep

Have you ever heard that gentle stretching just might be the answer to your problem?

overhead stretch

We suggest you give it a try for at least one week before you give up on this method.  Your may help you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep.

Multiple sleep studies were done in 2016 and it was noted that meditative movements, such as gentle stretching, improved sleep quality.

Stretching will help you focus on your breath and body, not the stressors of the day.

 

You will develop mindfulness, which puts you in charge, not the stressful world around you.

Gentle stretching just before bedtime also has many physical benefits too.

  1.  relieve muscle tension
  2.  prevent sleep-disrupting cramps.
  3.  lowers blood pressure
  4.  slow down your heart rate

Here are 8 gentle stretches you might want to try.  Follow the instructions carefully and do each exercise once.

If they aren’t gentle enough for you, leave them out!

Pleasant Dreams!!!


8 Gentle Stretch Poses – Instructions

Bear Hug (back, shoulders)

  1. Stand tall and inhale as you open your arms out wide.
  2. Exhale as you cross your arms, placing your right arm over your left and your left over your right to give yourself a hug.
  3. Breathe deeply as you use your hands to draw your shoulders forward.
  4. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
  5. To release, inhale to open your arms back open wide.
  6. Exhale and repeat with your left arm on top.

bear hug


Neck Stretch (shoulders, neck)

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair. Take your right hand and squeeze the space between your left shoulder and head.
  2. Slowly bring your head toward the squeeze.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds and then keep squeezing that trapezius muscle while you turn your head to the other side and look away from the squeeze.  Hold for 5 seconds, then bring your head back to centre and look up.  Hold for 5 and then look down and hold for 5.
  4. Let go of the squeeze and relax for 5 seconds.
  5. Now take your left hand and squeeze the space between your should and head on the right side. Hold for 5 seconds and then do what you did on the left … look away, look up, look down.

neck stretch


Kneeling Lat Stretch (back, shoulders)

  1. Come into a kneeling position in front of a chair, couch, or low table.
  2. Check that your knees are directly under your hips. You can rest on a blanket or cushion for extra support.
  3. Lengthen your spine as you hinge at the hips to fold forward, resting your forearms on the surface with your palms facing together.
  4. Relax your head between your arms and hold for 30 seconds.

Kneeling Lat Stretch


Child’s Pose (back, shoulders, neck)

  1. Come down on your knees, with your legs shoulder width apart.
  2. With arms stretched way out in front on the floor, sit back into your heels with your hips.  Rest your forehead on the floor.
  3. Hold this for 5 seconds and then place your arms into a “t” and hold for another 5 seconds.  Finally bring your arms along side your body and maybe place your hands under your shins. Hold for another 5 seconds.
  4. Breathe deeply in while holding the pose, bringing your awareness to any areas of discomfort or tightness in your back.

child's pose


Low Lunge (hips, thighs, groin)

  1. Come into a low lunge with your right foot below your right knee and your left leg extended back, keeping your knee on the floor.
  2. Bring your hands to the floor beneath your shoulders, on your knees. 
  3. Feel the line of energy extending out through the crown of your head down to your tail bone.
  4. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

Low Lunge


Seated Forward Bend (spine, shoulders, hamstrings)

  1. Sit down with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Engage your abdominal slightly to lengthen your spine, pressing your sit bones into the floor.
  3. Hinge at your hips to fold forward, reaching out your arms in front of you.
  4. Relax your head and tuck your chin into your chest.
  5. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.

seated forward bend


“L” Pose (back, shoulders, neck)

  1. Sit with the right side of your body against a wall.
  2. Lie on your back as you swing your legs up against the wall.
  3. Your hips can be up against the wall or a few inches away. Choose the distance that feels most comfortable. You can also place a cushion under your hips for support and a bit of elevation.
  4. Rest your arms in any comfortable position.
  5. Remain in this pose for 30 seconds.

Reclining Bound Ankle Pose


Reclining Bound Ankle Pose (hips, groin)

  1. Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together.
  2. Lean back on your hands to bring your back, neck, and head to the floor. You can use cushions or pillows under your knees or head for support.
  3. Place your arms in any comfortable positions.
  4. Focus on relaxing your hips and thighs as you breathe deeply.
  5. Hold this pose for 30 seconds minutes.

reclining bound ankle pose


My favourite is the “Child’s pose”!