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How Stretching Can Help You Get A Good Night's Sleep

How Stretching Can Help You Get A Good Night's Sleep

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one third of Americans are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. They also indicate that a good night’s sleep is important for your health. Fortunately, there’s a simple yet effective method of catching your Zs that you can do from the comfort of your own home, or even in your bed, and it will only take a few minutes. What is it? Stretch!


If you're like many people, you are likely wondering how stretching and sleep could be interrelated. Well, stretching is a form of exercise (think yoga) and exercise has been proven through vast bodies of research to help you drift off into dreamland.


The Stretching Effect

Nikos Apostolopoulos has devoted a great deal of his career to developing MicroStretching, a recovery and regeneration technique. Apostolopoulos is the Director of the MicroStretching Clinic in Canada, and he told Reader’s Digest that, “Flexibility work, if done properly, has a calming effect.” He went on to say that, “When you prepare your body for sleep through stretching, you’re helping your body recover and regenerate.”


The reason this is the case is because gentle stretching exercises helps with your mind to body connection. Why? Your mind is focused only on the gentle exercise at hand and the act of stretching eases muscle tension and tightness and improves your circulation. As a result, you are truly preparing your body for the next and most important part of your day, the eight hours of sleep your body needs for rejuvenation.


Where To Stretch

Let's face it: Stretching is easy. For some, it's an instinctual action. But, for those who are looking to make the most of their stretches and have them translate into better sleep, there are a couple of different places you might want to try. They are:

  • In The Shower – A hot shower at the end of a long day is always enticing. It may also be the one place that your family isn’t hunting you down to solve their daily problems. You can lock them out, right? The heat of the water is also relaxing to your muscles. Therefore, the shower is one place that is great to stretch.
  • In Your Bed – If you have a high quality mattress that reduces the pressure points on your body, then your bed may be one of the best places for you to stretch and sleep. That’s right; you can stretch right on your mattress because many stretches are performed from the sitting or lying positions. So go ahead and get your PJs on and stretch your way to a sound night’s sleep.


What Stretches You Should Do

Hot water coupled with stretching really helps to relax your whole body. Try the following shower routine in the morning, night or both:

  • Begin with neck stretches. Start by gently moving your head side to side toward your shoulders. Then switch to tucking your chin into your chest and tilting your head backward. You can use your hands with both stretches to get a deeper stretch after a few repetitions of each.
  • Move to shoulder stretches. Begin by rolling your shoulders forward. Keep them as straight and low as possible; don’t pull them up toward your ears. Then push your shoulders backwards so your shoulder blades are moving closer together. Again, keep your shoulders straight back and don’t pull them toward your ears.
  • Lastly, get a nice lower back and hip stretch. Stand with your feet in a wide squat (or plie squat) stance with your heels in and your toes pointing out at a 45-degree angle. Squat down toward the floor and then place your hands on the insides of your thighs. Press on your thighs so that you feel a stretch through the insides of your thighs and groin.


If for whatever reason stretching in the shower doesn't appeal to you, you can always stretch from the comfort of your own bed. Of course, to do so, you'll want to ensure you have high quality sheets so that you don't run the risk of tearing them as you gently stretch the various muscles of your body.


By getting in the daily routine of stretching your muscles you'll have an overall healthier lifestyle. Your muscles will be less tense and sore. Your body will be relaxed and you'll get a better night’s sleep unlocking a healthier, happier you!

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