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:
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:
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!