5 Bedtime Stretches to help overall postural health and sleep
We talk a lot here about stretches and releases, which muscles to release and stretch because they have become tight, shortened due to the way modern life is where its easier than ever to be more sedentary. With that in mind, here are 5 simple stretches you can do before bed on a regular basis that cover the main target areas.
Stretching these key areas will not only help release tension in these areas but can act as a fantastic pre bed routine to bring quiet and calm before bed which in turn can help improve your overall sleep performance!
Hip flexor stretch
The hip flexors can get become shortened and tightened by the amount of sitting we do. If you have a stationary job that involves a lot of sitting at a desk or maybe a lot of time spent traveling around in the car, or even if your job isn’t sat at a computer if as soon as you got home you have spent the next 5 hours glued to the sofa stretching your hips is a great place to start!
Rear Foot Elevated Quad Stretch
This is linked to the hip flexor stretch because unbeknown to some, one of your quadricep muscles (the rectus fermoris) is actually a hip flexor and can become tight and overactive in the same way, therefore also needs to be released.
Upper Trap Stretch
The upper traps are a hot zone for muscle tightness as it is often where most people carry their tension and stress. This simple stretch can be done in order to release the feeling of a tight neck and can actually often help if you suffer from headaches! Something that is also interesting is one side of the muscle can often be tighter than the other (often the left) have a look or have someone take a photo of you to see if one side is higher than the other! If it is, stretch that side twice compared to only once on the other to even it out!
The piriformis is so easily tightened over time, especially if you have to drive a lot for work or sit in a certain position for long periods of time! This one can be done using the bed for assistance as shown in the picture.
The lats originate (start) half way down your back (T6-12) and also at your lumbar spine (L1-L5) and insert near the front of your shoulder (the intertubecular sculls of your humerus to be exact!). Often this can be a main cause of rounded shoulders without people knowing because the classic is to assume pectoral tightness, (it definitely can be both mind!).
How Long To Hold Each One?
hold each stretch, each side for 45 seconds… in total that is 3.75 minutes. Less than 4 minutes of work before bed for something that can improve your posture over time, act as a calming routine before bed which can help in your sleep quality each night! Not bad for less than 5 minutes effort! And if you struggle to get your stretching and mobility work done during the week, tagging it alongside a daily landmark such as a regular bedtime can help you stay consistent which as we know is key!
Let us know how you get on!!