For most of us, sleep and waking consist of flopping, crashing, snoozing, rushing, and hopefully, some time for dreaming in between.
Feeling energetic when you wake is more difficult than you’d think, and there definitely is a whole population of baggy-eyed insomniacs who struggle for peaceful slumber.
I happen to wholeheartedly believe in quality rest, simply adore stretching, and have a passion for improving one’s life.
Let’s explore some good reasons to slowly add the awesome power of stretching to your bedroom every damn day. Both before and after rest, stretching can easily become an effective habitual lifestyle that can physically and mentally help you to look and feel your best.
This may just be the easiest life-changer that you don’t even have to get out of bed to achieve!
Benefits of Doing Bedtime Stretches
1. Make you move more like a human…and less like a zombie
There is way too much zombie-phobia going on these days for you to move around like one.
The human body has range of motion that should be explored and used to its fullest. Stretching the body in its most relaxed state, before and after rest, allows for us to work with muscle, tissues, and fascia in its parasympathetic form. In other words, we want to get kinks out and relief going when our body is as relaxed as possible for a lasting effect.
Related: Health Benefits of Yoga
When lying in bed, you already have the world’s most comfortable yoga mat under you, so use it. There are several easy and fun stretches to do in bed, with some requiring nothing more than gently moving limbs and digits.
2. Improve your quality of sleep
Developing a comfortable stretch routine before going to sleep will help you stay asleep, which equals more energy and a better following day.
Related: How To Sleep Better In 4 Steps
Stretches that target key areas where we hold tension, like the shoulders, neck, hands, and chest, is a no-brainer for entering slumber relaxed. Also, since we use those legs of ours most of the day or find ourselves sitting in awkward positions, the leg and back muscles tend to become hypertonic or excessively tense.
Remember, just because we are lying down with our eyes closed , doesn’t necessarily mean we are getting quality sleep and rest, hence the term “a restless night.” Start stretching regularly before rest and see if your sleep quality improves.
3. Lower stress levels
Life can be stressful! If you have a completely stress-free life, please contact me. I would love to learn your secrets.
Realistically, most of us are a work-in-progress, and we’re in a constant battle to maintain inner balance and calm. Really, some days, we may find that we’ve become a downright ball of stress.
Luckily, we are equipped to handle stress. One of the greatest weapons we have is rejuvenation through bed stretches. .
Before rest and morning stretching helps us learn how to physically let go of daily stress rather than hold on to it. After all, if you jump out of bed with a “can do” attitude and a physically “able to do” body, you are several steps ahead of the game before your feet hit the floor.
4. Help prevent injury
In light of the recent scientific debates of stretching and injury prevention, I decided to help clarify some misunderstandings. Most of the debate surrounds “before exercise” stretching and isn’t an issue for bed stretches, which in relation to exercise, can very well fall into the area of “recovery.”
Before and after rest stretches not only help with flexibility, but also ensures the average person is moving within their normal range of motion, such as touching your toes. When we are not able to perform activities within the normal range of motion, we can injure ourselves. Increased flexibility allows for a greater chance at preventing injury by the simple nature of greater movement.
Related: To Stretch, Or Not To Stretch
Regardless of what the white coats say, a healthy bedtime stretch routine will always let you know where your body stands, and just how much extension, rotation, and flex your body can take.
I suggest everyone do quality research to learn if you are within proper range of motion—and find out your desired level of flexibility.
5. Help you get to know your body
This is by far my most favorite benefit of bed stretches!
So often, our brain, filled with constant chatter can make us forget about these fleshy vessels we carry around with us. Before and after bedtime are both perfect times to reconnect with our forgotten parts.
Body awareness is significant because we usually perform the same movements over and over, day in and day out, with little deviation. Our bodies becomes accustomed to limited mobility. When this happens over a period of years, we can easily lose the relationship of body and mind.
Bedtime stretches create focus on the forgotten areas. Doing this regularly before and after rest will become second nature. Besides reaping the benefits of bed stretching itself, we also stand to gain a much healthier relationship with our bodies. We cultivate a healthy mind – body connection to aide on our wonderful and sometimes challenging journey these amazing vessels of ours will carry us through.
Socks off to better sleep, awesomely vivid daytime energy, and feeling and looking your best. Try before and after rest stretches to take a big step towards becoming a better you!
Amos Soma Fuller is author of Stretches in Bed – 50 Practical Stretches to Better Rest, Awakening & Wellness, founder of Thump the World Publishing, a bodywork therapist, and an high impact action athlete of over 30 years. He resides in Chicago.
Photo by Loving Earth