Stretching before bed helps ease stiff muscles, improving sleep and reducing stress and inflammation. Read more to learn the benefits of stretching before bed and why you should do it.
When it comes to fitness, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Some people love lifting weights and running on the treadmill; others prefer yoga and meditation. But if you’re looking for a new nighttime routine, consider adding stretching before bed. It won’t just help your body feel more relaxed; it will also help you get ready for sleep by promoting blood flow to the brain, eliminating lower back pain, and preparing your muscles (and mind) for what lies ahead on the next day of workouts—or even just another day at work!
Number of people who do stretching in the U.S. from 2006 to 2017
Number of people doing stretching in the United States from 2006 to 2017 (in millions)
The Benefits of Stretching Before Bed
Getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult, but if you’ve stretched before bed, you’ll find that your body is more ready to face the day ahead.
Stretching before bed also helps with muscle tension and joint pain, so it doesn’t just help you relax and prepare for a better night’s sleep—it also helps your body feel better.
Preparing your muscles for a sound sleep.
Stretching is a great way to prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep. Stretching before bed helps relax your muscles, relieve tension and stress, improve circulation, and even reduce the aches and pains accompanying aging.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, stretching can be just what you need to get some quality shut-eye!
Stretching before bed can help improve your posture.
You might not realize it, but you probably have some bad habits in terms of your posture. During the day, we spend our time hunched over screens and devices that make us look down at the ground. This means that we don’t get as much exercise or movement as we need to maintain good posture throughout the rest of the day, which can lead to all kinds of issues.
Stretching before bed is one way to help improve your posture and reduce aches and pains by sitting too much each day. If you stretch before bed, you are also likely to feel looser during sleep so that you wake up feeling more refreshed. When stretched out properly, muscles tend not to tense up during sleep; rather than wake up with stiff shoulders or back pain (or even worse), stretching before bed could mean waking up without aches!
It also helps relieve stress, which makes for a better night’s rest.
Bedtime stretches can help you relax and improve your sleep. Stretching is one of the best ways to de-stress, especially after a long day at work or while embarking on a new project. It’s also a great way to clear your mind and prepare yourself for rest.
When stressed out, our bodies often go into “fight or flight” mode—the sympathetic nervous system kicks in and causes us to tense up in preparation for action (i.e., running away from danger). You may have experienced this before: maybe you’ve been walking down a dark street late at night, or perhaps someone was following you when suddenly your body feels very aware of its surroundings as if it’s preparing for an attack. This feeling can be scary because it makes us feel like something bad might happen without warning; however, since there are no dangerous situations around us (in most cases), this reaction is unnecessary!
Stretching before bed warms up your muscles, making them more flexible when you wake up.
It also makes you more relaxed, which can help reduce back pain or other aches and pains.
Stretching helps your body relax, so if you struggle to get enough sleep, consider doing stretches before bedtime. This will help calm down any stress or anxiety that might keep you awake at night.
It also helps with aches and pains.
Stretching also helps with aches and pains. That’s because stretching promotes better circulation, which can help reduce muscle soreness. Stretching also increases flexibility by lengthening your muscles, which prevents them from becoming tight and stiff later in the day. In addition, it’s a great way to relieve tension headaches and neck pain caused by sitting at a desk all day. If you suffer from back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), then regular stretching might be just what the doctor ordered!
Relaxing your body and mind
Stretching can help you relax and relieve tension in your muscles.
When you have a good night’s sleep, it helps your body recover from the day. This means that stretching before bed will ensure you wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you!
Stretching helps you sleep better because it encourages blood flow through the body, which promotes relaxation. The more relaxed we are, the better our sleep will be!
Stretching is also great for relaxing the mind because it forces us to focus on one thing at a time instead of worrying about other things happening around us or what needs to be done tomorrow morning when we get up early again after having just gone through a long day yesterday.
Alleviating lower back pain.
Stretching your lower back can help alleviate lower back pain and improve circulation. If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, it is always recommended that you consult a healthcare professional before beginning any new stretching routine.
Stretching should not be painful and should only be held for a few seconds. Do not push yourself past what feels comfortable, as this can cause more harm than good in the long run.
Fighting against insomnia
Sleep is a precious commodity, and it’s important to get the most out of your time sleeping. Stretching has been proven to help with sleep by reducing stress and anxiety. This will allow you to drift off into a deep slumber faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling more refreshed than ever before!
Promoting blood flow to the brain.
Stretching increases blood flow to your brain, which helps promote healthy sleep. When you’re sleeping, the muscles in your body relax and become weaker—including those in your face. Your face is connected to other areas of your body through nerves and muscles, so when one area becomes weak or tense, it can cause pain and discomfort elsewhere. For example, if you have a headache while stretching before bedtime, it could be because you haven’t been stretching enough throughout the day.
Stretching also helps prevent headaches by increasing blood flow to the brain. While we normally associate headaches with having too much caffeine or not drinking enough water throughout the day (and these are valid causes), they can also be caused by muscle tension and stress levels that affect where pressure points lie on our bodies—in other words, where we hold tension! Stretching helps release this tension so that it doesn’t cause stress on other areas of our body, like our neck or shoulders.
Your body will feel great!
The final benefit is that you will feel great! Your body will be more relaxed, more flexible, and more balanced. Your muscles will be more relaxed and the posture of your spine will improve.
When we sleep in proper alignment, our bodies can rest more effectively. Our sleep quality improves due to increased blood flow through the body, which helps remove toxins from our cells. This allows for better circulation throughout your whole system, which results in an overall feeling of well-being when you wake up in the morning!
Preventing injury from the next day’s workout.
You may think, “What’s the point of stretching before bed?” I’m going to go to sleep anyway.” But if you’re like most people, your body is probably ready for a good stretch before hitting the sheets. Stretching helps prevent injuries and soreness from working out the next day.
Stretching also allows you to get into a restful position while sleeping, aiding in better sleep quality. It also relaxes muscles that have been active during the day and relieves tension, which can help eliminate stress-related headaches. As a bonus, stretching increases blood flow throughout your body—and who doesn’t want more energy?
10 Stretches to do before bed.
Stretching is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It helps you relax, relieve tension and stress, and improve your posture! Stretching before bed will help you sleep better and wake up feeling less stiff. Here are some simple stretches you can do as your bedtime routine:
1. Child’s Pose
You can do the child’s pose on the floor or in bed, but either way, you’ll want to be sitting with your hands flat on the floor in front of you and your knees bent. Try to keep your hips level as they drop down toward the floor; this will allow an easier transition into the next step: sitting back onto your heels. Once seated (or lying) with shoulders relaxed and spine straight, bring chest toward thighs by bending at the waist until it’s even with the backs of both legs. This helps lengthen any tight muscles along the front of your body and releases tension from being hunched over a desk all day—and helps alleviate mild back pain caused by poor posture!
2. Forward Fold
A forward fold is an excellent way to stretch your hamstrings while lying on the floor or mat. When you walk around all day, your hamstring muscles are working to help move your legs back and forth, which can make them tight. Doing a forward fold every night can help loosen those tight muscles before bedtime.
To do this stretch:
- Sit on the floor with one leg in front of you and the other bent at a 90-degree angle behind you (pictured above).
- Slowly lean forward from where you’re sitting until both palms are flat on the floor. Your shoulders should be wide open and facing away from each other (also pictured above).
- Hold this position for about 30 seconds; then repeat on the opposite side if desired.
If this feels too intense for your back or hamstrings, try modifying it by placing both palms on an elevated surface like stairs instead of directly onto the floor.
3. Pigeon Pose
A pigeon pose is a great way to stretch your hips. This pose can help ease tension in the area and improve posture if you have tight hips.
To begin, kneel on your mat with one leg forward and the other behind you. Place your hands near the front of your shin or on either side for support as you lower yourself. Your hips should be square with each other, but if they feel difficult to balance initially, place a rolled towel under each hip for added stability until you build up more strength in this pose over time.
Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides and repeating once more on each leg for two sets per side (that’s 60 seconds total). The next day when you wake up from bed after stretching out your hips during sleep, remember that every hour spent practicing Pigeon Pose is closer to having a perfectly aligned posture!
4. Happy Baby Pose
Lie on your back and bring one knee to your chest. Hold the other foot with both hands and place the foot on your upper inner thighs (where you would place a belt). Pull your bent knee towards your chest until you feel a deep stretch in that hip flexor. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
This stretch is great for opening up the pelvis and lengthening the lower back muscles. It also helps calm an overactive mind by focusing attention away from thinking about what happened during the day and onto something as simple as taking a deep breath into this pose.
Modify: If this feels too challenging or uncomfortable, simply drop one leg toward the floor while keeping its opposite side bent at an angle. Both legs are raised off the ground equally high above, parallel to each other (about shoulder height). This modification is less intense than having both knees fully extended toward each other but still relieves tension in those areas that may have been tight before trying out this pose!
5. Butterfly Stretch
The butterfly stretch is a great way to isolate your quadriceps and stretch the groin. To perform this stretch, sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you and your knees. Bend one leg up so that your foot touches your inner thigh. The other leg should remain straight.
Hold onto both ankles, with one hand over each ankle, or secure them around something stable if possible (like another person). Keep both hips facing forward throughout the entire exercise and breathe deeply while holding this position for at least 30 seconds before switching legs and repeating on the opposite side.
6. Cat/Cow Stretch
- How to do the Cat/Cow Stretch – Get on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Why it’s good to do the Cat/Cow stretch: This stretch helps lengthen muscles in the back, neck, and spine while also strengthening them by activating core musculature. It can help relieve back pain or stiffness from sitting for long periods at work or school.
- Frequency: Do this one every night before bed!
7. Standing Hamstring Stretch
This stretch targets the hamstrings and lower back. To perform it:
- Stand with your legs hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.
- Bend forward at the hips and reach the floor, keeping your head up and back straight.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat for 5 reps (1 rep = 1 inhale + 1 exhale).
8. Twisted Seated Forward Fold
Sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, twist at your waist, and grab one foot with both hands. Pull it toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat with the other leg for two sets.
- Benefits: This stretch will help lengthen tight hip flexors and hamstrings, leading to backaches or discomfort throughout the day.
- How often: Do this twice per week.
- How long to hold the stretch: Hold each side for 20 seconds.
If it’s too difficult to reach down far enough to grab your heel, use a towel or strap (but keep an eye on those fingers!).
9. Reclined Spinal Twist
To begin the Reclined Spinal Twist, lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross the right leg over the left, so it is positioned perpendicular to your body. Next, slowly bring both hands behind you and interlace them. Begin to lengthen through the back of your neck as you slowly twist toward one side until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back and hips (keep in mind that this position may not be comfortable for everyone).
If you’re feeling discomfort while performing this stretch or if it is too intense for you, simply relax into Child’s Pose instead (see #7 above). Doing so will allow blood flow to improve even more than it already has while still providing many benefits of Reclining Spinal Twist without being quite as difficult!
10. Legs Up the Wall Pose
This pose is great for stretching the hamstrings, lower back, and hip flexors. You can do this pose in different positions, including the wall or a chair. This pose is also great for relieving stress and relaxing the body after a long day at work.
You can do these stretches before bed to help relax your muscles, improve sleep quality, and prep for the next day’s activities
- Exhale, then inhale and slowly tilt your head forward as you stretch the back of your neck. Don’t force it too far forward, just enough to feel a gentle pull on the upper part of your spine. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax and bring your chin up to its normal position.
- Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through puffed cheeks (like you’re blowing up a balloon), keeping the tip of your tongue between your teeth while engaging in this exercise—it helps keep things from getting messy! Repeat 8 times, this time closing eyes and lips during the exhalation phase; focus on trying not to blink when looking at something bright before re-opening eyes again after each repetition ends—it’ll be challenging but worth it!
Try stretching before bed if you’ve been looking for a new nighttime routine.
Try stretching before bed if you’ve been looking for a new nighttime routine. Stretching is a great way to relax your muscles and improve flexibility. It’s also an effective way to help you sleep better by improving blood flow to the brain. And if you’re dealing with back pain, stretching can also provide relief!
The best part? The more you stretch, the easier it will be—thereby making it more likely that you’ll keep up with this healthy habit in the long run.
A nightly stretching routine is a great way to start when it comes to sleeping well and promoting your overall health. We’ve covered some of the most important benefits of stretching before bedtime, but there are more reasons why this practice can enhance your life. If you feel like something is missing in your life or are looking for a new way to unwind after a long day at work, try adding these stretches into your evening routine today!
FAQs about the Benefits of Stretching Before Bed
Alex is a fitness aficionado, empowers others towards healthier, active lives through small, sustainable changes for lasting results. Visit Gearuptofit.com for insightful tips and resources to enrich a balanced lifestyle.