Exercises and stretches for better sleep
Many of us experience trouble sleeping at one point or another in our lives. When it comes to something sporadic or a short season, we do not give it importance, but if it affects our day to day, things change. Lack of energy, irritability, headaches, and weight gain are just a few of the negative effects of not resting properly.
Exercises and stretches for better sleep are so important for health, stress relief, and mood.
Having trouble sleeping can be a frustrating and debilitating experience that affects your physical and mental health. If this is your case, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder.
In this article I will give you some tools and suggest little habits that will help you fall asleep so that you will go back to sleep like a baby.
DO YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY SLEEPING WELL?
Those of us who have been through this know that it is a problem that begins little by little. But, if we do not take action on the matter, it can become chronic .
Poor sleep will cause you a lack of energy during the day but, no matter how tired you are, when night falls, you will still have trouble sleeping. And so the cycle begins again.
Although there are multiple factors that make it difficult for us to get a good night’s sleep , these are the main ones:
- Stress . The rhythm of life that we lead prevents us from practicing practices that promote rest. You must learn to disconnect! It is a skill that can be trained.
- Shift work and routine changes alter our circadian rhythms . Our internal clock follows a cycle close to 24 hours and needs certain external variables such as light and dark to synchronize daily.
- Dinners that are too caloric or intense physical activity before going to sleep.
- Some diseases and / or taking certain medications .
- Inadequate sleeping conditions : mattress , temperature, darkness, noise …
- Abuse of stimulant drinks such as tea or coffee.
- Use of electronic devices before sleeping that activate our brain. The blue light from the screens inhibits melatonin (a sleep hormone) and makes it difficult for us to rest.
EXERCISES THAT HELP YOU SLEEP
When we exercise, our body temperature increases and, at the end, it decreases again. This drop in temperature after exercise promotes sleep.
In addition to improving the quality of sleep, exercise can also help increase the time and quality of rest . It is logical, right? The more physical activity, the more energy consumed. This will make you more tired making it easier to fall asleep at the end of the day.
Next, I am going to tell you about those that are most beneficial in ensuring a good night’s sleep .
What exercises help you sleep better?
Any physical activity is beneficial and will help us obtain a higher quality sleep. But before going to sleep, exercise should be gentle . A walk, yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises are good examples.
EXERCISE 1: CHILD’S POSTURE
Begin on your knees, bring your feet together, and lower your hips to your ankles as you extend your arms forward. Also lower your forehead and support it on the ground. Close your eyes, adjust your posture eliminating any tension and breathe easily. You will notice how your back is freed from any tension that you may have accumulated throughout the day.
EXERCISE 2: BURMESE POSTURE
Sit on a mat or rug and cross your feet, bringing them closer to your body as much as possible, but without actually putting them under your legs.
In this posture, the hip muscles are stretched and the spine recovers its natural curvature.
This is my favorite posture to meditate and I invite you to try it as it will help you connect with yourself . Relax your muscles and feel your breath …
EXERCISE 3: LATERAL TRUNK STRETCH
Starting from the previous position, straighten one leg and direct your hands towards the ankle of the straight leg. You don’t want a great stretch, and above all, it shouldn’t be painful. Just stay in a position that you can hold for about a minute. If you need to lower your trunk less or flex your leg for this, do so. The goal of this stretch is for you to enjoy the relaxation that occurs in your body .
Breathe slowly and deeply. In each exhalation try to relax and lower a little more.
A more advanced variant is the one you see in the photo, introducing the torso twist that increases the stretch.
EXERCISE 4: BACK STRETCH
With this exercise you will regain the flexibility that the tensions and hustle and bustle of day to day decrease . To do this, stretch your legs and bend forward with the intention of grabbing at your ankles. If you don’t make it, go down as far as you can. Find a nice stretch point. If you have to bend your knees a little, nothing happens, it is about getting a gentle stretch that lets you go to sleep with a feeling of body relaxation.
Hold the pose for about a minute. Take gentle breaths and with each exhalation try to direct your chest a little lower, bringing it closer to the knees.
EXERCISE 5: CONSCIOUS BREATHING
Lie on your back, with your legs slightly apart, your arms stretched out to the sides of your body and your palms facing upward, and allow yourself to relax. Feel your body against the surface of the bed. Look for any tension and relax your muscles. If your mind wanders into thoughts or worries, bring it back into your body. When you let go of thoughts and simply keep your attention on your breath, sleep comes faster.
Do you feel your breathing? Where do you feel it?
You can feel it in your abdomen, your chest, or in your nostrils. Now focus your attention on the complete breath, from start to finish.
- Direct the air into the abdomen (abdominal breathing) and feel the abdomen expand. Take a few deep breaths, releasing the air slowly.
- Feel how your belly rises and falls, how the air fills the abdomen, then also fills the chest (coastal or thoracic breathing), and finally comes out through the nose slowly.
- When you notice how the air flows comfortably, do some breathing, keeping the air in the abdomen for a few seconds, and release calmly.
Do the exercise for a few minutes and remember, each time a thought passes through your mind, release it and refocus on your breath.
Watch also from the Bright side:
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BETTER SLEEP
IMPROVE YOUR DAYTIME HABITS
Having a regular sleep schedule, as well as exercising, limiting caffeine intake, and managing stress will translate into better long-term sleep.
DEVELOP A RELAXING ROUTINE THAT PREPARES YOU FOR SLEEP
Take a hot shower before bed.
Have a relaxing infusion after dinner.
Avoid heavy meals and too many fluids at the last minute.
Make sure your room gives you tranquility, with a dark and cool atmosphere.
Read for a few minutes or listen to relaxing music and turn off the screens at least an hour before going to sleep.
Write what worries you and free your mind of pending tasks.
Try to spend a few minutes meditating and being grateful for all the good things you have in life. You will surely find many!
If you wake up at night, go back to sleep. If you struggle, try to focus on your breathing as I have taught you before.
SLEEPING POORLY IS NOT A DEFINITIVE PROBLEM AND HAS A SOLUTION
Lack of rest has physical and psychological consequences for those who suffer it, even affecting their personal relationships. But it is not a definitive problem, there are many actions that can be carried out to reverse this situation.
If this is the case for you, you can start by tracking your symptoms and sleep patterns and, based on this analysis, make healthy changes to your daytime habits and bedtime routine.