For some of us, a solid night’s sleep doesn’t just happen. Finding (and sticking to) a regular pre-sleep routine that works for you can make it easy to not just drift off but get healthier, more recuperative sleep as well.
Regular pre-bedtime habits like warm tea, switching off blue light and taking a melatonin supplement are all proven ways to prep yourself to hit the sack. We’ve got another one to add to the list: nightly stretches.
Your muscles are controlled by your nervous system — so are your stress responses. That’s why feeling emotionally tense goes hand-in-hand with your muscles literally becoming tense.
Stretching is a natural way to release endorphins and prime your nervous system to relax. It not only relieves muscle tension, but can help with soreness or sleep-related cramping that might keep you up at night.
Feeling more calm before bed not only helps you fall asleep faster, but will keep you dozing longer and improve the regeneration your body and mind experience overnight. Even better, your body will naturally feel stronger and more flexible when you wake up the next morning as well.
Be sure to be gentle if you’re stretching for relaxation and to prime your body for sleep. A big night time workout will have the opposite effect and keep you awake. Go low and slow, pair your stretching routine with any pre-bed journaling or meditation you might already be doing, and you’ll be nodding off in no time.