The stretching exercises help to increase muscle flexibility, strength, and body stability. This flexibility is important to keep a range of movement in the body. Normal stretching keeps the muscles long, slender and flexible, ensuring that exercise does not strain the muscle itself too much. The muscles become shorter and stiff without it.
Due to stiffness, it becomes difficult to engage in regular exercises as you may be able to experience extreme pain in your body during the performance of any exercise or even when you indulge in daily activities. Another advantage of stretching before bed is that it improves your sleeping pattern and helps you get quality sleep.
Stretching for once will not give you the perfect versatility magically. With time, you must do it regularly for the best results. Your muscles may have gotten stiff over a long period and cannot become flexible within a session or two.
Stretches to do before bed
- Side neck stretch
This Is a great exercise to relax our head, neck, and back. It helps in the smooth movement of our neck muscles and also helps to get rid of any strain. To perform side neck stretch, bend your head slightly to the right, dropping your right ear to your right shoulder in a sitting position. Taking your shoulder away from your ear, simultaneously get down to your right side. On the left side of your neck, you can feel a stretch.
Remain in the same position for about 5 breaths, then come back to the original position and repeat the same on the other side.
- Bear hug
This exercise helps relieve your shoulder and upper back strain. To perform this exercise, stand straight with your feet hip wide apart, then open your arms completely then cross them like you are hugging yourself. Reach up to your shoulder blades. You must feel a little stretch on your upper back while performing this exercise. Hold the position for at least 20 seconds. Now gently pull your hand back to its original position. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.
- Low lunge stretch
This exercise helps to relieve your legs, glutes, and lower back muscles. For doing this exercise, stretch the right leg behind you in a standing position, and lower your knee (in the front) to the ground. Bend the knee on your left front and hold it at a straight angle with your ankle.
Exhale when you go down, hold this position for 2 seconds and then return to your initial position. Follow the same steps on the other side as well. Repeat the entire circuit 15-20 times on both your legs.
- Head rolls
All of us must have performed this exercise at least once in our lives. This exercise gives your relief and comfort. Especially if you have been working in one position for a long period. To perform this exercise, sit back straight and rotate your head at a 360-degree angle slowly. Do this by sticking your neck to your shoulder throughout the workout.
You can perform this exercise once in a clockwise direction and once in the anti-clockwise direction. You must do this exercise slowly and within your limits. Only stretch your head and muscles as long as you feel comfortable, do not overdo it, as it may result in a sprain. Take at least 5 seconds for one complete rotation. You may repeat this exercise 4-5 times on each side. This exercise gives you instant relief.
- The sphinx pose
Lie straight on your belly with your legs shoulder-width apart. Place your elbows and forearms down in the front, on the ground as you raise your chest from the ground. Your hands should be in a position as if you are about to do a push-up. Raise your chest off the ground and take the support of your hand and your elbows (touching the ground) try to lift your ribs as much as possible while your legs will remain in the same position.
You must feel a stretch in your stomach and your chest while performing this exercise. If your muscles do not burn, you are probably doing it wrong. Do not hyperextend and stop at once if you feel pressure or pain. Hold this position for 30–60 seconds and repeat it at least 5 times.
You will be able to feel stretch in your engaged muscles and relief after this exercise.
- Sleeping Swan
This exercise is great for your entire body as it involves stretching all the muscles present in your body. It helps relieve neck pain, elbows, back pain, hips, and leg stress. To perform this exercise, sit on the ground with your legs stretched in the front, then, bend the left knee and put your left foot sole to your right inner thigh, in a sitting position with a cushion in front of you.
Raise the right hip behind you to stretch out the right knee. The upper portion of your right thigh should be pushed against the floor and the top of your right foot.
Now coming forward, gently lift your back and try to touch your right leg (the stretched leg) by bringing your stomach on top of the right leg and stretch your arms by opening them in the forward direction. Hold this position for 10 seconds, now repeat the same exercise on the other side. Engage your muscles throughout the workout. Repeat this exercise at least 5 times on both sides.
However, one must keep certain points in mind while performing a stretching exercise. One may experience pain in their muscles due to overstretching or overstraining. We all have a certain limit in terms of working out and one must not go beyond it as it may result in complications rather than giving relief. Overstretching may also weaken your muscles and make you feel lethargic and weak. This increased motion/flexibility increases the joint’s tension, which is no longer sufficiently protected by the muscle and increases the risk of injury.