Stretch into your body, rest, and welcoming sleep
My friend Mary Beth is ahead of the news.
She and her husband started doing 12 minutes of bone supporting stretches last thing before bed. Since then, she said, both have had the consistently best sleep in years.
A month or so later, a New York Times article said the same thing. It’s not just exercise that improves sleep; stretching and meditative movement helps as well.
Their series of 11 stretches include a chest opener to help counter our technology-focused posture—leaning forward keeps our breathing and hearts more closed down. They also include a neck massage with tennis balls, twists (great for your nervous system and digestion), hip openers, and the relaxing legs up the wall.
They suggest you do these stretches accompanied by slow, deep abdominal breaths. Even just that soothes the chronic fight or flight response and welcomes your parasympathetic, rest-and-digest nervous system to unfold.
- Try one or two long, slow breaths right now, connecting to your belly…. I bet you feel more present and in your body.
I’ll follow Mary Beth’s lead: I’ll light a (battery) candle before bed and be guided back to my body, rest, and welcoming sleep.
For your deeply restful nights,
Rest better with light exercises