Bedtime Stretches Part 7: Knees to chest

BEDTIME STRETCHES: Knees to chest(7/7)

What better way to finish a week of bedtime stretches than with a stretch that requires you to be laying down in bed (knees to chest).

This one is simple and will stretch your lower back to prepare you for sleep.

This stretch is good for more than low-back muscle release. As a range of motion exercise, in other words, a movement that increases your joint flexibility, the knees-to-chest stretch may help reduce stiffness associated with spinal arthritis and/or spinal stenosis.

 

Steps for knees to chest

  • Lying on your back in bed simply pull both knees toward your chest with your hands either on top of your knees or in behind them.
  • Hold this stretch for 30-60 seconds.
  • Now let your legs down from your chest, lie flat on your back with your arms by each side and take 10 slow and controlled breaths to really calm your body and prepare for sleep.

 

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Knees to chest

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI_wIukVWfk[/embedyt]

 

 

Bedtime Stretches Part 5: Thoracic Extension

BEDTIME STRETCHES: Thoracic extension(5/7)

A thoracic extension is a great postural stretch to do just before bed as it helps to unwind the slouched posture from working at a desk all day and can relax and calm the nervous system.

This stretch is good for releasing tension in the muscles and connective tissue, thoracic spine extension, and vertebral disc hydration.

Steps for thoracic extension

  • Place a foam yoga block in between the shoulder blades and lay with your arms stretched out to each side.
  • This can also be done by laying on a foam roller that runs the length of your spine.
  • Start by lying in this thoracic extension for 1-5 minutes and work up to 15 minutes.
  • Have some lavender or cedarwood essential oil in a diffuser and listen to calming music or an audiobook to relax before bed.

 

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Thoracic extension

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfn4QIHU1u4[/embedyt]

Bedtime Stretches Part 4: Adductors

BEDTIME STRETCHES: Hip flexor and adductors (4/7)

This movement combines squat mobility with hamstring and adductors stretch making it a very efficient drill to throw into your warm-up.

STEPS for adductors stretch

1) Stand side on to the bed and place your knee on the bed, with the other leg straight and supporting your body.
2) Stand tall and gently push your hips forward to stretch the front of the hip of the leg that’s on the bed.
3) Now bend forward and reach toward the leg on the floor to stretch the inner thigh (adductors).

As with the first 2 days BREATHE OUT as you change position. As you hold the stretch you BREATHE IN. Then BREATHE OUT again as you revert to the original position.
Hold a stretch in each position 10 times and do the other side.

 

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Adductors

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4UcxgUECcc[/embedyt]

Bedtime Stretches Part 3: Pigeon stretch

BEDTIME STRETCHES: Glute stretch/pigeon pose (3/7)

Time to focus on stretching the glutes and back of the hip with the pigeon pose. This can be an easier option than the classic glute stretch while lying on your back since you don’t have to get down on the floor.

Pigeon Pose specifically works as a hip opener and forward bend, stretching your thighs, groin, back, piriformis, and psoas. The leg extended to the rear gets a stretch of the psoas and other hip flexors. On the other side, the rotators and outer hip are stretched. It is a good antidote to sitting for long periods. It prepares you for seated postures and backbends.

STEPS for pigeon stretch

  • Place one leg on the bed with your knee bent at 90 degrees and your shin in front of your body.
  • Lean forward toward your knee until you feel a pigeon stretch.
  • Shift your weight a bit so you are leaning toward your foot.
  • Hold each position along the way that feels tight for about 20 seconds.
  • Keep your breathing slow and controlled as you do this pigeon stretch.

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Pigeon stretch

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0_tlRAk9Hk[/embedyt]

 

Bedtime Stretch Part 2: Dog pose for hamstrings

BEDTIME STRETCHES: Up/down dog for hamstrings (2/7)

Combining stretching with gentle breathing before bed is a great way to calm your nervous system to prepare for sleep and work on mobility at the same time. This is an easier variation of the classic up/down dog because if you are tight in the back and hamstrings like me, the classic version is rough.

STEPS for up/down hamstrings stretch…

1) Place your hands on the bed with your feet about half your body length or so from the bed.
2)Keep the knees and elbows STRAIGHT and move the hips backward as you EXHALE to stretch the BACK and HAMSTRINGS.
3) Hold the stretch and INHALE.
4) Keeping the knees and elbows STRAIGHT now move the hips toward the bed as you EXHALE to stretch the FRONT of the body.
5) Hold the stretch and INHALE.
6) Repeat step 2 through 5 so you hold each position 10 times.

As with day one you BREATHE OUT as you change position. As you hold the hamstrings stretch you BREATHE IN. Then BREATHE OUT again as you revert to the original position.

 

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Hamstrings

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zUr5qPWAZI[/embedyt]

Bedtime Stretches Part 1: Hip and hamstring

BEDTIME STRETCHES: Hip and hamstring (1/7)

Combining stretching with gentle breathing before bed is a great way to calm your nervous system to prepare for sleep and work on mobility at the same time. Killing two birds with one stone is always good in a busy schedule. Speaking of killing two birds the first stretch of the week does just that, stretching the hamstring and the front of the hip.

Place one foot on the bed as if you are going to step up onto the bed, the other foot behind with toes pointing forward.

1) Lean into the hip to stretch the front of the hip as you slowly EXHALE.
2) Hold the stretch as you slowing INHALE.
3) As you EXHALE again straighten the knee of the top leg and lean into a hamstring stretch.
4) hold the stretch as you slowly INHALE.
5) As you EXHALE return to the hip flexor stretch (step one).

To put it simply as you BREATHE OUT you will change position. As you hold the stretch you BREATHE IN.

Don’t over complicate it, basically, we are combining controlled breathing and controlled stretching to calm your system before sleep.

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Hamstring

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCyNsBNfkt0[/embedyt]