When I typically get up around 6:30am and I’m aiming for at least 7 hours of sleep a night!), as a result of my stress from losing my passport, I had a really tough time falling asleep last night. Today, I came across Fitness Magazine’s set of six stretches to help you sleep better tonight – how frustrating that it came 12 hours too late! Still, I gave it a read.
(Side note: I really hate when fitness websites present information in slide shows. I don’t want to have to click and wait for the page to reload just to see the next two lines of text. Put it in a one page article, please!)
The first is sleeping swan, which looked to me a lot like a falling asleep version of pigeon. This looked great to me – my hips tend to carry a decent amount of tension (as evidenced by the fact that every time I get up from my desk to get water, they make an audible noise), so I could see the value in stretching them out before going to bed. Plus, maybe if I did it in bed, I could just fall asleep in this position – the ultimate stretch for my hips!
The next one on the list was happy baby. Oddly, I think I’ve normally seen this in lists of yoga stretches that are supposed to reduce constipation and help you go to the bathroom. Doing it right before I’m about to pass out? No, thank you!
Third was one I’ve done a million times – the infamous bridge, which my coworkers and I joke is a great exercise but one that you should always do in the privacy of your hotel room rather than in the hotel gym :) Actually, yesterday I did a version of this as part of my Rachel Cosgrove workout, called the SHELC (for Supinated Hip Extension with Leg Curl). You put your feet straight out and on a ball, then bridge up (trying to balance instead of wobble), pull your heels in to roll the ball toward your butt (while still keeping your hips as high as possible), then roll it back out and come down. I couldn’t believe the burn I got last night from it! I can’t imagine doing this right before bed – I think it would wake me up more than it would put me to sleep, because you really engage your muscles hard.
The next one, seated side bend, is always a good stretch – but I’ll say I’m more likely to do this one in the morning to wake up than at night. Next!
The fifth stretch was rag doll – where you stand up, bend forward at the waist, and hold each elbow to help pull the weight of your upper body down. This is the one I talked about when I tried Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga, that makes my back really sore. I think this is definitely a good stretch to eliminate tension before you go to bed!
And the sixth page… went to an ad. I went back and forth, trying to figure out what this mythical fifth stretch could be, but it just wasn’t on the site. Let me know if you find it! And again, I’ll emphasize that websites really ought to just put it all on one page. You’d avoid this problem!
Overall, I’d give this a 3/6 – props for sleeping swan and rag doll, and hey, I’ll even give them double credit for sleeping swan since you can do it once for each hip. But the rest of it? Just not my thing. I suppose if I end up with total insomnia, I’ll give it a try, particularly given my new year’s resolution to get 7 hours sleep/night (I’m doing pretty well on that so far).
What about you? Do you stretch at night before you go to bed? How about when you wake up in the morning? What are your favorite bedtime rituals? (Vanilla, keep it PG-rated, please!)