If you are having trouble getting the deep and restful sleep you desire, try these five stretches before bed. They are great for calming the body and mind, and may even help lower anxiety levels and relieve depression.
Be sure to breathe through your nose on both the inhale and exhale during these stretches, to help calm your nervous system.
Nose-to-Knee Pose (Janushirasana)
- In a seated position, stretch your right leg out with your left leg bent, resting your left foot alongside your right thigh.
- Take a big breath in and hold, with your rib cage over your right thigh.
- Exhale as you fold forward, bringing your hands to your shin.
- Inhale and extend your spine.
- Exhale and fold forward again until your hands are touching your calf, or the toes of your extended right leg. Your nose should be a few inches above your knee. Do not overextend.
- Hold for 3 to 10 breaths.
- Exhale, return to a sitting position, and repeat on the other side.
- Begin by sitting in a kneeling position on the floor.
- Bring your toes together behind you.
- Sit back onto your feet with your hips over your heels, and your knees about 12 inches apart.
- Take a deep breath and then exhale as you fold forward.
- Bring your forehead down to the floor with your arms extended fully in front of you.
- Take a deep breath and slowly exhale.
- Sit on the floor set a pillow in front of you.
- Bending the knee of your left leg, place the sole of your left foot on the inner thigh of your right leg.
- Raise your butt and stretch your right leg out behind you.
- Centering yourself, bend forward at the hips and rest your head upon the pillow.
- Reach forward, extending your arms in front of you with your elbows slightly bent.
- Hold for 8 breaths, then return to upright position and repeat on the other side.
- From a seated position, facing the wall, slide 6 inches away and lay back.
- Extend your legs up the wall, stretching to their full length.
- Sliding your butt further away from the wall will lessen the intensity of the stretch.
- Allow your arms to stretch out by your sides, palm-side up.
- Gently inhale, hold for 8 to 10 breaths, and exhale.
Winding Down Twist
- Sitting in a cross-legged position on the floor, exhale as you rest your right hand on your left knee.
- Your left hand should rest on the bed behind you in the area of your tailbone.
- Twist your torso gently to the left side, to a comfortable tension – do not overextend.
- Turn your face to look over your left shoulder, breathing deeply.
- Return to your starting position and repeat on the other side.
Feeling relaxed yet?
-The Alternative Daily