Nighttime Stretching Routine - Thrive Now Physiotherapy

Nighttime Stretching Routine

Nighttime Stretching Routine

More and more in our modern world we are sitting for our jobs as well as for our recreation time.  All this sitting leads to weakness of the postural muscles of the back, and a tightening of the legs, hips and the muscles in the front of your body. This tightening is most prominent in piriformis, pecs, upper traps, your hip flexors including the rectus femoris, and the muscle of the front of the neck. These tight muscles can lead to pain and muscle imbalances. For example, tight hip flexors create an anterior tilt in the pelvis. This tilt leads to dysfunction in the abdominal muscles and the glutes. Perhaps a nighttime stretching routine could help!

Even if you are not spending your whole day sitting. In as little as an hour of sitting without a break your postural muscles along your back and legs begin to lose their firing power or, their ability to engage properly. It is not surprising that after a long day of sitting hunched over at your computer or stressed in traffic your muscles are aching and you need some help relaxing.

Stretching before bed is one of the best ways to release that built up tension. Developing an evening stretching routine can help your body enter a relaxed state more quickly and stay asleep longer. With fewer aches and pains your less likely to toss and turn and in turn get a better sleep and wake up feeling well rested.

Below is a full body nighttime stretching routine to help you relax, unwind and release the tension of the day before bed.

 

Posture Check / Chin Tuck | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Chin Tuck/ posture check

  • Start by standing with your back facing the wall
  • Stand tall and try your best to place your heals, glutes, shoulders and head against the wall (do not force this movement it should not be painful)
  • While keeping your head against the wall slowly tuck the chin towards the chest feeling a stretch down the back of the neck
  • Hold, slowly release and repeat

 

 

Neck Side Bend Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Neck side bend

  • Start by standing tall with head facing forward
  • With out rotating the head droop one ear towards the shoulder
  • Hold
  • If you feel like you could use a bit of an additional challenge place arm on opposite side of body behind your back
  • Repeat on opposite side

 

 

Chest Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Laying chest stretch

  • Lay on the ground flat on your back
  • Extend arms out to the sides feeling a stretch across the chest
  • If this stretch does not feel deep enough add a rolled-up towel or foam roller lengthwise down back
  • Hold

 

 

Childs Pose Arms Extended Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Childs pose with arms extended

  • Begin on your hands and knees
  • Spread your knees apart keeping your big toes touching. Sending your bum back to rest on your heals (if you have tight hips you may need to keep knees together)
  • Sitting up straight lengthen your spine
  • Bend forward draping your upper body between your thighs
  • Extend your arms palms down to the floor
  • Place your forehead on the floor
  • Pressing lightly with the arms shift your weight back through your bottom. Trying to keep it in contact with your ankles
  • Lengthen from your hips to your fingertips
  • Hold

 

 

Low Lunge with Twist Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Low lunge with t twist

  • Start in downward dog (hands and feet on mat in inverted V position)
  • Bring right leg forward stepping right foot between hands
  • Allow your left knee to come down to the mat
  • Extend left foot on the mat
  • Place left hand next to right foot in line with left shoulder
  • Extend right hand towards ceiling
  • Turn the head to look towards fingertips on right hand
  • Hold
  • Switch sides and repeat

 

 

Happy Baby Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Happy baby

  • Lay flat on your back
  • Bend your knees and bring them towards your belly
  • Grab the outside of your feet with your hands, open the knees sightly wider then hips width apart
  • Your head, neck and upper back should remain in contact with the mat or floor. If you are unable to remain flat on the mat move the hands to the ankles or shins depending on your ability to stay in contact with the mat
  • Your knees should be directly over your ankles and your shins should be perpendicular to the floor
  • Flex through the feet and gently push the feet into the hands and the hands towards the floor to create some resistance
  • Hold

 

 

Pigeon Pose Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Pigeon pose

  • Start in downward dog (hands and feet on mat in inverted V position)
  • Bring right leg forward placing outside edge of right foot near left hard
  • Bring right knee towards the floor. The angle of the lower leg will depend on your flexibility level
  • Lower the left leg to the floor. Ensure that the left leg is straight with the toes pointing straight
  • Square hips (you may need to place a folded blanket under the right hip to make this more comfortable)
  • If you feel safe lower your upper body towards the mat or floor
  • Hold
  • Switch sides and repeat
  • If the pigeon pose is too much try the figure 4 stretch

 

 

Figure 4 Pose Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

7a. Figure 4

  • Lay on your back with feet flat on the floor
  • Take the right ankle and cross it over the left knee. Keep the right foot flexed
  • Bring the left knee towards the chest
  • Reach the right arm through the legs and the left arm around the outside of the left leg, interlacing fingers behind left knee
  • If you feel a stretch hold here. If a bit of a deeper stretch is needed use the arms to gently pull the leg towards the chest then hold
  • Try to keep right knee angled towards the floor
  • Switch sides and repeat

 

 

Legs Up The Wall Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Legs up the wall

  • Sit sideways with your right side against the wall
  • Gently swing your legs up onto the wall, laying your shoulders and head onto the floor
  • Your sits bones do not need to be touching the wall. Play around with what feels right for you. You may feel a bit of a stretch in the back of the legs, but it should not feel too intense as this is not meant to be a hamstring stretch
  • Keep your legs straight and your arms out to your side palms facing up. Flattening the back into the ground feeling a stretch through the chest
  • Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and hold

 

 

Butterfly Pose Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Butterfly

  • Sit comfortably on the floor
  • Bring the soles of the feet together
  • It this feels like a challenge hold there. If you need more of a challenge pull the heels towards the groin
  • Using the weight of your body activity push sits bones and knees into the floor
  • Elongate through the upper body, tucking chin towards chest
  • Hold

 

 

Corpse Pose Stretch | Thrive Now Physio

  1. Corpse pose

  • Lay on the floor face up, arms slightly away from your sides palms facing up
  • Let your legs fall apart, flatten the shoulder blades against the back, releasing any tension from the shoulders
  • Once you have positioned yourself release any effort you are using to stay in this position
  • Be aware of your breath and when your mind wonders bring it back to your breathe. No need to change the way you are breathing
  • This pose is relaxing however try to stay awake and stay present when performing this exercise. If you feel any tension in the body try to relax it
  • Feel free to cover yourself with a blanket

This nighttime stretching routine will help you relax, unwind and release the tension of the day before bed.

 

Written By:

Katie Anderson | Thrive Now Physio

Katie Anderson

Registered Kinesiologist

Clinical Exercise Physiologist

 

 

 

 

 

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