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5 Gentle Exercises to Try Before Sleep

by BetterSleep
May 14 • 4 min read
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Struggling to fall asleep at night? Try these gentle exercises to drift off faster and sleep better.

How Do Gentle Exercises Improve Your Sleep?

According to research from 2016, scientists have found a link between meditative movement and improved sleep quality.

The research looked at meditative movements such as yoga, tai chi, and qi gong. In addition to better sleep quality, they found that meditative movement also improved the overall quality of life of participants.

So why are gentle exercises so helpful for sleep? First, doing mindful movements can help you become aware of your own body. This type of mindfulness is helpful to reduce the anxiety that keeps you up at night. But it can also help you relax your body and release the tensions you’ve accumulated throughout your day.

5 Gentle Exercise Moments To Try Before Sleep

Try the following gentle movements before you settle down for bed tonight. You can even do some of these movements in your bed!

Side Stretch

  1. Grab a pillow.
  2. Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your pillow vertically. Let it hang on the right side of your body.
  3. Cross your left leg behind your right leg.
  4. Bend your head and upper body sideways to the right until your pillow touches the floor and you feel the stretch across your left side.
  5. Take a long, deep breath.
  6. Come back to a neutral position.
  7. Repeat on the opposite side:
  8. Hold your pillow on the left side of your body.
  9. Cross your right leg behind your left leg.
  10. Bend your head and upper body sideways to the left until your pillow touches the floor and you feel the stretch across your right side.
  11. Take a long, deep breath.
  12. Come back to a neutral position.
  13. Repeat two more times on each side.

Knee Lifts

  1. Grab a pillow.
  2. Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your pillow in front of you.
  3. Hug the pillow against your chest, high enough to rest your chin on it comfortably.
  4. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Relax your head and let your neck stretch softly.
  5. Lift your right heel and bend your right knee. Slightly shift your weight to the left.
  6. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  7. Bring your right heel down and repeat on the left side.
  8. Repeat 2-3 more times on each side.

Mindful Breath

  1. Use this exercise before you crawl into bed for seated exercises.
  2. Stand in front of your bed in a comfortable position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Breathe in from your nose until your belly is full of air.
  4. Hold for a few seconds.
  5. Breathe out and release the tension in your body.
  6. Repeat for a few cycles.

Seated Forward Bend

  1. Sit down on a mat or your bed while extending your legs in front of you.
  2. Fold your hips forward and reach your arms in front of you, towards your legs.
  3. Grab onto what you can with your hands — your knees, shins, ankles, feet, or even your toes.
  4. Relax your head and neck. Tuck your chin into your chest.
  5. Breathe in and out deeply. Hold this pose for 1 to 5 minutes.

Child’s Pose

  1. Get down on your hands and knees.
  2. Sit your glutes on your heels while extending your arms forward.
  3. Rest your palms and forehead on the floor. Add a blanket, pillow, or cushion under your chest, belly, or thighs if you need support.
  4. Breathe in and out deeply. With each exhale, let yourself sink a little deeper into the position.
  5. Keep this position for 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Feel free to come back to this position in between other exercises.

Did you know that the BetterSleep App has several SleepMoves routines to help you drift to sleep faster? Try the app for free today to try these gentle bedtime exercise routines.

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