#HealthBytes: Five stretches that can improve your sleep quality
Stretching before bedtime helps shift the focus from the day's stress to your breath and body. Sitting through your job and the different postures while working take a toll on your muscles. Stretching before bedtime is an ideal way to relieve the muscles of any pain or discomfort. That way you aren't carrying it forward to the next day. Here are some easy poses.
A bear hug works the rhomboids and trapezius muscles
Stand straight with feet hip-width apart. Stretch out your arms. Cross one arm over the other arm and tightly grasp the opposite shoulders or the backs of the shoulders such that they are slightly leaning forward. This pose looks like a self bear-hug. Hold this stretch for at least 20-30 seconds, while breathing deeply. Repeat this stretch on alternating sides.
Neck stretches relieve tension in the head, neck, and shoulders
There are two stretches involved here. For the first, sit somewhere and bring your right hand to left ear. Next, bring your right ear toward your right shoulder and hold the stretch for five breaths. Repeat on the other side. In the next, look over your right shoulder with the remaining body facing forward. Hold this for five breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
Supine Twist opens up tight shoulders, reduces stress
Lie on your back. Hug your knees close to your chest. Now, inhale and drop both the knees to one side and twist your torso in the opposite direction. Stay in this pose for a few breaths. Exhale. Bring back your knees to center. Repeat the same on the other side. A Supine Twist is a great exercise to open up the shoulders.
Legs-up-the-wall pose relieves tired legs and feet
Lie on the floor or on your bed. Swing both your legs up until they are straight. They should be as straight as to how they would rest against a wall. You can place a cushion under your hips for support. Rest your arms in any comfortable position. Hold for up to a minute. Then, release and relax for 30 seconds.
Seated side bend relaxes the sides, abs and lower back
Sit with your right leg extended straight to the side and bend the left leg into the right knee. Stretch your left arm over the head, and place your right arm along the inside of your right leg. Now, stretch your left arm toward your right foot. Hold for a few breaths. Release. Repeat the same stretch on the opposite side.