As Mesut Barazany once said : “Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep”. Yet, despite the importance of sleep, a common lament is that of struggles to fall asleep or to stay asleep.

What then, is the secret to a good night’s rest?

There is a multitude of resources and tips that range from meditation and calming music to chamomile tea and light reading. While all of these are no doubt worthy sleep aids, research has shown that there is a link between meditative movements (such as yoga and tai chi) and improved sleep quality.

In a way, this is unsurprising simply because movement focuses your attention on your body and breath for the here and now. It forces you to be present instead of on the stressors of the day. This awareness of your body at the moment helps promote better sleep by channelling your attention to where you are currently as opposed to what happened during the day or what will happen tomorrow.

Gentle stretching may also help ease muscle tensions built up during the day, preventing aches and pains.

Here are 3 easy stretches to add to your nightly routine to ease you into a blissful sleep.

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The Bear Hug

  1. Stand tall and inhale as you open your arms out wide.
  2. Exhale as you cross your arms, placing your right arm over your left and your left arm over your right to give yourself a hug.
  3. Breathe deeply as you use your hands to draw your shoulders forward.
  4. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
  5. To release, inhale to open your arms back open wide.
  6. Exhale and repeat with your left arm on top.
Image from Pexels

Releasing Neck Tensions

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair or at the edge of your bed. Take your right hand to the top of your head or to your left ear.
  2. Gently bring your right ear towards your right shoulder, holding this position for five breaths.
  3. Repeat on the opposite side.
  4. Turn to look over your right shoulder, keeping the rest of your body facing forward.
  5. Hold this position for five breaths.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.
  7. Drop your chin down to your chest, holding it there for five breaths.
  8. Return to a neutral position and allow your head to gently fall back for five breaths.

Child’s Pose

This is one of the most relaxing stretches in Yoga and does wonders for calming the body. It can also help to relieve pain and tension in your back, shoulders, and neck.

  1. Come down on your knees, sitting back on your heels.
  2. Hinge at your hips to fold forward and rest your forehead on the floor.
  3. Extend your arms in front of you to support your neck or bring your arms alongside your body. You can use a pillow or cushion under your thighs or forehead for extra support.
  4. Breathe deeply in while holding the pose, bringing your awareness to any areas of discomfort or tightness in your back.
  5. Hold this pose for up to 5 minutes. You can also come into this pose between other stretches to give your body a rest.


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