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7 Pilates stretches to do before bed

Including Pilates stretches in your bedtime routine will not only help you to achieve a better quality night’s sleep, it will also help to improve your posture by resetting your alignment as well as reducing pain and discomfort when you wake.  Gentle stretching before bed has been shown to relax your body and helps relieve muscle cramps which can lead to a disturbed night.
The process of focusing on your breath and body helps you to clear your mind and it releases you from the stresses of the day. Stretching triggers signal to be sent to the brain which help you to de-stress. Your body then enters a relaxed state that means you fall asleep quicker and remain in a deeper sleep for longer.
Below are 7 stretches for you to include in your bedtime routine.

Roll down

  • Stand tall in neutral alignment, feet hip width apart
  • Inhale and drop your chin toward your chest, allowing your head to fall forward
  • Exhale and continue to articulate down through your spine, keeping the weight equal on both feet with your knees soft
  • Keep your arms, neck and upper body relaxed
  • Inhale at the furthest point
  • Exhale and roll back up through your spine to the start position

Hip & chest opener

  • Start in a kneeling lunge with one knee on the mat
  • Push the hips forward ensuring ensure your front knee is stacked over your ankle
  • Lift the chest and slightly extend your spine
  • Open you arms to feel a stretch across your chest
  • Repeat on the other side

Upper back twist

• Sit tall on your sit bones, legs crossed in front

• Level your shoulders and pull your abdominals in tightly
• Inhale to prepare and lengthen your back

• Reach your hand to outside of opposite knee

• Exhale as you rotate around to the side

• Inhale as you return back to centre
• Exhale and repeat on the other side

Side bend

  •   Sit on the floor with your legs crossed
    • Place one hand on the floor at the side
    • Inhale and float the other arm to above the shoulder
    • Exhale and take the arm further over, flexing your spine to the side
    • Inhale to lift back to centre
    • Exhale and lower arm

Hamstring stretch

  • Inhale and take told of one leg, either holding on at the back of the thigh, calf or foot
  • Slide your second hand away behind you to support
  • Exhale and lengthen the leg you are holding and bring it towards your chest
  • Retain a neutral spine throughout

Lower back twist

• Lie on your back, arms out wide
• Inhale and lower the knees to one side, rotating the head to the other side
• Keep shoulders on the floor and feel the stretch in the lower back
• Exhale and slowly bring your legs and head back to the start position and repeat on the other side

Child's pose

  • Start in a box (on all fours)
  • Bring your big toes together and let your knees go wide
  • Slide your hips back towards your heels
  • Reach your arms forward along the floor to stretch your spine
  • Relax in your hips

Throughout the stretches, keep your core muscles and pelvic floor engaged but try to relax into your stretch. Hold each stretch for around 12-15 seconds. If it feels too challenging at any point, reduce your range of movement and shorten the amount of time spent in the stretch.

Pilates is an excellent way to help improve your flexibility and posture.  Furthermore, it also helps your body to move freely without pain or restriction. To find out more about how Pilates Scotland can help you, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter below to receive regular tips and advice.

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