Trouble sleeping? Tossing and turning, restless and mind racing?
Yoga and Pilates teacher, Angie Newson, shows you five easy stretches so you can relax and release, and instead of counting sheep, you'll soon be sleeping like a baby.
Lots of people have difficulty in sleeping, or wake up after a few hours restless and unable to return to a deep slumber.
These simple stretches are ideal to do before you go to bed. They're gentle, soft and releasing.
Remember, you want to avoid over-stimulating the body, and by focusing on easy breathing, the chattering of the mind will ease and the body will soften.
I suggest practising the stretches in bed! What better place, as you can use the pillows in some of the poses to aid the release.
Legs up the wall
My all-time favourite. Move the pillows out of the way, sit sideways to the headboard, and simply swing your legs around to stretch the legs up the wall.
Focus on your breathing and each time you gently exhale, allow the legs to drop heavier into the hip sockets and your belly to soften.
Stay here for 2-4 minutes.
Bring yourself on to all fours, big toes together and the knees apart.
Place a rolled up pillow (or two), between your legs and simply sit your bottom back to your heels, and rest your head down on the pillow turning the head to the right.
Stay here, breathing into the back of the lungs for a minute or so.
Turn your head the other way for another minute.
Now come on to your back and place the pillow to your right side.
Bend your knees in towards your chest and take them over to the right to rest on the pillow. Arms are stretched out to the sides, shoulders level.
After a minute or so, bring the legs carefully back to the centre lifting the top leg first then the lower leg.
Switch the pillow to the other side and take the knees over to the left to rest down on the pillow. Easy breathing for another minute or so.
Laying on your back draw your knees in towards your armpits and hold on to the inner feet.
Unfold the knees to a right angle flexing the ankles and pulling down so your thighs are parallel to the bed and your bottom stays down.
Your can use your elbows to push your knees a tad wider and stay here for a couple of minutes.
Now gently rock from side to side a few times.
From the baby bug stretch, roll over on to one side and slowly sit up to sitting.
Bring the soles of the feet together and allow the knees to drop out to each side.
Place two pillows behind you longways, one a little higher than the other and lay back over the pillow, opening the chest.
Rest the arms out to the sides with palms up and again, easy breathing.
Stay here for a few minutes. Blissful!
Remember when you are practising these stretches, soften the facial muscles and release your jaw slightly. When we are tense, we hold a lot of tension in the jaw area. Also, allow the abdominal muscles to deepen and soften.
By combining these stretches with a peaceful bedtime routine – a warm bath, soft music, and maybe burning some fragrant soy candles – you'll create the right atmosphere to help you sleep like a baby. And most importantly? Don't forget to turn off all digital devices!
Please share below any sleep stretches you've found to have helped you get a good night's sleep.