The miracle of stretches before bed for a restful sleep.
Why do we stretch in the morning after sleeping… and does stretching before sleeping help you get a better night’s rest? There are a number of exercises, diets, meditations and visualizations, tools and medications to help with sleep issues and insomnia. At Bendable Body we offer something different: a direct connection to your physiology through stretching your muscle fascia.
Before we give you the stretches to sleep better and tell you when to do it… we want to explain why they work! At Bendable Body we aren’t simply stretching muscles. In fact, our primary concern is getting your fascia healthy. Fascia is the connective tissue in your body that encapsulates not only whole muscles but also each individual muscle fiber. When fascia is healthy it’s pliable, supple and bendable. Over time through injury, trauma and repetitive movements, your fascia gets stiff and hard - inflexible in other words. Most of us think it's our muscles that have become weak and inflexible as we age… but whatever symptom you are experiencing in your muscles - the root cause is the health of your fascia.
But muscles aren’t the only thing that reside in fascia. Fascia is an all pervading tissue in your body. All nerve and cell communication happen in and through your fascia. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the primary meridian channels traverse through fascia as well. Each primary meridian services an organ. When you go to an acupuncturist they put needles in meridians to stimulate the flow of Qi (energy) to the body’s organs and tissues and to increase holistic health. However, if the meridian resides in fascia, and the fascia has become hard and stiff, the flow of energy is naturally disrupted.
Why we love stretching to open meridian channels
Perhaps you have a daily routine for stretching and you do it to loosen up your joints and muscles. That’s great… but you are missing out on so much! If you incorporate The Bendable Body Method of resistance stretching that restructures unhealthy fascia in your body, you’ll not only increase both your muscle flexibility and strength, but you’ll also increase your physiological functions in very direct ways.
When it comes to organ health and physiological function and using acupuncture to open up meridian channels - that’s a great approach with many proven benefits - but we love resistance stretching because it’s long lasting. In fact resistance stretching will make your acupuncture more successful because it makes the tissue in your body that the meridian runs through healthier. Most importantly, resistance stretching stands on it’s own. It’s the full package. You get strong muscles, increased flexibility, healthier fascia, opened and stimulated meridian channels and increased physiological functions - with every single stretch movement you do!
How is your health impacted by sleep deprivation?
According to the Cleveland Clinic these are some of the side effects of not getting enough sleep:
- Lack of Alertness
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
- Impaired Memory
- Relationship Stress
- Quality of Life
- Greater Likelihood for Car Accidents
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Attack, Heart Failure or Stroke
- Impaired Immunity
- Lowered Sex Drive
We know that in our modern culture excessive use of devices and chronic stress are contributing factors to sleep deprivation. However, at Bendable Body we have a good number of people who report issues sleeping because of pain in their body. Maybe a shoulder problem is keeping you up all night or hip pain...
Regardless of what is causing your sleep deprivation - stretching can help. If it's shoulder pain, of course you'll want to also do some stretches to target that. And if you it's too much time on the computer, you'll want to try and make some changes to your lifestyle. But in either instance, adding stretches into your daily life that will improve your sleep is a great strategy.
What are the Stretches for Good Sleep?
If you want to get a better night’s sleep we recommend stretches for the central nervous system! The Brain Meridian in Chinese Medicine - which runs along the central hamstrings. That’s right! Hamstring stretches (central hamstring stretches to be exact) will help you get a better night’s sleep!
Full disclosure: the central hamstring on most people has a significant accumulation of hard, dense fascia and it can take some time to get it healthy. If you suffer from severe sleep issues, we recommend you adopt a regular stretching routine for your central hamstring for optimal results. The best time to do these “Brain Stretches” for immediate impact is before bed! However, the ultimate goal is to get your hamstrings healthier in general, so any time that works with your schedule is great.