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Sleep - Why is it so good for us!

Sleep - Why is it so good for us!

Written by Anna Pattison - Clinical Myotherapist and Remedial Massage Therapist | 20th September 2023

Ask my family and they will certainly tell you how much I value my sleep and absolutely love my bed! Good sleep helps us have better health as many important functions are actually taking place. I have therefore been excited to share my findings with them and now you as to why they should let me sleep.

Why sleep is so important:

  • Low sleep quality and duration may increase your risk of developing heart disease.
  • Sleep affects different parts of your immune system, making you less likely to get colds and other infections.
  • Sleep helps with learning and the formation of long-term memories improving our focus on tasks and clear thinking.
  • Sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance, enhancing fine motor skills, reaction time, muscular power, and muscular endurance which may then reduce your risk of injury.
  • Reduced sleep is associated with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance
  • Poor sleep can also have a major effect on inflammation which may lead to the development of many chronic conditions, including obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, depression.
  • Most adults require between 7-9 hours sleep.

Here are 5 stretches or yoga poses you can do just before bedtime to help encourage the mind to calm and quieten and aid in getting a good night’s sleep.

Child’s pose

  1. Begin on your hands and knees. Take your knees almost as wide as your hips and bring your big toes to touch behind you.
  2. Gently sink the bottom back towards the heels and lower the forehead down to rest on the floor.
  3. Reach your arms out in front of you. Alternatively, you can have your arms down by your sides if it feels better for the shoulders.
  4. Stay here for five to eight breaths.
  5. To come out of the pose, bring the hands underneath the shoulders and gently roll yourself back up to sitting, your head being the last to rise.

2. Rag doll stretch

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, spending a moment to spread through the toes and ground down through the feet.
  2. Gently bend your knees and keeping a long spine, hinge forward at the hips.
  3. Slowly fold your upper body down over the legs, bending the knees as much as you need to bring the hands onto the floor.
  4. You can choose to keep your hands on the floor by the sides of your toes or take your opposite hands to opposite elbows and gently sway from one side to the other.
  5. Hold for three to five breaths.

3. Legs up the wall

  1. Gently roll onto your back, lifting your legs up against the wall.
  2. Place your hands wherever comfortable – placing one hand on the heart and another on the belly may feel soothing.
  3. Rest here for five to ten breaths, or longer if you prefer.

4. Reclined diamond stretch

  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees, bringing your heels in towards your bottom.
  2. Bring the feet together and, keeping the soles of your feet together.
  3. Begin to open your thighs out to the side, so your legs are in a diamond shape.
  4. Place the hands and arms where you feel most comfortable.
  5. Stay here for five to eight breaths.

6. Corpse pose

  1. If you are ready for bed, you can actually do this one under the covers!
  2. Get comfortable and begin to settle down.
  3. Bring your awareness to the top of your head. Gently start to scan down through your body, checking for any areas of tension.
  4. Be aware of the tension, and feel your body softening and relaxing.
  5. Work through each body part, all the way down to your toes.
  6. Once you have completed your journey down the body, gently guide your awareness back to the breath, breathe in for 4 and try and exhale for 8.

How can CHH help?

At CHH, our experienced group of practitioners aim to work with you to help you achieve your goals and return to optimum health and wellbeing. If you require more information on these stretches and poses, please feel free to contact the clinic and speak to one of our practitioners or book now.