One of the biggest burdens on our overall health and wellbeing is sleep. More than 1/3 of Americans are not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep leads to a variety of health issues such as anxiety and depression to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which can all lead to one of the leading epidemics we are facing, chronic pain.
If you are setting out in 2018 to change anything, sleep should be priority number 1. So many other problems will fall away simply because you are allowing your body more time to recover and recuperate through a good night’s sleep. One of the easiest ways to jump start your nights rest is with some mild to light stretching and breathing prior to bed time. Try these 4-simple movements before getting some shut eye in 2018 and your body will thank you.
1. Seated Mediation: Sit with your back straight and your legs out in front of you. Bend your knees inward, placing each foot underneath the opposite knee. Sit tall to create length in your torso, placing your hands on your knees with palms facing down. Close your eyes and breathe into your belly.
2. Seated Side Stretch: Extend both legs in front of you, wide. Fold your right leg at the knee, and bring your foot toward your groin. Bring your left arm to touch the bed, so that it’s parallel to your left leg, with your palm facing up. Reach up with your right arm to open up the right side of your body. Repeat on the left side.
3. Pigeon: Start in tabletop position, placing your hands and knees flat on the bed, hips-width apart. Bring your right knee between your hands, and inch your right foot closer to your left hand. Extend your left leg fully behind you so that your left knee and foot are touching the bed. Try to square your hips, and lift up through your torso to lengthen and stretch.
4. Lying Down Twist: Lie on your back with your arms extended outward. Bend your knees and bring your feet to your hips. Slowly twist your legs and hips to the right side, so that your right knee is touching the bed. Place your right hand gently on your left knee to stretch and open up your left side. Repeat on the opposite side.
As with any sort of change we are trying to make in our lives, it takes time, consistency and dedication to have a lasting impact. Before giving up hope after the first 2 weeks of the year (the average life span of most New Year’s resolutions), commit. Mark your calendar every night (or I’m sure there is an app or Alexa for this). Give this about 60 days to really see the changes. If done consistently over 60 days you will see changes in your mood, personality, skin, and even your waist line; and you never stepped foot into a crowded, resolution filled gym.