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Stretches to Help You Sleep Better Tonight

  • Jay Sullivan

    Sleeping Swan

    What you'll need: A pillow

    Tip: With each pose, breathe in and out through your nose for a calming effect on the nervous system.

    Targets: Neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs

    • Sit on floor with pillow in front of you. Bend left knee, bringing sole of left foot to right inner thigh. Lift butt and extend right leg behind you.
    • Staying centered, gently hinge forward from hips, placing head on pillow. Extend arms forward, elbows slightly bent.
    • Hold for 8 to 10 breaths. Roll back up. Switch legs; repeat.
     
  • Jay Sullivan

    Happy Baby

    Targets: Back, hips, and hamstrings

    • Lie faceup. Bend knees into chest and grab inside edges of feet with hands, palms out.
    • Bring knees out to sides, then lower toward armpits, keeping heels above knees, feet flexed.
    • Hold for 8 to 10 breaths, gently rocking from side to side.
  • Jay Sullivan

    Bridge

    Targets: Hips and legs

    • Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat on floor, arms extended by sides, palms up.
    • Keeping shoulders down, engage abs and press into heels to lift hips and back to form a diagonal line from shoulders to knees.
    • Hold for 8 to 10 breaths; lower.
     
  • Jay Sullivan

    Seated Side Bend

    Targets: Neck, shoulders, back, and obliques

    • Sit on pillow in a cross-legged position. Place left hand on floor to side of hip, left elbow slightly bent. Extend right arm by ear.
    • Lean to left, keeping butt on floor, shoulders down.
    • Hold for 8 to 10 breaths. Switch sides; repeat.
  • Jay Sullivan

    Rag Doll

    Targets: Neck, shoulders, back, and hips

    • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
    • Place right hand on left elbow, left hand on right elbow.
    • Bend over from hips, letting arms and head hang down.
    • Hold for 8 to 10 breaths. Gently roll back up.

    Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2009.

     
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