How are you sleeping these days? Even the best sleepers among us are most likely experiencing some disrupted sleep right now. And there's no question; a sound, restful night of deep slumber is hard to beat.

How we sleep profoundly affects our day-to-day mood, memory, energy and emotional levels, exercise habits and can even make us less adept at doing the simplest of tasks. You can be doing everything right for your health during the day, but by missing shut-eye, it can lead to some serious immune system side-effects in the long-term.

While the phrase 'sleep hygiene’ is bandied about with ease these days, quoting things like unplugging, reading and meditating as key ingredients to a good night of Zs, the reality for most people, is that they are time-poor or just too tired when it comes to bedtime to get involved in a lengthy bedtime ritual each night.

But what if we told you ten minutes of simple stretching could improve your sleep for the long-term?

Stretching not only signals to your brain that it’s time to slow down but doing these three moves nightly, combined with deep, controlled breathing allows you to let go of the day’s tension, sends blood flow to the right organs but most importantly, it helps release tension in our fascia - all the little connective tissues covering every muscle, bone, nerve and organ.

Everything you want is on the other side of consistency. By doing these three simple stretches before bedtime nightly, expect some blissful effects of quality sleep to come.

1. Shell Flex 

  • Start by kneeling on the mat with your head down and arms reached out in front of you.
  • With your hands laid out in front, bring your body up off your heels and lean forward, letting your hips fall towards the mat while slowly lifting the chest and the eyes upwards.
  • Repeat three times.

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2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretcher

  • Start by kneeling on the mat, reaching your right leg out in front, keeping your left leg behind you, flat on the mat.
  • Lift your left hand in the air, keeping your right hand down by your side.
  • Slowly and gently lean into that right side.
  • Repeat on the other side. 

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3. Standing Roll Up and Roll Down

  • Start with your feet hip-distance apart and begin flowing downwards, vertebrae by vertebrae.
  • Moving gently, bring your hands as far down to the mat as possible.
  • Gently roll back up one vertebrae at a time.
  • You can finish by sweeping your arms up over your head. 
  • Repeat this 2 - 3 times.

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Brought to you by Platinum Pilates & Physio, now doing online classes and consultations daily, www.platinumpilates.ie