As many of you know, I’ve been battling a leg injury for most of 2018. It all relates back to a tight TFL and piriformis pulling on my IT Band. It’s most painful when I’m laying down, which obviously is a problem when trying to sleep. Since it’s muscle related pain stemming from tightness, I’ve been experimenting and researching what could help relax those muscles so I can sleep. This is where stretching before bed comes into play.
We all know to stretch after an intense strength session or CrossFit class to relax the muscles, but most people don’t consider stretching before bed to relax their muscles to get better sleep. From my personal research and experimentation, here’s what I recommend to do a few minutes before going to bed. It’s helped me for sure:
Pigeon Pose: starting sitting on the floor, fold the left leg in with the bottom of your left foot flat against your right thigh. Then swing your right leg around behind you fully extended while keeping the left leg and foot where it was. Then fold your chest down to the floor over your left leg. Hold that for 30 seconds to a minute and switch legs.
Reverse clam: lay on your side in a fetal position. Keeping your bottom leg on the floor and both knees touching each other, raise your right foot in the air. It should be directly over your bottom foot. Open that angle as far as you can and hold for a second and lower the top foot back down to the bottom foot. Repeat 10-12 times on each side.
Hamstring stretch: standing up, with straight legs but unlocked knees, hinge at the hip and touch your hands to the floor (or as close as you can get). Hold for 30-45 seconds. And repeats a few times.
These very basic and simple stretches that don’t take long will release a lot of tension in your hips, legs, and lower back from the stresses of the day, and you should get a better night sleep. Give it a try, and let me know if you notice a difference.