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Exercises to do before sleep: Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong?

Are you someone who finds it difficult to fall asleep at night? Do you often toss and turn in bed, unable to find a comfortable position to sleep in? Or maybe you’re someone who falls asleep easily, but wakes up feeling tired and groggy.

Whatever your sleep struggles may be, incorporating a few exercises into your nightly routine can help you sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of doing yoga, tai chi, or qi gong exercises before sleep and provide you with some simple routines to try.

Benefits of doing exercises before sleep

There are several benefits to doing exercises before sleep, including:

1. Reducing stress and anxiety

Exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and qi gong are great for reducing stress and anxiety. They help calm the mind and help you relax, which can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

2. Improving flexibility and mobility

Doing exercises before sleep can also help improve your flexibility and mobility. This can help reduce aches and pains in your body, making it easier for you to find a comfortable sleeping position. Studies have shown consistent stretching exercises helps to strengthen joints, making your posture better eventually.

3. Enhancing sleep quality

Research has shown that doing exercises before sleep can help improve sleep quality. It can increase the amount of time you spend in deep sleep, which is the most restorative phase of sleep. Having a deep phase of sleep overnight helps you wake up with a fresh mind, ready to take on the day, instead of leaving you groggy, dragging yourself through the day.

Yoga exercises before sleep

Yoga is a great exercise to do before sleep as it helps calm the mind and relax the body. Here are a few simple yoga poses you can try before bed:

1. Child’s pose (Balasana)

This pose is great for relaxing the body and calming the mind.

  1. Kneel on the floor with your toes touching and your knees hip-width apart.
  2. Sit back on your heels and stretch your arms out in front of you.
  3. Rest your forehead on the floor and breathe deeply.

2. Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)

This pose helps release tension in the lower back and hamstrings.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Inhale and raise your arms overhead.
  3. Exhale and fold forward, bringing your hands to the floor or to your shins.
  4. Relax your head and neck and breathe deeply.

3. Corpse pose (Savasana)

This pose is great for relaxing the body and calming the mind before sleep.

  1. Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and your legs extended.
  2. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
  3. Focus on relaxing each part of your body, starting with your toes and working your way up to your head.

Tai Chi exercises before sleep

Tai Chi is a gentle exercise that involves slow, flowing movements. It’s great for reducing stress and anxiety. Here are a few simple Tai Chi exercises you can try before bed:

1. Cloud hands (Yun Shou)

This exercise involves slow, flowing arm movements that help calm the mind and relax the body.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise your arms to shoulder height, with your palms facing down.
  3. Slowly turn your torso to the right, shifting your weight to your right foot and allowing your left foot to pivot slightly.
  4. Bring your left arm across your body and your right arm to the side.
  5. Slowly turn your torso to the left, shifting your weight to your left foot and allowing your right foot to pivot slightly.
  6. Repeat this movement several times, breathing deeply.

2. Tiger’s mouth (Hu Shou)

This exercise involves stretching the fingers and palms of the hands, which can help release tension and improve circulation.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold your arms out in front of you with your palms facing each other.
  3. Curl your fingers in towards your palms and then stretch them out again.
  4. Repeat this movement several times, breathing deeply.

Qi Gong exercises before sleep

Qi Gong is a gentle exercise that involves slow, flowing movements and deep breathing. It’s great for reducing stress and helps your body relax. Here are a few simple Qi Gong exercises you can try before bed:

1. Belly breathing

This exercise involves deep breathing, which can help calm the mind and relax the body.

  1. Lie on your back with your hands on your belly.
  2. Take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your belly with air.
  3. Exhale through your mouth, pushing all the air out of your belly.
  4. Repeat this movement several times, focusing on your breath.

2. Golden light meditation

This exercise involves visualizing a golden light that fills your body with warmth and relaxation.

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  2. Close your eyes and imagine a golden light above your head.
  3. Visualize the light flowing down through your body, filling each part of your body with warmth and relaxation.
  4. Focus on the feeling of relaxation in your body, breathing deeply.

3. Calming the heart exercise

This exercise involves placing your hands over your heart and focusing on your breath, which can help calm the mind and promote relaxation.

  1. Sit or stand in a comfortable position.
  2. Place your hands over your heart.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  4. Focus on the feeling of your hands on your heart and the rhythm of your breath.

Recommendations for exercising before sleep

How long should I do these exercises for?
It’s recommended to do these exercises for at least 10-15 minutes before bed.

Can I do these exercises in bed?
Yes, you can do these exercises in bed if that’s more comfortable for you.

Do I need any special equipment to do these exercises?
No, you don’t need any special equipment to do these exercises.

Can I do these exercises if I have a medical condition?
If you have a medical condition, it’s best to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

Can children do these exercises?
Yes, children can do these exercises as long as they’re supervised by an adult.

Conclusion

Incorporating a few simple exercises into your nightly routine can help you sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed. Whether you choose to do yoga, tai chi, or qi gong exercises, the benefits of doing exercises before sleep are numerous. So why not give it a try and see how it can improve your sleep? While exercising, we suggest you to include aromatherapy as part of your wind-down routine. Aromatherapy helps you create a relaxing, healing environment. Check out our Bonsoir Diffuser Nebuliser, and get free 2 essential oil bottles!

Note: This article is intended as a lifestyle guide, and is not a medical guide. If you have long-term pain or are unable to sleep for more than 3 weeks, we suggest you head on to your nearest healthcare professional and get an official diagnoses and treatment.