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Don’t stop moving: the secret to better sleep and brighter mornings

From prodding pains to restless legs, our reduced daily activity isn’t just impacting our minds. When our morning commute has become a walk to the kitchen and our lunch break is spent homeschooling the kids, this drop in physical movement can cause our bones, joints and muscles to take the strain, in turn affecting our sleep. The outcome? Groggy days.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Here at eve we know a thing or two about how to get those good quality zzz’s so you can spend your waking hours with a spring in your step. With the help of our sleep expert Dave Gibson we’re bringing you some easy peasy stretchy steps you can take at home. Don’t worry, we won’t be getting you to do burpees or sit ups. No, our wind down and wake up stretches are as simple as 1,2,3 and as relaxing as a cup of chamomile tea. And they could just be the secret to helping you wake up dancing each morning. Ah, bliss.

Movement and sleep: the lowdown

There’s a whole host of things trying their best to affect our sleep right now. From a change in routine to a messy mind, our ‘new normal’ of life at home has had a monopolising effect on daily life for many of us. Luckily, we’ve already tackled how a good home routine and detangling the mind can boost sleep, and now we’re onto the next big thing: movement.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not encouraging some Olympic-type running around your house every day – though hats off to you if that’s your thing – but it turns out that a series of gentle movements, like stretches, can help us to wind down after a long day.

According to Dave, “Gentle stretching is a great way of relaxing tight muscles and relieving stress before bed. As we do them they also help us switch off our mind as we start to focus on our body.”.

What we know

To uncover the nation’s sleep and dreaming habits during these uncertain times, we quizzed 2,000 Brits on what’s going on for them right now. While one in four said they are exercising more than ever before, 27% said they feel lethargic the next day. Could we be going wrong somewhere?

Curiously, 10% of those surveyed said they’re exercising later in the day than they were before ‘life at home’, so we think we could be onto something. “Our body temperature is actually designed to decrease as we sleep, so heating ourselves up with exercise that increases our heart rate too close to bedtime – like cardio – can keep us awake,” added Dave. “Gentler movement like stretching, yoga or pilates close to bed is fine.” If you’re unsure of where to start with timings, try our routine calculator to help you structure your day and get your movement in at times that won’t keep you up at night.

It’s not just movement that’s to blame, though. Our survey also revealed that a whopping 32% of us are worried about returning to ‘normal’ in the coming weeks, so we have a sneaky suspicion that worries could be impacting our sleep as much as a lack of movement.

Bust a move

Thankfully, we’ve found a solution that helps both body and mind in one. Dave knows a thing or two about stretches to aid sleep and body pains so has helped us put together a nifty stretch and flex guide. It’s easy to do from home and a doddle to follow.

The idea is to stretch before bedtime, ironing out the kinks of the day from our body – especially important if we have a tendency to hunch over a makeshift desk or when ‘WFB’ (that’s working from bed for you and me). At the same time, they bring our attention back to our breath, supremely useful if our minds are bogged down with the events of the day. That’ll leave you as relaxed as Mr Soft before you melt into bed and board the dream train.

For the morning – aka the most precious time of day – we’ve shared five simple flexes to wake up your body after that lovely night’s sleep. These focus on slowly stimulating your muscles, getting your blood pumping and your joints relaxed so that you can move seamlessly into your morning. Again, breathing deeply throughout each flex will help you focus on your movement and calm the nervous system. Now that’s something we can get on board with.

Simply download our guide to get started and say it with us: stretch, flex, breathe, relaxxx.

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