Winter is here and with it comes a certain reluctance to drag ourselves out of bed in the mornings. Even us here at eve hq have been burying our heads in the warmth of the duvet for longer than we ought to. And so, we wanted to find out if there is anything we can do to make that necessary morning transition from being snuggled in the warm and comforting embrace of our beds to the up and at ‘em mindset that is so much easier to achieve in the summertime!
Well, it turns out there is!
Stretching is a great way to send those signals to your body to brace itself for action. But we wanted to know even more. Like, why is this the case? And, are there any stretches that are more effective than others when it comes to springing out of bed in the wintertime?
Here’s what we learned.
why does stretching make a difference to our morning routines?
First and foremost, we wanted to find out the why. So, here’s they sciency link between stretching and our ability to get moving in the mornings.
It turns out that us humans aren’t much different from animals. After being asleep a while, stretching is necessary for us too! Stretching helps to increase the blood flow to your muscles which, in turn, tells them it’s time to wake up (1)!
Now, onto the more important part of our discovery – which stretches are the best ones in the morning? Let’s learn more!
The best stretches to add to your morning wakeup regime
Here are the very best stretches to work into those cold winter mornings.
1. cobra stretch
This one is a popular yoga pose and can be completed while you’re still in bed thus providing you with the perfect excuse to remain snug as a bug for a couple more minutes!
Start by lying on your stomach with your hands placed palm down on the mattress directly beneath your shoulders. Then, tuck your elbows into your sides and slowly lift your head and chest while your hips, legs and groin remain in contact with the bed. If comfortable, deepen the stretch by raising your chin slightly.
With the cobra stretch, it’s important to remember to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. Once in position, hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Then, slowly release the stretch as you lower back down. Repeat this cycle for 8 to 10 reps (2).
2. spinal twist
This is another yoga stretch that’s best completed in bed!
Start by lying on your back. Then, raise one of your knees and roll it across to the opposite side.
With the spinal twist, it’s key to ensure that both of your shoulders maintain contact with the bed throughout the stretch. If you’d like to deepen the stretch, you can stretch one arm out to the side. Keep your arm it in line with your shoulders, and then turn your head towards your outstretched arm (or away from your crossed-over knee). Providing you’re doing it right; you’ll be able to feel this stretch along the sides of your torso and across your lower back.
Once you can feel the stretch, take a deep breath, and hold it for 15-20 seconds. Then repeat that on the opposite side (3).
And yes, you’ve guessed it! This is another morning stretch that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own bed.
To begin this exercise, you need to be lying flat on your back. Then, raise one of your knees up to your chest and hold it in position – whether you use your arms or your hands is up to you.
If you’re doing the knees-to-chest stretch correctly, you’ll feel it in your lower back. If you’d like to deepen the stretch, bring both knees up to your chest at the same time. Then, hold the stretch for 30 seconds (4).
4. morning shoulder stretch
Move from the lying on your back position into a seated on the edge of your bed one. You can also do this one standing (if you’re brave enough to leave the warmth of your mattress) if you’d prefer to deepen the stretch.
Start by standing next to your bed or seated on the edge of it if you prefer. Your feet should be approximately shoulder-width apart. Then, intertwine your fingers from both your left and right hand and raise your hands right up and above your head with both palms facing upwards.
You should feel this one in your arms, your shoulders, your shoulder blades, and your rib cage too if you’re doing it right. Hold the morning shoulder stretch for 10 seconds and release. You can repeat the cycle 5-7 times (5).
5. neck rotation stretch
And finally, we reach the next rotation stretch. This simple but effective stretch will ensure your neck has full range of motion each and every morning. Again, you can remain seated on the edge of your bed or stand if you prefer. Either way, your feet need to be flat on the floor and roughly shoulder-width apart.
Start by pressing your chin to your chest. Then slowly rotate your neck in a circle – try to see if you can make your ears touch your shoulders if you can! Repeat the process 5 times and then switch direction for the same amount of repetitions. Essentially, you want to rotate your neck 5 times in a clockwise direction and 5 times in an anti-clockwise direction (6).
our final thoughts on stretching in the morning:
Stretching is rarely a bad thing to do. It can hep us improve our range of motion and relieve tension caused by life’s many stresses at the same time. And stretching in the morning is a good way to prepare your body to get moving. So, start small and try to keep it up on a daily basis. As and when you feel confident, you can always add some more stretches to your waking up routine.
And, if you find yourself in need of a new mattress to rest your head upon, our collection has you covered.