Oh my gosh is it Spring already? Just about! Since we’re going to be setting those clocks back (and losing an hour of sleep!) let’s talk about New Yorkers’ number one problem…not being well rested. Whether you’re stressed, in pain, or just don’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done, getting enough sleep (and a restful night of sleep) is a big part of the solution. So read along for some of our favorite exercises to combat the insomnia and help you feel more relaxed and rested!
Top 4 Exercises for Feeling More Rested
These exercises can be done at any point throughout your day to help you relax and release. For the New Yorker on the go though, we want you to make these part of your nighttime routine. Our recommendation? Do them right after you brush your teeth and before you get in bed…or the second you walk in the door if you’re someone who stays up too late doing nothing important (wink, smile).
1. The all-time favorite. The first step to getting a good night’s sleep is giving your brain time to wind down.
- Part A- Breathing: Lie on your back on a full length foam roller and take 3 full breaths letting your chest and belly rise and fall. Allow your bones to be heavy.
- Part B- Arm Circles: Cross your arms over your chest like you’re giving yourself a hug. Then take both arms up overhead like you’re taking off your shirt. Exhale as you bring your arms wide through a snow angel down to your hips. Repeat. After a few rounds, reverse the direction of your arms.
- Part C – Cactus: Make a cactus, goal posts or “stick’em up” position with your arms and try to relax them towards the ground. Breathe and gently rock side to side to feel your chest open.
Travel tip: Don’t have a foam roller? Supplement by rolling up a towel.
2. The roll down. Let go of the weight that gravity has been resting on your shoulders all day!
- Version A– Seated: Sit with your legs at least hip width apart and your hands and arms hanging inside of your thighs. Gently allow your chin to fall to your chest and roll down the spine. Think of letting your head and arms be heavy the whole time. Initiate your roll back up to sitting from your sitting bones and stack the spine one vertebrae at a time. Let your head stay heavy. The head should be the last thing to stack up.
- Version B- Standing: Stand with your legs about fist distance apart. Gently allow your chin to fall to your chest and roll down the spine. Think of letting your head and arms be heavy the whole time. Do not lock your knees. At the bottom of your roll down bend and stretch your legs three times. With knees bent, initiate your roll back up to standing from your sitting bones and stack the spine one vertebrae at a time. Let your head stay heavy. The head should be the last thing to stack up.
3. Brain Relaxer. We spend so much time using what’s in our head that sometimes we have to remember to let it go! Put a half inflated over-ball underneath your head while lying on your back.
- Variation A: Nod your head “yes” thinking of pouring the weight of your skull into the ball as you roll.
- Variation B: Nod your head “no” thinking of pouring the weight of your skull into the ball as you roll.
- Variation C: Imagine you have a paint brush on the end of your nose and paint circles on the ceiling by rolling your head in a small circle. Repeat and then reverse directions.
4. For the morning. This version of rolling out your feet is great for bringing some energy to the start of your day.
- Grab a pinky ball or tennis ball and place it underneath the bottom your foot.
- Gently pressing down roll the ball all over the bottom of your foot as if you’re scrubbing it.
Think you might need a visual aid tutorial to help you? We’ll be sending out weekly videos in the newsletter (so make sure you’re signed up: Here! and posting @dynamicbodypilates on Instagram #DBPtutorials