Many of us struggle to get a good night’s sleep. In a recent blog post, I talked about how your body doesn’t differentiate between physical stress and mental stress. For example, if you are stressed about something at work or with your family, your whole body tenses up as if preparing for an actual physical attack or threat. On the flip side of that equation, if you have been sitting all day long and your back is “killing” you, you’re likely to be mentally stressed about it. These scenarios can lead to an ongoing cycle of both physical and mental stress.
One of the easiest ways to help calm the nervous system to help you fall asleep at night is by accessing your breath. Here is one of my favorite exercises specifically to take tension out of the neck, jaw, and back –
Lie on your back with the foam roller under the full length of your spine and literally hug your self. This gently constricts the front of the chest and “forces” you to breath into your back body…but keep the breathing gentle so you don’t cramp. If you’re really tight a couple of small crunches first will help you get the back even a bit more open here.
Watch the video here:
While I haven’t cured the stress of your entire life with this brief exercise, it is a step in the right direction of getting a better night’s sleep and reducing some pain inducing stress.
*Not all exercises are appropriate for every body. If you have questions or concerns about whether these exercises are appropriate and helpful for you please contact me at [email protected].
For more on this topic, click here for part three of the conversation.