Establishing a relaxing routine each night before bed that ensures a rested heart rate, even breathing rate and a good body temperature can be the key to securing a good night’s sleep. Some basic Pilates principles and exercises can be used to build this relaxing routine so you not only wake feeling refreshed but your Pilates practice will also improve with the daily repetition!
Before hopping into bed, lie for five minutes over your foam roller or a rolled up towel to open the mid back joints and stretch the chest muscles. This will assist your posture, put your chest in the best position for a good breathing pattern overnight and you’ll find it deeply relaxing.
Lying on your back with your knees bent up and head supported on a pillow is a great position to strengthen the neck stabilisers. Strengthening these muscles is a gentle and slow process, so it won’t produce an exercise response of increasing the heart and breathing rate. Plus it can also reduce neck pain and the incidence of headaches. Position the pillow so your neck is slightly bent forward and your chin lightly tucked. From here, gently and slowly nod your head as if “saying yes” and hold here for five seconds. Repeat ten times.
To increase your state of relaxation, spend the last five minutes before sleep practicing your Pilates or diaphragmatic breathing pattern. Letting the hands rest on the bottom of the rib cage, feel the expansion of the hands with your breath in and the fall with your breath out.
Article by Felicity Dan, Physio and Pilates co. Original article: www.thephysioandpilatesco.com/blog/pilatesforbettersleep