What Can Foam Rollers Do for You? Better Sleep, for Starters.

Relax. Do it. When you want to go to it. By it we mean bed.

By Reuben Brody

Three Foam Roller Exercises That'll Lead to Better ZZZs
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11 May 2016

Stretching before bed will help you sleep.

That’s not science. It’s experience.

Between working out, running and hunching over devices, it’s very easy to forget how much tension can build up in your body. And taking 15 minutes to do some restorative yoga each night will make a huge difference once you lay down your head.

The other thing you’re gonna want to do: pick up a foam roller and learn how to put it to work. They’re great at releasing muscle tension — an inanimate masseuse, if you will.

“So, uh, how the hell’s it work?” Don’t worry: that was our question, too.

So we reached out to trainer and nutritionist Lauren Roxburgh, who taught us three restorative simple exercises to help you relax after a long day.

Snow Angel
Lie supine on the roller with your spine supported from head to tailbone and your arms extended down by your sides, with the palms of your hands facing up (this will open and expand the chest). Inhale deeply as you reach your arms up overhead slowly and with control, keeping them as close to the mat as possible and parallel to the floor. Exhale completely as you draw your arms back down to your sides. Repeat eight times.

Roll Out the Kinks
Lie supine with the roller horizontal under your mid-back. Interlace your fingers behind your head to support your head and neck. Using your feet to drive the movement, inhale and roll the foam up your back, stopping at the top of the shoulder blades. Then roll back in the opposite direction as you exhale, massaging down your spine until the roller reaches the bottom of your ribcage. Be careful not to roll back and forth on the lower back. Repeat 8-10 times.

Rolling Twist
Place your right shin in front of you and your left shin out to the left so that your knees are staggered (see video above). Place the roller to the right of you and put the palms of your hands on the roller. Reach and lift your sides and lift through the top of your head. Inhale and roll the roller up your forearms to just below your elbows. Exhale as you roll back up to the starting position. Repeat 5-8 times each side.

Nota bene: If you haven’t been to a restorative yoga class — one that holds restive poses for minutes at a time with the help of bolsters — schedule one. Your muscles will thank you.  

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