Waking up with muscle stiffness is a terrible way to start your day but unfortunately it’s an everyday reality for a large number of people. Our muscle regeneration slows as we age and the muscles that are created have less tone and ability to contract.
This, combined with common disorders such as fibromyalgia or arthritis, can lead to pain and stiffness in the morning. Luckily, there are some natural measures you can take to loosen up your muscles:
Heat is a great way to decrease muscle stiffness as it improves blood circulation, helping to deliver the oxygen and nutrients your tissues need. This can help you after waking in numerous ways.
For one, you could arrange your schedule to have a hot shower first thing in the morning for a quick fix. However, the American Pain Society believes that low-level heat applied for at least eight hours actually has a greater affect than short bursts.
This means measures like keeping your room heated throughout the night, wearing warm pyjamas or using an electric blanket could be more effective.
Stretching your muscles also helps improve your circulation, easing stiffness out of your muscles. Spending five minutes doing simple movements before bed and after waking can make a large difference to your day.
For example, if you wake up with a stiff neck, turn your head as far as you comfortably can in each direction and then try bring your ear as close to your shoulder as possible. Be sure to do the stretches slowly and apply gradual pressure until you feel a slight stretch.
If you can, hold the position for 20 seconds while breathing naturally for the best results.
Like stretching, massage can ease stiffness by increasing blood flow and manipulating your ligaments, tendons and muscles. However, it doesn’t require as much physicality, making it a popular choice for those with limited mobility.
It can be performed by a care giver and is also proven to reduce stress as it has the benefit of releasing endorphins. These endorphins are actually thought to help your body reduce aches as they naturally block pain signals.
Having a supportive mattress can prevent muscles from overly stiffening in the first place. If your mattress is too soft your muscles will be strained as they work to support your body, and if it’s too firm, it forces your body into uncomfortable positions.
Your mattress choice should depend upon your sleeping position. A rule of thumb is if you sleep on your stomach or back, try a medium-firm mattress to support your muscles while keeping your spine aligned. If you like to sleep on your side, choose a mattress that conforms to your body while still providing support.
We hope you find our tips useful in helping you to wake a little easier in the mornings. For more information on improving your sleep and related conditions, read our previous posts or check out our Facebook page!