Bedroom Exercises You Can Do for Better Sleep
From yoga to cardio, we cover all the best workouts you can do from the comfort of your bedroom.
Apr 29th, 2020 •
Having trouble sleeping? Thanks to all of the COVID-19 stress, insomnia and restless sleep is not uncommon right now.
But stress may not be the only factor interrupting your sleep. Social distancing guidelines make going to the gym impossible, which means you may be struggling to get your daily dose of exercise. Physical activity has been shown to improve mental health and it’s a great way to ensure better sleep. But rest assured, even if you can’t make it to the gym right now, you can still get a good workout at home.
Using everyday objects and furniture around your home, you can do a wide variety of exercises at home that will get your heart rate up, bring your stress down, and help you get a better night’s sleep.
First and foremost, try to do these exercises in the morning or afternoon, not in the evening. Studies show that the extra stimulation and raised body temperature of evening or night exercise can actually keep you awake. The only exception is a very gentle yoga routine. If it’s not too strenuous, nighttime yoga can actually help calm your mind and encourage better sleep. Strength training, on the other hand, is definitely a better idea in the morning or afternoon.
In this article, we’ll review various workouts you can do from the convenience of your bedroom to keep up with the physical activity that helps you get better ZZZs at night.
Do you struggle to get out of bed in the morning to actually do your exercise? What if you didn’t have to get out of bed at all? Mattress yoga is a great way to get more physical activity without straining yourself too much. Plus, in these stressful times, it can be a great way to calm your mind and enter the day with a clear mindset.
Before you get started, you’ll want to consider whether your mattress is suited for yoga. Extra soft mattresses, like those made of memory foam, may be hard to move around in, while firmer mattresses like innerspring mattresses may be a little too bouncy for yoga. Hybrid mattresses are typically best for yoga because they are made with a combination of foam, coils, or latex. The mixture makes the mattress firm enough to support movement, but not so firm that you are bouncing all over the place whenever you change position.
Speaking of yoga positions, here are a few that work really well for mattress yoga:
Reclining Goddess Pose
Start by lying flat on your back. Bring your feet up toward your center. With the soles of your feet touching, allow your knees to fall out to the sides as far as is comfortable. Leave your hands at your sides. If you need supports to keep your knees from stretching too far, you can place pillows under them.
Easy Supine Twist
For this pose, continue lying flat on your back. Bring your knees up toward your chest, then bring them gently down to your left. Stretch your arms out on either side and turn your head to the right. Then repeat the pose in reverse, with your knees on your right and your head facing left.
Start this pose by lying on your back and lifting your feet up in the air. Use your hands to grip the outsides of your feet, then open up your knees a little wider than your shoulders. Drop your knees down closer to the bed and push your feet into your hands to create resistance. Finally, rock gently back and forth in a way that is comfortable to get the blood flowing.
If you aren’t all that flexible and you’d rather work on strengthening your muscles, pilates or barre exercises are a great home workout option.
Pilates is a low-impact form of strength training that focuses largely on strengthening the core. Barre exercises use elements of pilates, yoga, and ballet to create a whole new type of strength training. Usually you would do barre exercises at a gym with an actual ballet barre, but while we’re all practicing social distancing, you can actually use an ordinary chair to get your barre exercises in.
Common pilates exercises include variations on planks, crunches, leg lifts, and more. Barre exercises, on the other hand, are a little less well-known, so we’ll walk you through three great beginner exercises.
Flat Back Folder with Knee Pedals
For this exercise, place your palms on the back of a chair and step back until your back is completely flat. Bend your right knee and lift your left hip upwards. Then straighten your knee and drop your hip back into a neutral position. Repeat on the opposite side to complete one rep.
This exercise is named after the narrow V that is created with your feet as you do it. Start by standing to the side of the chair with one hand gently resting on the back of the chair. Place your heels together, but turn your legs outward so your toes are approximately four inches apart in that narrow V. Stand up on the balls of your feet so that your heels hover off the ground slightly, then enter into a narrow plie, making sure to keep your hips and shoulders aligned. Hold the plie for five deep breaths, then stand back straight.
Start this exercise by standing next to the chair with one hand resting on the back, then take a wide step away from the chair. Turn your toes to 2 and 10 o’clock, and bend your knees as you slide down an imaginary wall, being sure to keep your shoulders and hips aligned. Engage your core and hold for five deep breaths, then stand straight.
Another great form of exercise you can do at home is cardio. Don’t love running? Don’t worry, there are plenty of cardio exercises you can do in your own bedroom. The goal of cardio is to get your heart rate up to improve cardiovascular endurance, and it’s definitely not necessary to go running to make that happen.
Before you jump into cardio though, it’s important to be safe. Warmups and cool downs are very important for cardio workouts to safely bring your heart rate up and back down. Lunges, planks, and butt kicks are all great warmup and cool down exercises, just be sure you’re doing them at a fairly low intensity.
Another tip for staying safe while doing cardio is tracking your heart rate. Your maximum safe heart rate is 220 minus your age, and even if you’re aiming to do very rigorous exercise, you shouldn’t aim to go any higher than 85% of your maximum heart rate. If you’re looking for a more moderate exercise, 50-70% will be very effective. You can take your pulse manually after various exercises, but it will likely be much easier to do this with a fitness tracker.
Once you’re prepared to do your cardio workout safely, all you need to do is clear a space in your bedroom. You don’t need a ton of space, just enough room to move around a little to get that heart rate up. Three great cardio exercises you can do at home are sumo squat thrusts, mountain climbers, and high knees.
Sumo Squat Thrusts
Start by standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width, with your toes pointed slightly outward at a 45-degree angle. Make sure your shoulders are in line with your hips, then squat downward, keeping your torso straight. When your thighs are parallel (or nearly parallel) with the ground, jump up, straightening your legs, and land in the same starting position, being careful to land with soft knees.
Start in a push-up position with your shoulders in line with your wrists. Then, lift your left knee in toward your chest. Bring your left foot back to starting position, then draw your right knee in toward your chest. Bring your right foot back to starting position, then repeat these motions in quick succession.
Start this exercise by standing straight up and bending your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Then, use your core to lift your right knee up toward your chest, while balancing on your left foot and swinging your left arm forward. Then, put your right foot back down, and use your core to bring your left knee toward your chest, swinging your right arm forward. Repeat these motions in quick succession.
Another great type of exercise is sculpting, a type of strength training that focuses on toning your muscles rather than bulking them up. Sculpting exercises can use weights or resistance bands, but those things aren’t necessary. You can do sculpting workouts at home using your own body weight as the weight or resistance.
Below, we’ve outlined three sculpting exercises you can do at home, and all you need is a couch or bed frame and some space to move around.
Assisted Tricep Dips
Start this exercise by sitting on the edge of your couch or bed. Place your hands on either side of your hips with your fingers facing forward. Place your weight on your hands, lift your body up, and walk your feet out until your knees are in line with your heels. Then, bend your elbows 90-degrees, lowering your hips toward the floor. Complete the exercise by straightening your elbows to lift your hips back up. Repeat the exercise, being sure to keep your back parallel to the front of the couch, don’t angle or slouch.
Extended Glute Bridge
Start by lying on your back with your feet up on your couch or bed. Your knees and hips should not be exactly in line, your knees should be slightly closer to the couch than your hips. Then, press your feet against the couch or bed to lift your butt off the ground and raise your hips toward the ceiling until your shoulders, hips, and knees form a straight line, squeezing your glutes. Lower your hips back to the ground and repeat.
Elevated Chest Press
For this last exercise, you’ll want to get some soup cans from the kitchen (or dumbbells if you have them). Rest your head and shoulders on your couch or bed, make sure your knees are bent at 90-degrees, and your feet are shoulder-width apart. Lift your hips so that your shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line. Take a dumbbell or soup can in each hand, then bend your elbows to 90-degrees so they are straight out from your shoulders. Then extend your arms to lift the dumbbells or soup cans up toward the ceiling. End by bending your elbows back to the starting position.
HIIT, or high-intensity-interval-training, is a form of exercise that focuses on burning fat more quickly than you would through non-interval training. High-intensity intervals bring your heart rate up quickly and maintain that raised heart rate for a short period of time, then it is followed by a short recovery interval. Typically, these recovery intervals still involve a light activity to keep your heart rate elevated.
HIIT workouts are great for anyone who is working out in order to lose weight or anyone who wants to get a high-quality workout but doesn’t have a lot of time. Two benefits of HIIT workouts is that they are fast and they boost your metabolism to encourage weight-loss. The high-intensity of the intervals means that you can get the same benefits of a long, moderate-intensity workout in half the time.
Right now, with all of us stuck at home suddenly taking on the roles of teacher, employee, parent, partner, and more, time is definitely limited. If you enjoy high-intensity workouts, you can get the same benefits from a long workout in just 20 minutes of HIIT.
The HIIT exercises we describe below all use only one piece of equipment that everyone has: a wall. So if your time, space, and equipment are limited, these HIIT workouts are a great solution.
Start by standing with your back against the wall, feet hip-width apart. Then, walk your feet away from the wall about one to two feet. Slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel with the ground, making sure that your back is pressed against the wall and your knees are in line with your ankles. Hold this position for one full minute.
Start this exercise by lying flat on your back with your butt against the wall and both feet raised in the air. Move your body away from the wall approximately one to two feet, and bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle with your foot against the wall. Keep your left leg raised in the air without touching the wall. Place your arms at your side with your palms face down, then squeeze your glutes and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Lower your hips back down to the ground, then repeat. Switch sides after doing 15 reps.
Tricep Wall Push-Ups
Start by placing your hands and forearms against the wall, slightly below shoulder height. Walk your feet backwards, away from the wall around two to three feet. Press against the wall with your hands, pushing your body away from the wall so that your forearms come away from the wall. Then return to the starting position. To make this exercise easier, move your hands upwards. To make it more challenging, you can lower your hands or move your feet back further.
No matter what kind of exercise you choose to do, it’s absolutely vital that you include stretching in your workout. Even on its own, stretching can be a powerful tool for wellness. Stretching before a workout keeps your muscles flexible which means you can get more out of your workout because your muscles will be able to extend all the way.
Stretching after a workout is also important because it prevents lactic acid buildup which can lead to soreness. If you can’t bring yourself to exercise, but you still want to move your body, stretching is also great on its own. Stretching increases flexibility, prevents stiffness, and improves posture.
When stretching at home, you can stretch on your own, or you can use household objects like pillows to improve your stretch. Pillows can provide support, increased resistance, or simply added comfort in uncomfortable stretching positions. Two of the best stretches, especially for anyone sitting at their desk working from home all day, are a chest opening stretch and a spine stretch. Check out how to do them below.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
You can do this stretch on the floor, or if it’s more comfortable it’s perfectly okay to do it on your bed. Stretch one leg out and fold the other one in. Reach out to your toes and pull them backwards if possible. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch to extending your other leg, repeating the same stretch for 30 seconds and breathing while you do so.
Again, this stretch can be done on the floor or your bed, whichever is more comfortable. Start by lying on your stomach with your forearms flat on the floor/bed. Press up slightly, but do not cause any pain or intense strain. Your shoulders should be relaxed and you should feel a stretch in your abs and an extension in your spine.
Regardless of whether you like your workouts intense or relaxing, flexibility-based or strength-based, there are a wide variety of exercises you can do from your home, no equipment required. Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and improve sleep, which all of us could use right now, given the stressful state of the world.
And if you can’t get a moment away from your kids to do your own workout, have them join in! The importance of physical activity can be learned at a young age, plus, a good workout could wear them out and encourage a nice, long nap later on.
Just remember, no late-night exercises and be sure you’re being safe with your heart rate when doing cardio or HIIT workouts.