14 Stretches You Can Do From Bed, Morning or Night

Medically reviewed by
 Dr. Devon Hoffman, Physical Therapy, CSCS, OTS

Dr. Devon Hoffman, Physical Therapy, CSCS, OTS

In the picturesque state of Idaho, the driving force behind RISE train is none other than Dr. Devon Hoffman. Born and bred in the gem state, Devon’s journey into the…

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Last Updated On April 11th, 2024
14 Stretches You Can Do From Bed, Morning or Night

Key Takeaways

  • Morning Routine Boost: Starting your day with a few minutes of stretching in bed can help alleviate stiffness, increase flexibility, and prepare your body for the day ahead. These gentle exercises can energize you and promote better circulation, setting a positive tone for the day.
  • Improved Flexibility and Posture: Incorporating bed stretches into your daily routine can lead to improved flexibility, reduced muscle tension, and better posture. Targeting key muscle groups like the lower back, upper back, and neck helps prevent pain, tightness, and stiffness, promoting overall physical well-being.
  • Consistency is Key: Consistently performing these stretches, either in the morning or before bed, is crucial for experiencing their full benefits. Dedicate 5 to 10 minutes daily to this routine for at least two weeks to notice significant improvements in sleep quality, pain levels, and overall comfort. Remember, it’s never too late to start stretching, and even small, consistent efforts can yield significant long-term benefits.

Waking up with stiff muscles and creaky joints can make it difficult to start your day off on the right foot. However, by taking just a few minutes to stretch before getting out of bed, you can help your body feel more relaxed, energized, and ready to face the day ahead.

Bed stretches are a gentle and effective way to improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and promote better circulation. Plus, the soft surface of your mattress provides extra cushioning and support, making it the perfect place to perform these simple yet beneficial exercises.

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Regular stretches can also help combat the sedentary effects of an office lifestyle or similar, without taking up too much time in your day! They can help ensure good posture

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of bed stretches and provide a variety of stretches targeting different muscle groups to help you create a morning or evening routine that works for you.

14 Bed Stretches

These stretches target various muscle groups, including the lower back, hips, abdominals, upper back, shoulders, and chest. Incorporating these stretches into a daily routine can help improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation.

Overhead Stretch

  • Sit or stand, interlace fingers and stretch arms overhead toward ceiling
  • Inhale deeply, hold a few seconds, exhale and bring arms down

Low Back Stretch

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed.
  • Gently lift your hips off the bed, feeling a stretch in your lower back.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds, then slowly lower your hips back to the bed.
  • Repeat 5-10 times, focusing on maintaining a smooth and controlled movement.

Upper Back Stretch

  • Sit up in bed with your legs crossed.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your head, with your elbows pointing out to the sides.
  • Gently pull your elbows back, feeling a stretch in your upper back and shoulders.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, then release and repeat 2-3 times.

Neck Stretch

  • Sit up in bed with your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed.
  • Gently tilt your head to the right, bringing your right ear towards your right shoulder.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, feeling a stretch on the left side of your neck.
  • Slowly bring your head back to the center, then repeat on the left side, tilting your head to the left and bringing your left ear towards your left shoulder.
  • Perform 2-3 repetitions on each side.

Knee To Chest Pull

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended.
  • Bend one knee and bring it towards your chest.
  • Grasp your knee with both hands and gently pull it closer to your chest, feeling a stretch in your lower back and hip.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, then release and repeat with the other leg.

Thoracolumbar Rotation

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed.
  • Extend your arms out to the sides, forming a “T” shape.
  • Keeping your shoulders flat on the bed, gently lower your knees to one side, feeling a stretch in your lower back and hips.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, then bring your knees back to the center and repeat on the other side.


  • Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart.
  • Slowly arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling, feeling a stretch in your abdominal muscles.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds, then slowly round your back, tucking your chin to your chest and feeling a stretch in your upper back.
  • Repeat this sequence 5-10 times, moving smoothly between each position.

Thoracic Archers

  • Sit on your heels with your knees slightly apart.
  • Extend your arms in front of you, then slowly lower your forehead towards the bed, keeping your arms extended.
  • Feel a stretch in your upper back and shoulders as you hold this position for 15-30 seconds.
  • Slowly lift your head and arms back to the starting position and repeat 2-3 times.

Side-lying Chest Openers

  • Lie on your side with your knees bent and your arms extended in front of you, palms together.
  • Keeping your lower arm on the bed, slowly lift your top arm up and back, opening your chest and feeling a stretch in your shoulder and upper back.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, then slowly lower your arm back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 2-3 times, then switch sides and repeat on the other side.

Cobra Stretch

  • Lie face down, legs extended
  • Keep legs/pelvis grounded, walk hands to chest to lift torso
  • Relax shoulders, lower head back, hold 30 seconds

Cat and Cow Pose

  • Kneel, reach hands forward wider than shoulders
  • Inhale, arch back up, head falls between shoulders
  • Exhale, round back, scoop belly, head and neck come up

Butterfly Position

  • Sit with feet pressed together, knees wide
  • Inhale keeping spine long, exhale and fold forward
  • Press elbows to inner knees to open hips, hold 30+ seconds

Child’s Pose

  • Kneel, sit back on heels, fold forward resting forehead on the bed
  • Extend arms in front or alongside body, hold up to 5 minutes

The Significance of Stretching

Dr. Hoffman emphasizes the importance of low back, upper back, and neck stretching to prevent pain, tightness, and stiffness upon waking up in the morning. Low back stretching helps to maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of lower back pain, which is a common issue for many people. Neglecting low back stretches can lead to increased stiffness, reduced mobility, and a higher likelihood of developing chronic pain.

Similarly, upper back stretching is crucial for maintaining good posture and reducing the risk of upper back and shoulder pain. Failing to stretch the upper back regularly can result in rounded shoulders, poor posture, and increased tension in the neck and shoulder area.

Neck stretching is equally important, as it helps to alleviate tension headaches, improve range of motion, and reduce the risk of neck pain. Neglecting neck stretches can lead to stiffness, reduced mobility, and an increased likelihood of developing chronic neck pain.

Recommended Stretching Routine

Dr. Hoffman recommends performing these stretches daily for two weeks to experience the full benefits. He suggests dedicating 5 to 10 minutes per day to the stretching routine, which can be done either in the morning or before bed.

Many of Dr. Hoffman’s clients have reported significant improvements in their sleep quality and pain levels after just one week of consistent stretching.

Tips for Ensuring Proper Form

To ensure that you are performing the stretches correctly, Dr. Hoffman recommends recording yourself and comparing your form side by side with the video. This allows you to make any necessary adjustments to your technique and maximize the benefits of the stretches.

Relaxation Techniques to Complement Your Bed Stretches

In addition to stretching, there are several other activities that can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Incorporating these techniques into your bedtime routine can further enhance the benefits of your bed stretches and create a more peaceful and restful sleep environment.

Herbal Tea

Sipping on a warm cup of herbal tea for sleep, such as chamomile, valerian root, or lavender, can have a calming effect on the body and mind. These herbs are known for their relaxing properties and can help you unwind before bed.


Taking a few minutes to write down your thoughts, feelings, or experiences from the day can help clear your mind and reduce stress. Journaling before bed can also be a useful tool for setting intentions, expressing gratitude, or working through challenging emotions.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Practicing deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing or the 4-7-8 technique, can help slow down your heart rate, reduce anxiety, and promote a sense of calm. These exercises can be done in bed, either before or after your stretches.

Weighted Blankets

Using a weighted blanket can provide a comforting and soothing sensation, similar to a gentle hug. The added weight can help reduce restlessness, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality for some individuals.


Engaging in a visualization practice can help quiet the mind and create a sense of inner peace. There are many guided visualization exercises available online or through apps that can be done while lying in bed.


Should you stretch when you get out of bed?

Yes, stretching when you get out of bed is highly recommended. Stretching first thing in the morning helps to reduce stiffness, improve flexibility, and prepare your body for the day ahead. It can also help to alleviate any pain or tension that may have developed during the night, promoting a more comfortable and productive day.

Is it better to stretch at morning or night?

The best time to stretch depends on individual preferences and schedules. Stretching in the morning can help to energize the body and reduce stiffness, while stretching at night can promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a time that works best for you and stick to a consistent stretching routine.

What happens if you don’t stretch regularly?

Failing to stretch regularly can lead to a variety of negative consequences, including increased stiffness, reduced flexibility, and a higher risk of developing chronic pain. Over time, lack of stretching can also lead to poor posture, muscle imbalances, and a decreased range of motion, which can impact daily activities and overall quality of life.

Regular stretching helps to counteract these effects, promoting better physical function and reducing the risk of injury.

Is it OK if I stretch in bed every day?

Yes, stretching every day is perfectly fine and even encouraged. Incorporating a daily stretching routine into your morning or bedtime ritual can help to improve flexibility, reduce pain, and promote better sleep.

As long as you are using proper form and not pushing yourself too far, daily bed stretches can be a convenient and effective way to maintain physical well-being.

Is it ever too late to stretch from the bed?

No, it is never too late to start stretching, whether during the day or in your life. Regardless of age or fitness level, incorporating stretching into your daily routine can provide numerous benefits.

While it may take some time to see significant improvements in flexibility and pain reduction, regular stretching can help to promote better physical function and overall well-being at any stage of life.

Who should not stretch in the morning?

While morning stretching is generally safe and beneficial for most people, there are a few instances where individuals should consult with a healthcare professional before starting a stretching routine. This includes people with certain medical conditions, such as severe osteoporosis, recent fractures, or acute injuries.

Additionally, individuals who experience severe pain or discomfort during stretching should stop and seek medical advice to rule out any underlying issues.


Incorporating bed stretches into your daily routine is a simple yet powerful way to promote physical and mental well-being. Whether you choose to stretch in the morning to energize your body for the day ahead or in the evening to unwind and relax before sleep, the benefits are numerous.

By targeting key muscle groups and focusing on proper form and breathing, you can help alleviate pain, reduce stiffness, and improve your overall sense of comfort and ease. Remember, it’s never too late to start stretching, and even a few minutes of daily practice can make a significant difference in how you feel.

So, take a moment to listen to your body, find a comfortable spot on your bed, and enjoy the many benefits of this gentle and restorative practice.

About the author

April Mayer is a sleep expert and writer with a degree in exercise physiology. She has dedicated her career to exploring the relationship between sleep and productivity. Her insightful articles, such as "The Surprising Way Your Mood Might Be Messing With Your Productivity" and "Wake Up to More Productive Mornings," have been featured in reputable publications like Forbes, Greatist, Real Homes, Thrillist, Tom's Guide, and Eat This, Not That. With a passion for helping others lead more productive lives through restful sleep, April offers valuable expertise on foods and vitamins for better sleep. As a trusted member of the Early Bird team since March 2020, she continues to provide informative and well-researched content.

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