Is Getting Out Of Bed A Daunting Task For You? Here Are 4 Ways To Put A Stop To Morning Aches And Stiffness
Wondering why you’re feeling so stiff and achy in the morning? Could it be an old, uncomfortable, mattress? An unsupportive pillow? An ill-suited sleeping position? Maybe you have an underlying health condition like osteoarthritis? What about dehydration? Maybe it’s a combination of these issues, or maybe it’s something else entirely.
Whatever the reason, morning aches and stiffness is no joke! Waking up with serious and distracting pain in your body can hamper your mood and body for hours after. In order to get your day started in the right direction and help yourself feel more limber and energized in the morning, check out these four top tips from our physical therapy team.
1. Make Water A Must
Whether it be through your sweat or breath, your body loses a lot of water at night while you’re sleeping. So, you may not be surprised to learn that it’s not unusual to wake up in the morning and be super dehydrated.
Unfortunately, dehydration is a known contributor to stiff, sore, and achy muscles and joints since our tissues will not get the water they need to feel and function at their best.
Of course, we know many people prefer a fresh cup of java before anything else. But before you reach for your cup o’ Joe, consider drinking one or two cold glasses of water instead. This will refresh and energize you, replenish your body’s water stores, and may help your body. Another positive to starting your day off with some water is that drinking more may help you lose weight, and we know obesity is linked to chronic pain.
2. Take A Breath
Deep breathing is so powerful that it’s routinely used as a way to relax the body, put it at ease, alleviate tension and stress, and decrease pain. Using your breath as a tool to do all of these things can be a powerful and vital step to increasing your body’s overall health and putting it and your mind in a relaxed state for the rest of your day.
Worried that there isn’t an exercise that is best for you? Well we have some good news! There are a wide variety of breathing exercises and methods that have helped thousands of people like yourself who struggle with morning aches and stiffness. The hardest part will be just choosing one!
A popular method is called box breathing (aka square breathing or 4×4 breathing). To do this simple but effective exercise, breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, then exhale through your mouth for a count of 4, and finally hold for a count of 4 before breathing in again. Repeat these steps for 1 to 2 minutes.
Another type of breathing you could try is diaphragmatic breathing, or as it’s often called, “belly breathing”. It’s used in all kinds of techniques like yoga and meditation and can lower your stress levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and regulate other important bodily processes.
3. Get A Move On!
Some of us toss and turn more than others, but no matter who you are, everybody moves their bodies less often when we’re asleep compared to when we’re awake. This can slow circulation and cause our tissues to become stiff, especially if we sleep in odd positions or have underlying health issues like arthritis.
Also just so we’re clear: the reason for your achy back may not just be your mattress. Spinal discs become imbibed with fluid at night as we sleep horizontally (since gravity compresses our spines less in this position). While this is a normal physiological process, it can make our backs feel incredibly stiff leading to much bigger problems later on.
One of the best ways to stimulate circulation, increase tissue perfusion, and loosen up your connective tissues is to get moving! So, try to do some kind of physical activity soon after you wake up. This could be as simple as doing some stretches and exercises while lying or sitting on your bed, a gentle yoga flow, or maybe even a brisk walk around your neighborhood.
But make sure to always consult with your doctor, physical therapist, or other appropriate healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routines. Speaking of which…
4. Have A Conversation With Your Physical Therapist
If your morning achiness is severe enough to cause you to stress or affect your daily life, it may be time to consult with a physical therapist. He or she will diagnose and manage many underlying health conditions and guide you in a direction that will give you the best treatment possible. He or she can also offer tips on improving your sleep hygiene and posture, and prescribe interventions that will maximize your connective tissue health overall and help you feel and function better.
Don’t let those pesky aches and pain get in the way of having a beautiful day, talk to your physical therapist now!