Andrea Metcalf demonstrates the butterfly.
As temperatures plummet and free time evaporates with holiday obligations, personal trainer Andrea Metcalf 's third Live-ilates lesson—called Sleep-ilates—couldn't come at a more crucial time on the calendar.
With winter's shorter days, longer work hours, more trips to the store and late-night celebrations, your normal eating schedule may fall to the wayside. All of a sudden, you could find yourself confronted with a choice: To stay healthy, do I devote time to exercise or to sleep?

My vote is sleep. Sleep helps rejuvenate the body and balances your hormones to use energy from fat. Inadequate amount of sleep has been linked to weight gain.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try these exercises to put your body in alignment so you can get a little more shut-eye. Restorative exercises like these trigger the parasympathetic nervous system to activate the relaxation response.

Do them before nodding off to bed.

Step 1: Butterfly

Take two large towels and fold them in half, then roll them into a cylinder. Lie on the ground with one towel between your shoulder blades and supporting your heart and the other towel just below your belt line.

Bring the bottom of your feet together with knees to the sides and arms open. Take 10 deep breaths and relax the body.

Andrea Metcalf demonstrates the crossover.
Step 2: Crossover

Start by lying on the floor or a firm surface with your legs extended and arms open to the side. Bring one knee up toward the hips and cross over your body.

Breathe deeply as you extend the leg on an angle. Inhale as you bend the knee back to center and exhale as you straighten it to the floor.

Alternate sides for a series of 10 repetitions.

Andrea Metcalf demonstrates the spine roll.
Step 3: Spine Roll

Start in a seated position with your knees tucked into your chest. Slowly roll back until your shoulder blades touch the ground, then roll back upward.

Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Now, here are five more tips for more productive sleep.

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking
  • Keep your room dark, regulate the temperature and airflow and decrease noise
  • Avoid eating a large meal within two hours of bedtime
  • Keep a journal near your bed to write down all the stressful things that are keeping you awake
  • Quiet your mind with visualization, counting backward (try starting with 300 and count back by threes), or making small circles with the tip of your nose on the ceiling.
Have a good night!

Find your alignment with Andrea's Live-ilates program


Next Story