Why Does Stretching In The Morning Feel Good?

Unless you’re one of those people who wakes up feeling fully refreshed and ready to go, early mornings can pass in a bit of a blur. You vaguely remember turning your alarm off and moving your body, but the details are vague.

Why Does Stretching In The Morning Feel Good?

Whatever your morning routine is, there’s a good chance it involves a bit of yawning and stretching. This movement feels good as it awakens muscles that have spent the night still, releasing stress for a better morning.

Wondering why your early morning movement feels so good? Discover why we stretch first thing with this guide.

Why Do We Stretch And Yawn When We Wake Up?

The first thing you do in the morning probably isn’t scroll through social media or gravitate toward coffee. Instead, you’re likely to stretch your body out and yawn. Then you can move on to the important tasks, like seeing what’s on your news feed while making an espresso.

This stretching and yawning is an instinctual movement. You might notice that your pets do it as well. It’s known as pandiculation, and it’s an involuntary stretch that happens when your body moves between “sleeping” and “waking up”.

Pandiculation is a method your body uses to wake up in the morning. The stretch and yawn combination helps get the muscles moving and the blood flowing faster after your heartbeat slowed down overnight.

Why Stretching In The Morning Feels Fantastic?

When we’re asleep our body and muscles are essentially inert. Our heartbeat naturally slows down with the rhythm of sleep. The whole body enters a resting phase with limited movement.

Pandiculation follows three stages. These are contraction, release, and lengthening. When we do this, the muscles soften and relieve natural tension. By stretching and preparing for movement, we soften the muscles into their resting position.

This release and softening feel really good, as they move our muscles back to their preferred position.

As a physical response, stretching in the morning helps shift your body from sleep mode to preparing for movement. During the night, fluid pools along the back and muscles adjust to minimal movement. When we stretch, we move the muscles beyond their normal range.

This helps the body to recalibrate, so it can prepare for regular activity.

Our morning stretches are also a release of tension and stress. So, you feel both physically and mentally a bit better for stretching! If you tend to rush through your morning routine, a few moments spent stretching could provide a more positive start to the day.

Should You Stretch As Soon As You Wake Up?

Completing a few low-impact movements can warm up the body, improving your circulation and switching on the parasympathetic system. They essentially prepare you for getting out of bed.

Before you begin your stretches, give your joints a quick flex. These stretches are low-impact and your muscles should already be quite warm from a night tucked up in bed, so you don’t need a long warm-up.

With your joints prepared, you can start to stretch. Try to hold each pose for roughly 60 seconds.

Warm Up The Joints

Lie on your back with your knees in the air and your feet on the bed. Lift your feet and raise them gently up and down while rolling your ankles. Try to hold this pose for around 30 to 60 seconds.

With your lower body nicely warmed, you can move to the top half. Sit up in bed and look left and then right, then roll your shoulders. Hold your arms in front of you, flex your wrists, and  then clench and unclench your hands. Lift your hand to your shoulders to wake up the elbows.

These movements should all feel comfortable and easy. As you do them, your body should become more awake.

Full Body Stretch

Lie back down in the bed and extend both your legs in front of you, pointing your toes forward. Place your hands by your sides and then lift them to the ceiling, over your head, and back toward the bed.

If you have a resistance band, hold it in your hands during this movement. If you don’t, you can use a towel (or blanket), or leave the band out.

Knee Pull

Knee Pull

Staying on your back, keep your legs extended with your feet pointing upwards. Bend your right knee and grab the back of the thigh. Pull your knee to your chest before pressing your thigh and calf down to the side, towards the bed.

Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Child’s Pose

Staying in bed, flip over so you’re lying on your front.

Position yourself on all fours. Keep your knees hip-width apart but touch your big toes together. Hold your neck and head in a neutral position. Slowly drop back towards your heels, keeping your hands stretched in front of you. Drop your forehead to the bed.

Cobra Pose

Stay face down on the bed, but extend your legs and point your toes. With your hands underneath your shoulders, press your palms against the bed. Lift your head, shoulders, and chest off the bed, until you’re facing forward.

Having finished these basic stretches, you should feel more ready to start the day.

Should You Stretch As Soon As You Get Out Of Bed?

Stretching in the morning can feel amazing, as your body moves from being asleep to being awake. However, pushing your body too much first thing in the morning can do more harm than good.

Your early morning stretches should be light and comfortable. If you can’t stretch in bed, have a brief walk around before you engage in a proper stretching routine. You want the muscles to wake up properly before they’re pushed.


An early morning stretch, otherwise known as pandiculation, is a method the body uses to switch from sleep mode to being awake. Moving previously inert muscles back to resting position, this motion releases stress and tension for a morning boost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do I Stretch Involuntarily When I Wake Up?

Yawning and stretching your arms over your head when you wake up is an involuntary reaction known as pandiculation. It’s the body’s method of loosening and relaxing the muscles to prepare for movement.

Should I Stretch When I Wake Up?

Some light stretching after waking up can help you warm up the muscles for getting out of bed and starting the day. Make sure to warm up your joints and keep the movements light.

Laura Simmons
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