Why Do We Stretch in the Morning?

Why Do We Stretch in the Morning?


What’s the first thing you do when you wake
up in the morning? Alright, well, maybe the second thing you
do, after you say some nasty stuff to your alarm clock. Have a cup of coffee? Watch the news? Read
twitter in your bed? Or … do you – ah yeah – give it a good stretch?
That’s feels good. You are not the only one. Along with humans,
some animals—like your pet cat or dog—also instinctively stretch after they wake up from
a long sleep. Except what those animals are doing isn’t
called stretching. It’s called pandiculating. Pandiculation is the act of stretching while
yawning. It’s from the Latin word pandere, meaning “to stretch.” You’ve likely seen plenty of cats and dogs
pandiculate before. You’ve seen this move … they arch their
back, drop their belly, and lengthen their legs in a sort of full body yawn. Humans pandiculate too — often first thing
in the morning. This instinctive movement is the one where
you extend your legs, raise your arms, and tilt your head up, and yawn. So why do we pandiculate in the morning? And
why do we stretch in general? Think of it like this: Your alarm clock wakes
you up, but stretching wakes up your sleepy muscles. Plus, it makes you feel good. Stretching is good for your body in all kinds
of ways. Your muscles typically feel stiff and tight
in the morning from lack of movement. That’s because many people lie in the same position
for much of the night. Stretching loosens and realigns your muscles,
letting your brain know, “Hey! It’s time to wake up! Time to get things moving again!” Stretching also gets your blood pumping. While you sleep, your muscles relax and your
blood flow decreases, slowing your heart rate way down. In fact, your heart rate is usually
at its lowest just before you wake up. A big stretch increases your blood flow to
your extremities, improving your circulation. This combination of loose muscles and increased
circulation also helps with flexibility, making the morning a good time for you to get your
yoga on. So the reason you instinctively pandiculate
in the morning is basically to reboot your body. It realigns your muscles, it improves
your circulation, and it makes you more flexible. Stretching has also been shown to relieve
stress and tension, and so has yawning—meaning pandiculation might pack a double whammy. So, what are you waiting for? Make like a
cat and pandiculate. Thank you to our patrons for stretching the
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Comments

  1. ppl in the comments need to come up with more questions. Such as, and this is a question i would have commented anyways, what makes a light turn on when you flip a lightswitch?

  2. From my experience, there is no universal human pandiculation instinct – I rarely feel any urge to stretch in the morning.

  3. I feel like this wasn't actually that informative. Why does it feel so good? Why do my muscles feel stiff an tight from lying in the same position? What does stretching do to help that? Really don't feel that I learned much other than yawning and stretching is called pandiculating.

  4. I just noticed that I don't stretch when I get up anymore… hmm… I wonder if that will make mornings less shitty. LOL!

  5. we stretch because they pinch our nerves and the body needs to strech to move the nerves as they are damage from the pinching they damage us they get swelling.

  6. Stretching also affects your myofascial layer, reducing the 'fuzz' and allowing better movement. Please look into this more. It is a really interesting part of the body!!

  7. I have a question and i hope this is normal, but sometimes when i wake up i stretch so much that i…well i ejaculate in my boxers 😔…is this normal or should i get checked?

  8. "Alright well maybe the second" im thinking about something "saying stuff to alarm" I was thinking of something else…

  9. I rarely if ever stretch in the morning, and I can guarantee i've never pandiculated since I've been forming memories. I honestly thought that was a hollywood invention.

  10. I just realized i dont pandiculate in the morning. I just lay in bed until the very last moment before its too late and so i get up rush to get my clothes on and brush my teeth then i leave the house.

  11. Hey, i really need help right now.
    Before i sleep i fele cold, In middle of my sleep my Legs feels like i've been running for 1 hours straight without streching after that. It interupt my sleep so i can only sleep like 4 hours. My Body is shaking for than usual. Please help.

  12. how about why do we shut our eyes every time we yawn or sneeze??? PS if you're actually the science dude looking at this have a freaking awesome day! and if you're not that science dude still have a good day!

  13. I love a good stretch. But what causes muscles to stiffen in the first place? Is it lack of blood flow? Or what? And why does it get harder to move in the morning as I age?

  14. "Many people lie in the same position for most of the night" WOOP NOT ME!!! wakes up diagonal and upside down

  15. So am I weird since I don't stretch (pandiculate) in the morning? My morning involves peeing, coffee, and then more peeing, followed by a coffee poop. So you could say I'm pandiculating my butthole but that's about it.

  16. @SciShow, if your heart rate is lowest just before waking, why do doctors recommend you take blood pressure medications like Ace Inhibitors before bed instead of in the morning?

  17. Stretching makes our joints more flexible which results in preventing joint aches & backache.👍
    If you forget to stretch first thing when waking up in the morning, do it when watching TV.
    A few stretches a day can really help, you've nothing to lose. 🍎

  18. Ok. But why does it feel like my body is busting a nut when I stretch. Theres gotta be endorphins going on

  19. Obviously!!
    The real question is WHY DO WE NEED TO STRETCH? PHYSIOLOGICALLY, WHAT MAKES OUR MUSCLES TIGHT? IS IT FASCIA?? What is it??

  20. When I wake up, I do stretch. My eye vision get a little black around the edges and I feel light headed sometimes when a I stretch. To avoid this, I make an annoying noise when I stretch. (At home)
    One time my vision got really black and I fell on my door, I hallucinated a huge crash sound when I fell. I forced myself to get up. I wasn’t even out for a minute, I know this because I checked the time.

  21. We mainly stretch to squeeze carbon dioxide out of our bodies which has built up as a result of sleep. The yawn is to another form of stretch for the head.

  22. Hi everyone! I'm a Physiotherapist whose put together an important article on why we should look to replace passive stretch holds with power bands and the PNF stretching model. Hopefully there is something useful here for you! http://yourwellnessnerd.com/power-band-stretching/

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