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How to Stretch Psoas While Sleeping

How to Stretch Psoas While Sleeping: fetal position

 

The Psoas major is a deep muscle that connects your lower spine to your thigh bones. As it plays an essential role in hip flexion, the discomfort that emerges can’t be ignored if this muscle is tight. This pain can manifest in other areas such as lower back pain or contribute to postural problems. 

Knowing how to stretch your Psoas while asleep (and awake) can help alleviate some of your flexor pains. Here, we will get into how to stretch Psoas while sleeping, the basics of your Psoas, and some root causes behind the tightness. Now, let’s get into it!


The Best Positions: How to Stretch Psoas While Sleeping

To effectively stretch your Psoas while sleeping involves some creativity. There are a couple of options here but what happens is we’re lengthening and reducing tension in your hip flexors while in bed.

  1. Knee towards your chest: This position applies a gentle stretch as you lie on your back. Have one leg extended straight and the other bent - with your knee towards your chest. You can also try using pillows under your knees for added support. 
  2. Fetal position: Side-lying with your knees drawn into your chest can also be effective in this stretch. Add a pillow between your knees and legs to keep your spine neutral. 

Other considerations:

  • Having a good mattress or adequate firmness that suits your body’s needs can help you get into a better spine-neutral position
  • Pillows also matter - whether under your head/neck or knees! 
  • Whether or not you stretch in bed/while sleeping… doing a good Psoas stretch while awake can make an impact too! There are a lot of free sources online that can help you change up your stretching routine. 

How to Stretch Psoas While Sleeping: Anatomy of Your Psoas

The Psoas is a long muscle on both sides of the lumbar part of your spine. It’s one of the primary muscles involved in hip flexion and plays a part in posture, stability, and movement. 

As it connects the lumbar vertebrae to the femur - tightness here will be hard to ignore since your mobility will likely be limited. Proper self-care for your Psoas involves avoiding any prolonged sitting and inactivity - remember to take frequent breaks from your chair! 

A study published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association states, “The psoas major muscle is intimately linked with the iliacus, psoas minor (if present), adductor group, and quadriceps muscles…” [1]


Know Psoas anatomy for how to stretch Psoas while sleeping

They go on further to explain that although the Psoas Major works as a hip stabilizer, it’s more important role is that of stabilizing/erecting the lumbar vertebral column. 


How to Stretch Psoas While Sleeping: Is YOUR Psoas Tight?

The study from the previous section noted that there are several factors you’ll notice in a physical examination. Some of these traits may be:

  • Shortened stride on the affected side
  • Pain when doing squats (indicating hip flexor weakness) 
  • Tightness or tenderness when the Psoas Major muscle is palpated. [1] 

Psoas major pain will feel like front hip and/or lower back pain and sometimes even in the front part of your thigh. 


Common Reasons Behind Having Tight Psoas or Hip Flexors

You may have fallen victim to Psoas Major myofascial pain if you spend many hours sitting leaving your muscles to remain in a shortened position.

Some other reasons behind this tightness include:

  • Lack of stretching
  • Weak glutes and core muscles (leading to other muscle groups having to compensate)
  • Repetitive movements/overuse
  • Injury, strain, or trauma
  • Bad posture

Other causes for Psoas pain also include playing sports, especially soccer, dance, and hockey. [1] 

Aside from knowing how to stretch Psoas while sleeping, it may be wise to include a period of rest if you have strained it. If you have visible bruising or swelling, you may want to see your healthcare provider for a differential diagnosis!

Other interventions you can consider include massage and resistance training to strengthen your flexors. 


How to Stretch Psoas While Sleeping FAQ

How do you release the Psoas muscle while sleeping?
Try out the positions listed in the first section. If you can tolerate sleeping in these positions, they aim to help release tension in your Psoas muscle. Others may advise that consistently incorporating Psoas stretches into your routine will help - even if it’s during the day. If you are used to sleeping in other positions, a good, quality night’s sleep is still considered a win.


What position relaxes the Psoas?

A really easy position to ease tension in your Psoas muscle is lying flat on your back with a pillow under your knees. This gentle stretch will help neutralize your spine and help relax the Psoas. Another variation of this is to lie flat on your back, raise your legs, and place your calves on a chair - which is also deeply relaxing! 


Check out this video on how to stretch the Psoas!   


How should I sleep to loosen my hip flexors?

The answer to this question is the same as the first - and you’ll find other variations of this on other internet sources as well.


Where do you press for Psoas release?

Granted that you’re confident your condition isn’t due to other issues (hip joint or spinal problems) you can surely release your Psoas via massage techniques. 

You are in luck that the QL Claw can release your Psoas and help you find your way to pain relief. Even if the Psoas is one of five hip flexor muscles, the fact that it’s the only connecting directly to your spine means you won’t want to ignore this technique. Check out this video on how to use the QL Claw to do this. 


Don’t have a QL Claw? Click here!

Read more on Psoas trigger points to get more information on the anatomy, pain pattern, and finding relief! 


How to Stretch Psoas While Sleeping: Conclusion

As we’ve learned on this page, the Psoas muscle plays a huge role in hip flexion and also contributes to posture, stability, and movement. Continue building your self-care routine for your Psoas by taking breaks from long periods of sitting and stretching this area when you can.

I hope the information here has provided some insight into the importance of stretching and strengthening your flexors and other related muscles. So whether you’re doing your stretches awake or while asleep, or if you’re taking stretching breaks from your office workday, don’t forget about your Psoas! 



Now that you've read about how to stretch Psoas while sleeping, check out our page on adductor stretches!

 

Sources:

[1] Sajiko, S., Stuber, K. Psoas major: a case report and review of its anatomy, biomechanics, and clinical implications. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 2009. 

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