Why do we stretch when we wake up?

Thursday 16th May 2013
Submitted by Luis Villazon
Solang Uk, Switzerland

When you sleep, your muscles lose tone and fluid tends to pool along your back. Stretching helps to massage fluid gently back into the normal position. Also, your muscles protect themselves from over-extension by inhibiting the nerve impulses as they approach their limit.

Over time, this safety mechanism becomes increasingly restrictive. Stretching briefly takes your muscles outside their normal range. This recalibrates the feedback mechanisms that determine their normal amount of motion.

What's the best way to beat arachnophobia?
previous qanda Article
Why do candles only smoke after they've been extinguished?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

Phlegm is the mucous secretion of the respiratory passages. The cilia cells that line these passages are continually driving the phlegm upward to the throat, where it triggers the swallow reflex...

People in pain typically have lowered eyebrows, raised cheeks, tightened eyelids, an open mouth, and closed eyes. One reason is to escape from the cause of the pain. Tensing up your muscles and...

Astronomer Fred Hoyle was the first to point out that if you could drive a car upwards at 95km/h (60mph), it would only take about an hour to get into space. To get to the Moon would take a little...

There are 7 billion humans and around 200 billion birds in the world. That seems like a lot of two-legged animals, but non-human mammals number around 500 billion and almost all of them are four-...

Parrots are the longest-lived order of birds: cockatoos and Amazonian parrots can reach the age of 75 or older. Even budgerigars live for 15‑25 years, which is an exceptionally long life for such...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here