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...

Not for long. The gruesome idea of nails and hair continuing to grow on a rotting corpse is fascinating. But it’s a myth – at least if you’re thinking of luscious locks and long...

Mammals remove excess nitrogen from their bodies by converting it to a dilute solution of urea, stored in the bladder. Birds convert nitrogen to uric acid instead: this is metabolically more...

Head hair doesn’t change colour all at once, but many men have grey hair when their eyebrows are still dark. All kinds of body hairs change colour when ageing hair follicles stop producing...

Ordinary glass absorbs 97 per cent of the UVB rays that cause sunburn and some skin cancers, and 37 per cent of the less harmful UVA radiation. This translates to a protection of about SPF30, so...

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