This is the first of two pieces I’m putting together on sleep, or lack of, and over stimulation that can lead to anxiety and depression.

Insomnia

According to this Guardian article up to 30% of the UK suffer from some form of Insomnia.

Therapies for insomnia vary from prescription drugs to self hypnosis.

One of the simplest therapies that doesn’t involve drugs or expensive equipment is self massage.

Ritual

First though, making a ritual of bedtime is a nice way of calming the mind and preparing yourself for sleep.

Do you lie in bed still looking at your phone before then trying to go to sleep? You’re stimulating your brain in to activity with blue light and information over load.

Instead create an environment that promotes relaxation and sleep.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Take a warm bath. Adding Epsom salts or natural oils with relaxing scents (think Lavender and avoid citrus smells) will help you center and relax.
  • If baths are not are not your thing, a hot shower will do the job, too.
  • As you are preparing for bed listen to relaxing music but keep the volume low.
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable and that you are not too hot or too cold. If you need to, the use of extra pillows, knee separators, leg wedges, and other sleep products that are comfortable can provide the support you need.
  • Drinking an herbal tea, such as chamomile or a cup of warm water with honey, can also help promote sleep
  • Self massage
  • Self massage

The following are techniques for self massage that promote relaxation. I can show you how to self administer these for maximum effect should you wish. To book an appointment call 07980 339 864

The Center of the Sole of the Foot:

This massage can be done while washing your feet.

  1. First, heat your feet including the ankles with hot water.
  2. Once your feet become red and hyperemic with dilated capillaries, use the palmar aspect of both thumbs at the center of the sole of the foot (arch), work in a circular motion approximately ninety times. This can regulate the liver function, strengthen the stomach, help induce sleep and promote health.

The Head

  1. Rub your palms together until they are hot. Then gently rub your face with your palms ten to twenty times.
  2. With the tip of your middle finger, massage between your eyebrows thirty times. Then massage the ridge along your eyebrow for thirty times or until soreness is felt at the massage point.

The Ears

  1. Massage your bilateral auricles (immobile shell that lies close to the side of the head) with your thumb and index finger in a downwards direction twenty times. (Put your thumb on the back of the auricle, and the index finger on the front.)
  2. Then rub your earlobes in the same way for thirty times until your ears feel hot.

The Neck

  • Anterior
  1. Massage the depression next to the mastoid process behind the ear with the palmar aspect of the index finger, rubbing and kneading for fifteen times.
  2. Then massage with four fingers along the outer side of your sternocleidomastoid muscle (the muscle along the side of your neck) from top to bottom twenty times. The massage may be done with strength, but not too fast.
  • Posterior
  1. Firmly squeeze the middle back of your neck with one hand. Hold the pressure for 15 seconds and slowly release.
  2. Repeat at the top and bottom of your neck. Cover the neck area three times and repeat on other side.

The Abdomen

  1. Rub your palms together until they are hot, and massage your abdomen in a clockwise direction with one palm twenty times, then counterclockwise for another twenty times.
  2. Use the left and right palms alternately.

Massage of the abdomen can not only cure insomnia but also strengthen the stomach and promote digestion. Thus, it is particularly helpful for insomnia patients with gastric troubles.

As you lie in bed doing each of these techniques concentrate and keep your mind focused, count the number of massage strokes as you practice and observe yourself taking deep, full breaths.

Practice self massage every day and you will be helping yourself alleviate sleeplessness.

Don’t forget that massage alone is not the complete answer to insomnia. It is just as important to pay attention to your emotional state, diet and daily life avoiding over stressing the emotions and/or over-fatiguing the body.

Deep breathing

Focus on breathing in deeply for 4 to 5 seconds and then breathing out for the same time. Whilst the increase in oxygen can stimulate, when lying down the muscles are flooded with oxygen rich blood helping to flush out carbon dioxide and allowing them to relax. Try to focus your mind just on your breathing.

Meditation and yoga

Some forms of yoga are extremely relaxing and a great way to prepare your body for sleep. Go to a class and learn some basic moves and then practice 20 minutes before bed. There’s a basic you tube video here

Meditation is a fantastic way to fall asleep and there are numerous resources to learn from, just try to avoid using an app just before bed!

For a consultation on issues that may be affecting your sleep and help and advice on relaxation, call me on 07980 339 864