Sweet Dreams are Made of This... October 17 2013

"A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow" ~ Charlotte Bronte

If you've suffered from insomnia, you're not alone.  More than 1 in 3 people struggle with insomnia in their lifetime and over one half of all Americans lose sleep due to stress or anxiety.  Millions rely on alcohol, prescription sleep aids or synthetic melatonin to fall asleep at night...

The effects of disturbed or limited sleep are powerful:

1/ Lowered immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and flus

2/ Irregular digestion and metabolism:  the mind can confuse the feeling of fatigue with hunger, and instead of taking a nap or going to bed early you'll reach for a late night snack or caffeine boost

3/ Inability to think clearly and remain emotionally balanced: people who are sleep deprived have shorter fuses, are more impatient, and tend to have a yo-yo temperament with high highs and low lows

4/ Excess or fluctuating weight:  insomniacs will often reach for coffee, nicotine and sugar-laden foods (desserts, sodas, etc.) to counteract the physical and mental fatigue they're experiencing, often leading to weight gain

5/ Volatile or unstable mood: fatigue causes crankiness, negativity and sudden/severe mood swings

Do you dream of hitting the pillow at night and sleeping peacefully for 7-8 hours? 

1/ Exercise daily - even a 20-minute brisk walk will help you relax and unwind.

2/ Limit caffeine - especially coffee - intake to prior to 9am only.  If you're desperate for a midday pick-me-up, try green tea.

3/ Eat a balanced diet that is low in sugar and contains adequate lean protein.

4/ Make sure your body is getting enough magnesium; a calcium-magnesium supplement at the end of the day may promote calm and restfulness.

5/ Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea a couple of hours before bedtime.  Skip the nightly beer, cocktail or glass of wine - even one alcoholic drink can disturb sleep.

6/ Take a warm bath or shower an hour before bedtime... it's a great way to rinse the energy of the day away and prepare the body for the many cleansing processes that occur during your sleep cycle.  Try to hit the pillow at nearly the same time every night.

7/ Avoid over-stimulating books, films and television shows right before bedtime.

8/ Diffuse soothing essential oils that promote relaxation, such as pure lavender.

How can Massage Therapy help?

Regular massages are one of the best natural combats against stress and anxiety.  Massage eases the mind, calms the muscles and nervous system and makes you feel comforted and cared for...   Combined with a healthy diet, strategic supplementation and regular exercise, constant and contented sleep is possible for everyone.  Therapeutic practices such as massage therapy, yoga and acupuncture will put you in better touch with your body and spirit.  Disordered sleep and insomnia is very often linked to anxiety and depression, and the more you get in touch with yourself it is more likely you can overcome the root cause of whatever is troubling your sleep.  Full and restful sleep is a powerful force - if you wake up fully refreshed and rested you will make better choices throughout the day, whether it's choosing a smoothie over a soda, driving to work with more patience or communicating with compassion & kindness. 

If you're currently suffering from insomnia, give the above tips a try and commit to receiving bodywork and massage therapy once a week for 6-8 weeks.  The better you feel inside, the more the world will reflect that on the outside... like attracts like!